freelancing tips

What you need to know (the good and bad) before you go freelance

Freelance News Freelance Tips

When Jennifer McShane decided to take a year out to freelance, she quickly realised her perceptions of what she was about to undertake were a little skewed… The first thing I decided to do when I went freelance was to buy very fancy stationary. I would need it, I reassured myself, for all the crossing of lists, for all the note-taking and all the post-its that I’d never seen a real use for before, which would definitely be essential now. I must have spent almost €40 on all that. And I’d hardly emailed one editor asking them to please like – and pay me for – my ideas and subsequent writing. I didn’t keep the receipt, but every time I think back I feel my cheeks burn. And, several months after I took the jump, I realise the fancy stationary delusion was a byproduct of the Instagram-embroiled culture I’ve grown up in. Lie-ins, no commuting, elegantly sipping flat-whites and working in hip cafes while the ideas flow freely (only this time around, literally, unless they are commissioned) – that was my perception of the life of a freelancer. It was a naive one. Related: Trying to kickstart a ‘side hustle’? Top tips on how to be a successful freelancer Time spent having a lie-in is outweighed by the guilt you feel not being more productive, the coffee often goes cold before I have a chance to sip it and my laptop broke (thank you, universe) so I’ve never written a word in a hip cafe – I work from our den where my computer is too big to take on the go. Before I go on, don’t get me wrong: I’m proud I did – and am currently still doing – it. There are quite a few upsides to deciding to go your own way and the main one is that you have done it. For a few months, or a year or more you have left the security of a steady income, paid holidays and office banter and forged your own path. It’s a huge achievement and it gives you a confidence boost like nothing else. The hustle itself? I’m categorically bad at it. But it’s made my imposter syndrome take a backseat. Because I’m trying, learning and I haven’t been late on a bill since I started. Freelance, for all its challenges, teaches you that you can survive, you can do it and the no, if you get one, will hurt less and less the more you do. But there are a few more things I wish had really been pressed upon me before I made the leap and others are the reason I’m glad I did: It is HARD work Really hard. You spend all of your time thinking (or, in my case, panicking about) your ideas before finally getting the nerve to send them before an anxious wait for a reply begins. I’m constantly reading, thinking, wondering how I might write more stories that are […]

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