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Freelance UK blog

Discussion in 'General Forum' started by sarahsrays, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. sarahsrays

    sarahsrays New Member


    I have just started a blog on Freelance UK about the ups and downs of freelancing. You can read the first post by following the link from the home page.

    I and Freelance UK both hope that the blog posts will be good openers for discussions on the freelance issues that affect us all. Please do have a read and get involved in the discussion. The articles don’t have a comments function so we are going to use the forums as the place for discussion and comment.

    I hope you enjoy the blog and that we all get something useful from it – I am hoping to learn a lot from other freelancers as well.


    Thanks Sarah - direct links to your blog articles: Blog of a first time freelancer.
    Quoting quandaries.
    Freelance New Year's resolutions.
    Are you a freelance workaholic?
    Finding freelance work.
    Overcoming self-doubt as a freelancer.
    Networking for beginners.
    Coping with a freelancing dry spell.
    When to save and when to splurge.
    What do you miss about office life?
    Becoming business-minded.
    Beat the blank page: Conquering 'creative block'.
    Tweet tweet! Getting to know Twitter.
    Do you follow home working ‘rules’?
    Computer says no.

    Freelance UK
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2009
  2. Melinda.Jones

    Melinda.Jones New Member

    URL isn't working at the moment.
  3. sarahsrays

    sarahsrays New Member

    Thanks for highlighting that Melinda. Good start eh?!

    I am looking into fixing the link to the article directly but you can access it from the home page too.

  4. kati31

    kati31 New Member

    Hi Sarah,

    I must say that it is great to read a story such as yours. I have been thinking for a while of doing a course in photography and then become freelance and everyone but my husband to be seem to think that I am completely mad!!!My Dad and Sister especially seem to think the investment is far too big and that it will take me for ever to make any return on it!
    But the way i see it is that i have a little 2 year old girl to care for.My future hubby is in catering so it is making it very difficult for me to find a job in what i was doing before (hotels) because of the unsociable hours and no family around to help with childcare.
    So as i believe that as i have always had some interest in photography, and that i can study for a recognised qualification from home and also do a lot of the work from here, it would be ideal for me.I am quite realistic and realise that it might take me a while to get any clients but i can't help thinking that if some people manage it, why not me? As i am very hard working and dedicated.
    So I just wanted to say that your article makes me have a bit more faith in my project ( getting married next sunday so want to get that out of the way before getting started on buying equipment, enrolling on course and setting up portfolio and website!),
    So thank you very much

    Kind regards

    Katia :)
  5. sarahsrays

    sarahsrays New Member

    Hi Katia

    I am glad it gave you some hope and I hope you do get your photography venture off the ground.

    If you check back each week some of the issues I'll be discussing on the blog might be of help to you as well.

    Congratulations on the wedding too!

  6. perkywriter

    perkywriter New Member

    Thanks for an inspirational blog

    Hi Sarah,
    Like the previous thread I just wanted to thank you for such an inspirational blog.
    For some time I have been attempting to muster up the courage to dip my toe into the freelance water and like you, have found that over researching it makes for depressing reading.
    I too believe that there is never a 'perfect' time to take the plunge, and reading your blog has made me even more determined to take that deep breath and just dive in.
    While I won't be giving up my day job for a while yet I'm now firmly focused on spending much of my spare time building up my contacts and writing my heart out to get publushed wherever possible.
    And I'll be checking back to this site regularly for more advice from the experts!
    Many thanks once again.

  7. Helenj

    Helenj New Member

    Thanks for the post

    Thanks for the post Sarah, it was quite reassuring.

    I've just started out freelancing this month but with almost the opposite problem - I've paid five months rent so I'm not going to be made homeless when I'm starting up but I have but one commission so far. The financial aspect is quite a worry but I guess all I can do is pitch as often as possible until I secure some more work.

    I've always been in favour of just going for things rather than potentially missing out, and your post made me think I've done the right thing by 'freelancing by the seat of my pants'!

