Liz’s Top Tips for Freelancers

I’ve been working for myself since 2010 so when I started DigiEnable in 2012, I had a good working knowledge of how to get the most out of being freelancer, or working for your own business. Not everyone is a “freelancer” as if you notice number 5, it’s all about knowing your legal situation. I still like the word “freelancer” as a concept and a hashtag though, so when I refer to it, it could also mean you own a partnership, Limited Company, CIC etc. but I’m under the understanding that you basically run and own “the shop”. So here are my personal top tips to being a freelancer.

1. Invest time in you!

Have some time off work to work on you – e.g. family time, health and spiritual time, time doing hobbies you love. Have some time off work, to work on your business – CPD (Continued Professional Development), learn the business skills you need to be a good business, and new skills you want to learn to improve what you do. Plan for your future – make sure you are paying into a pension, savings and your tax fund.

2. Be productive, Schedule Everything!

Schedule absolutely everything that is important, work or life. Share it with those you need to and use invites if online. Schedule everything in number 1 in, and plot dates in based on work, meetings, and finances.

3. Network, not just for work

Networking is a great way to meet new friends, other freelancers and mentors, gain more exposure, build a brighter community, join a union, and share and learn new things. Do you regularly work from home? Get out and join a co-working space like a Jelly, or just get a change of view somewhere different.

4. Plan and document your processes

Processes are great and can really help you keen on track. Plan your process of gaining work, agreeing and booking work, once work is complete, payment tracker, payment schedules and more, and document these or use your schedule!

5. Know the Legals

Do you have terms and conditions, contracts, do you know where you stand? Do you know about substitution rules for freelancers? What paperwork should you be filling in and keeping? If you don’t know the answers, you need to do some research or enlist a professional to help. After two years of trading we paid solicitors to draw up Terms and Conditions and a Sub-Contractor agreement, so we knew we were working with good quality legal frameworks for when it mattered.

6. Geeky Apps and Lifehacking

I did so desperately want to do 5 points, but as a geek, I just had to have this one in here, and it really does intertwine through all the above points anyway. Spend some quality time researching what apps and life hacks could benefit you most, save you time every day or help you schedule everything in your life (as point 2). I have a good solid list of apps I use on my smartphone daily, but that’s another blog post in itself. I hope this top tips list has been a good starting block to leading you onto thinking more about how you work, and to work cleverer, not harder.