The journey of the freelance: Where to start?

Just before I started Pixel and Ink, I was freelancing. Then I moved to a mixture of freelance and client base work. The Journey has been one of the best experiences of my life, but also quite like a rollercoaster. Sometimes I had too much work others too little. But seems that over the years the rails flatten a bit.

Here are some tips on how to become a successful freelance:

Money: your rates and how much to work

It’s important to know how much you need to charge the hour to be sustainable. By sustainable I mean covering all costs (computer, commuting and anything to do with your business), getting paid a salary and save 20% for investment or unforeseen costs.

Then you need to know how many days you need to work each month. And make sure to book them in.

Be strict with your habits

Working in pyjamas sounds like paradise for some people. In my experience having a shower and get dressed helps you to make the switch between home time and work time. Even if you work from the kitchen table.

I recommend to set yourself a timetable, when you should be logged in and what time you finish. It’s easy to fall in the trap of: “Oh, I’ll wash the dishes now”. Or some other thing that has nothing to do with work.

Sole trader or Limited company

Both of these options are as good. In a nutshell, Soletrader’s accounts are easier, but some companies won’t contact you. Also you are liable for anything that happens. A limited company has a more complicated account but you have less liability. Check with HMRC for more information.


Make sure you have clients and savings
Having some savings is a good idea, it takes the pressure of not having enough work in the first few months. Also is a good practice to start lining up some clients and network a lot!

Having insurance is a good idea as the first few years are, and you don’t want to get caught with a silly claim.

Hope these are useful! Note that I haven’t written get an office, I think the first year is essential to settle and not spend more than what you need. In the future when things get more stable, I do recommend to get out of the house. A coworking is a great way to have your office.

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