  8. GTFC

    GTFC New Member

    Hi Sarah,

    Love the article, I just saw it on the Newsletter! Everything you've said there is spot on. I've been a freelancer for six years now, first in marketing and then specialising in copywriting over the last couple of years. I'd agree with all of your comments, especially about author's amends.

    The problem with writing is that, in most cases, the work is 'subjective' so if a client argues he doesn't like something you've written, it's very hard to charge for changing it. And even more annoying is when you know that you're right and they are wrong anyway! Happily this has only happened to me on the odd occasion, and most of these are when I've been freelancing for other writing agencies, something I've stopped doing now as I found it too contentious . . .

    Anyway, I ramble on. Great article and will definitely look out for the next :)


  9. foxie1978

    foxie1978 New Member

    I'm not alone!

    Thank goodness I'm not alone - and Sarah it's so lovely to hear things are working out for you and you're just a year ahead of me. Good for you, girl!

    I've done it too. All I've ever to be was freelance - after spending eight years in TV, I took the leap (via 6 months in Sydney to check it was what I really wanted to do and I didn't miss TV - it took me about the duration of the flight but hey I needed some time to dream too!) Came home, took a whirlwind journo course and have spent a year 'cutting my teeth' for an agency - and I've been told working for a news agency is one of the hardest times I'll ever go through. Fingers crossed. It WAS tough but I gained so much so quickly.

    And I made it out the other side unscathed - I think. I may be a little mentally disturbed but I haven't noticed yet.

    Anyway, that's my background but the main reason I was inclined to reply is that I think I'm in a spot of bother. I was 30 last week and (obviously I don't expect anyone to get the violins out) my oh-so-generous boyfriend has booked me a three week holiday in February. Now, this I need after a year of working with very little holiday and sitting outside people's houses until midnight but the timing is hideous.

    It gives me four weeks to try and get commissions and do some real-life stories and then I have to abandon ship for three weeks.

    Has anyone else got any advice for how I handle this. Should I ring up Office Angels and start my freelance dream in March or will this be manageable?
  10. sarahsrays

    sarahsrays New Member

    Hi Foxie. That is a bit tricky but what a great present! I would be inclined to maybe wait until you get back if that is at all financially viable. I know that's easier said than done.

    There are a few reasons I say that. Once you start you will really want to keep up the momentum. If you get a new client, and then there is the opportunity for repeat or ongoing work I don't think you would want to turn that down so early in the working relationship. Another reason is that you might be constantly worrying about work while you are away if you are just one month into running your own business. Also, I think it might be better mentally to start after the break with a clear run ahead of you.

    However, if you do pick up some freelance work or have some pitches accepted before you go, it definitely wouldn't be the end of the world!

    If I were you I think I would spend between now and your holiday really preparing by researching potential clients, making some plans etc etc., then I would really enjoy my holiday and go for it 100% on return.

    I don't know if that helps. I bet you are eager to get started! I hope it all goes well anyway and that you have a great holiday.

  11. brighteyedgazelle

    brighteyedgazelle New Member


    I am not alone; you give me hope! Thanks for such a positive article, like you say sometimes you have just got to take a chance in life! I am currently at breaking point with the 9 to 5 and daydreaming about a nice little office and it is painful. I wonder if I can ask, were you employed in a writing capacity before going freelance? My problem is that I am trying to build my portfolio in my spare time and despite doing some writing within the 9 to 5 I could not really present any of it as entirely my own work. In short, my portfolio is skinny but I do have one Pr agency who are happy to send me work from time to time so that is encouraging. I am guessing you had a large portfolio and website before jumping ship? Further, have you felt the impact of the recession and marketing budgets being cut?

    Well, the plan for now is save some money, beef up the portfolio and get a website sorted. Wherever I am up to by May I think I am going to get a job in Starbucks part time and go for it! Follow your heart! :banana

    Thanks again

  12. Jfreelance

    Jfreelance New Member

    hey Sarah - agree ! freelancing - we have to be disciplined!

