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Handing in my notice in 3 weeks, any experiences/tips on going freelance to share?

Discussion in 'Web Design Forum' started by Emmy, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. Emmy

    Emmy New Member

    So the time has come when I've joined the online groups, bought a new mac, 3 weeks until I launch my online portfolio and get my business cards and hand in my notice at my full time job.

    I've read the tips section on here but they are relatively self explanitory and obvious, are there any people here who have pearls of wisdom to share about the initial leap?

    I have 3 jobs lined up and am planning a local visit to small businesses and pubs/independant retailers to start with.

    Anything else I have not thought about.

    Ps I'm a graduate, a newb, a girl and I dont do 3 letter acronyms :) please be kind.
  2. MickeyFinn

    MickeyFinn Administrator

    Hey Emmy,

    Well done on taking the plunge! It is well worth it and if you have three clients lined up already then you should be on to a winner.

    The tips may seem self explanatory to you but really marketing yourself and winning clients is common sense and it sounds like you probably have some of that :)

    Never be shy to hand out those business cards. Talk to people about what you do, tell friends and relatives to refer work to you. It really is that simple.

    Avoid press ads, the yellow pages and all that bogus stuff in my opinion. Your personality and portfolio will win more business than any ads!

    My only other tip is not to work too hard :)

    Good luck and let us know how you get on!
  3. Emmy

    Emmy New Member

    Thanks :)

    Thanks Mickey,

    Didn't mean any offense by the info on here, it is very good but noting I haven't read before, was kind of looking for personal experiences and supprt if ya get me.. other people's stories of how they did it and plans that worked for them.

    thanks for your advice too mickey, I'm feeling confident but very scared at the same time... is that possible *:confused: *

    Em x
  4. tyler

    tyler New Member

    I'm still in uni but do have recently quit my job and working freelance, one really good tip is to keep control of your finances.
    I'm really lucky in that my best mate is an accoutant so I have him on tap for finance advice.

    no matter how busy you are make sure you put enough time in a week to keep track of your of them. If you keep on top of them it makes it easier in the long run

    oh I also find writing a to-do list for the day a best way to manage my time, that way I know if im behind on anything
  5. aswebdesign

    aswebdesign New Member


    Good luck with your new venture! I've recently started freelancing myself.

    I stumbled across some great tips last week for starting up business in an old blog on Sitepoint.com: Selling Web Design Services. Lots to read, but I found its full of great tips!
  6. tubbyman20

    tubbyman20 New Member

    Yeah, good luck.
    I try to manage my time with diaries and the like, and i'm always on the lookout for new clients. My main tip would be to manage your time, prioritise, and learn to say no to a client. If they are trying to get the best deal off you, simply say no, they will be desperate for a solution either way.
  7. elastic

    elastic New Member

    some tips

    1. Never work for someone who has to get paid in order to pay you.
    2. The promise of work does not pay your mortgage.
    3. File everything. Everything.
    4. Bill everything. 10p? bill it.
    5. Don’t do anything for free (or without some kind of gain).
  8. johnnyrules

    johnnyrules New Member

    Keep control of finances. Forget this excel malarky, use a good old a4 book!

    Try and get involved in some sort of networking. Join a club as a web designer. try BNI or BoB Clubs (bobclubs.com - business networking clubs)
    It is a little expensive but what you get out of it is second-to-none.
    I've generated enough business in my first 6 weeks to pay for the annual subscription.
    Im not a networking enthusiast, i dont even like wearing a suit (not that i do anyway) so it's not as intimidating as you might think.
    The best thing i get from it is my confidence. It can do a hell of alot for your self-esteem and i've found alot of experience business folks are more then happy to help and give advice.

    If there is one thing i would have done when i started that i didn't do, that would be selling myself. Tell people you're out there. Try and be totally confident about what you do, or just seem to be confident. I find if you just let people know you're out there, whether thats with a nice mailer or a letter with a business card then you can follow it up with a nice phonecall.

    Value yourself and your service. This is a must. as you start up you're always going to be reluctant to say no, but don't be afraid. WHen i started i would say yes to everything, thats just experience (i think). If you think you're to good for certain things, then don't do it. Value yourself!

    I work around a certain figure whenever i do things. Thats £12 per hour. If i am freelancing i send a PDF document which is the agreement (they will pay £12 per hour) that we both sign, atleast you have it out the way and they know what you're charging. If im not freelancing onsite and im working through my business, i still work around that figure, although when you're working from home its much easier to be flexible.

    But i have a secret, i wouldn't know what i'de do without these 2 (1 of them i can get by without). The one is my client management system Project collaboration, management, and task software: Basecamp - i really do recommend this to anyone who has a few clients. It has saved me ALOT of time.

    My main weapon is something called Backpack. Its a product by the guys who created Basecamp (37 signals). Get organized and stay organized: Backpack
    This is where i store my idea's for everything. Anything i need to do from creating a new project to going the dentist is all in there. You can email updates to it for convenience. Its particularly good when your out freelancing. You have some amazing idea's so all you have to do is login and post it up, come back to it later...

    I think thats all the advise i have ?

    Good luck with it all.

    If anyone needs any more advice more then happy to be PM'd

  9. jerryh

    jerryh New Member

    go through the yellow pages and catch as many ads with companies without websites,
    then phone them up! Works better than you'd imagine.
  10. adamdab

    adamdab New Member

    Steady Freelancing


    We are looking for a programmer (mainly PHP and MySQL - but whatever you are comfortable with) to take on all of our programming work.

    We are split between London and DUblin (programmer must be London based) and ate hoping to make contact before Tuesday with a view to meet people and set up a formal relationship Tuesday/Wednesday.

    We are offering package to suit - monthly retainer regardless of workflow and full payment on completion of projects etc.

    We have been playing the freelancing game for a long time and understand that everyone needs that bit of security rather than guess month to month. I suppose our proposal is the difference between working for the man and going it alone.

    If you are interested at all, mail me at 'adam@designandbrand.com'

    We have 4 projects good to go (I do all the deisgn work - full sliced PNG, full specification and all the works). It's all ready to be programmed. This is how we work.

    Thanks in advance.

    Adam Clarke
  11. markthedoc

    markthedoc New Member

    Some really useful tips there.
    I'm also about to go down the freelance route really soon and reading this thread has given me a lot of ideas.
    Initially when I start out I'm going to leaflet shops and small businesses as well as direct mail outs followed up with a phone call to local businesses and start ups that haven't got a website.
    Have many of you lot on here tried that route and if so found it successful?

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