Rosa describes her experience of entering the freelance world.
I was a full-time designer at an ad agency about 10 months ago and the thought of quitting my job and leaving behind the safety of a regular salary made me (and especially my mom) pretty scared. But the dream of working for myself and having a more varied lifestyle was so strong that I knew I was going to make the jump sooner or later. Every time I met a freelance designer I would ask them a million questions “Should I go freelance? Is it the best decision you ever made? How much do you earn? How do you get work? Is it difficult?” and all of them would say the same thing: “Yes, it is the best decision I ever made and no, it’s really not that difficult.”
There were a few things I prepared before I handed in my notice. First of all, I made sure my portfolio was up-to-date. Secondly, I got in touch with a recruiting agency. Make sure its one that specializes in your field as there are many out there, but not all will be right for you. And finally, I got an accountant. The easiest way to do this is to use a company like Crunch or JSA. They helped me set up my own limited company and they explained me all about HMRC. It might be a bit daunting at first, but you will feel great once you have it all sorted.
So when I handed in my notice, it went very quick. On a Friday I had my last day at my full-time job, the next Monday I started as a freelance designer for a big high-end department store in central London earning twice my old salary per month. Since then I have worked at quite a few different places, but mostly advertising agencies. Sometimes a contract is on rolling for a few weeks or even months, other times it’s only for a few days. But the great thing is to meet and work with some amazing people. Of course not all places are a joy to work, sometimes you will be the freelancer in the corner to fix a job or you get called in to help out on a pitch till 3 in the morning to find out you don’t get paid overtime. But when a place gets too much, you can always leave within a day, but this rarely happens. I have been fortunate enough to work at some great places that make you feel part of the team. I even made a few good friends along the way.
Although there is no security for work when a contract ends and I don’t get paid when I take time off, I hardly ever run out of money. With a bit of budgeting in the last ten months I managed to take time off to travel to New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, Serbia, Morocco, Greece and I even spend a month working in India! This was an amazing experience and I might even go back before the end of the year. The best thing is that I made all these trips without having to ask anyone permission but myself.
So yes.. I did give up the safety of a salary and certainty of work, but I got freedom and independency in return. And in my books, that is worth a million.
- Looking for work