    Hey Sarah - loved your article. It is sooo true - us freelancers have to be disciplined. I'm a bit of a freelance-aholic too.
    The very first day I went freelance - way back in the year 2000! ... I got up and checked my emails ... and started replying and started working.
    And then! suddenly ! at 11am ... I realised I still didn't have any knickers on!
    From that day on ... I don't go near the computer until I've put on my make-up and my knickers!
    Every day - the first thing I do - is put on my make up.
    My husband asks me when I'm about to walk the dog ... "why do you need to wear 'make up' to walk the dog?"
    Routine. Freelance discipline.
    Happy freelancing Sarah!
  13. sarahsrays

    sarahsrays New Member

    Hi Tabitha

    To answer your questions, I was working as a writer when I was employed before becoming freelance. However, before that I had made a sideways step into writing from editing/admin work. I didn't have much writing experience and I blagged my way in a bit really! I know nobody wants to work for free and it isn't ideal but if you are willing to do a bit, there are lots of opportunities to build a portfolio these days and once you have that I think you are halfway there. It sounds like you are on the right track with your PR work and even better if you're getting paid!

    I didn't have a website before I jumped ship and that is still something I need to work on. At the moment I use a wordpress website which is free and I have my portfolio and CV on there. I know some people think that isn't very professional but I have gained good work by sending the link out as an application in the past. It might be worth doing something like that for now so you don't have to spend loads of money?

    As for the (whisper it!) recession, I haven't felt the effects yet but I do have the fear about it! I am very worried about it but we can only do our best and see what happens I suppose!

    Best of luck with the writing!
  14. sarahsrays

    sarahsrays New Member

    Hi JFreelance

    Your comment about putting your knickers on has amused me and I will remember that!

    I am one for launching myself straight out of bed and onto the computer as well. I think getting ready before I start tapping away needs to be a priority for me too.

    I like the lack of routine that comes with freelancing to some extent, but yes, we must remember not to let ourselves go!

  15. foxie1978

    foxie1978 New Member

    Oh - the knickers thing made me laugh!

    Well I've completed a week of my freelance career and although not many pennies in the bank as yet, I loved it! Lots of positive responses and so fingers crossed.

    The freedom it gave me actually meant I worked a lot harder - and without a grudge towards anyone!

    But, yes, my appearance has taken a nosedive and so this week's focus is to have more of a routine - which includes washing my hair everyday like I used to and putting some make-up on.

    Glad to know you're all out there too. x
  16. sarahsrays

    sarahsrays New Member

    Hi Foxie

    Good to hear that you've had such a positive start with the freelancing!

  17. Sarah Wood

    Sarah Wood New Member


    Hi Sarah,

    Loved today's blog as always. I went to my first event just yesterday! It wasn't a speed one though and was a very relaxed and friendly affair. I just saw it as an excuse to get together with other like-minded people, so it didn't really occur to me to be nervous. It was very useful though - even if it is just to get you away from the computer for a few hours!

  18. sarahsrays

    sarahsrays New Member

    Hi Sarah

    Your approach sounds much healthier! That is the approach I should try to take now that I have the first one out of the way. I am not much of a public speaker but I would like to give another event a go.

    Did you have to stand up and explain your business etc or was it more of an informal chatting thing?

  19. Sarah Wood

    Sarah Wood New Member

    No I didn't have to stand up and talk to an 'audience' - might have felt differently if I had!

    Also I know exactly what you mean about dry spells. Setting targets is really good though. I also aim for at least 5 approaches a day, even when I'm already busy. And of course record each one as I'm going along so I can chase them up - or just be confident that I am putting the effort in!

  20. GTFC

    GTFC New Member

    How's it going Foxie?

    Know the feeling about routine and letting yourself go. I often end up in my dressing gown, hair standing on end, until halfway through the day - and on a bad day, 'til tea-time! I had to do a call with a client in the US on Skype for the first time the other day. We were just dialling in when I suddenly had a panic that she might want to use the webcam as well . . . but happily she didn't! Phew . . .

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