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Jumping into the world of freelance


#1

Hi all,

I am web designer currently working at a successful digital marketing agency in the UK. I have reached a stage in my career where I feel I want to push myself further and the freelancing is certainly an attractive option.

After reading all of the blog posts here on Webflow (which are brilliant by the way), I feel sure that I can make a success of it but there are a few things that I am unsure about. Mainly the finance side of it!

I would like to know if anyone else has made the jump from being in a comfortable and secure job to freelancing.

How did you find the transition?
In regards to getting enough money to pay rent etc, was this hard?
Did you get a start up loan or grant?
Or did you have savings or a money buffer just in case things didn't work out?

If you could share your stories/advise on here, I'd very much appreciate it! I also think that perhaps having a checklist of kit/software you needed before you started maybe helpful.

Many thanks
Matt


#2

Hi Matt,

The biggest thing is for people to know that you are out there. I get most of my work from mouth to mouth advertisement of other people talking about my work. I pay the bills and then some.

There are places like upwork where you can start bidding against other people for gigs.

Let me know if you have more questions.


#3

Hi @Aimanisms,

Was it hard at the start to pay your bills etc? Was there a lot expense to set up?


#4

Nope, not really cause the jobs were just coming in. My expenses were mostly my webflow plan. But I already covered that in my first gig.

So again, if you are good at getting your name out there, then you should be set up.

So maybe try to get some freelance jobs while you are still at the agency, so it will just keep rolling from then on, if you are afraid of the beginning void of it.


#5

Good idea, I will have to be careful as I have things in my contact etc though. Did you move from an agency to freelance?

Thanks for your help


#6

I didn't have "office rent".

I started from my house. Literally on my dining room table.

Whenever I met with clients... and it was rare - I would meet at their location.

Almost every contact I've had was initially on the telephone.

As the relationship with the client grow... conversation generally moves to email, text message, or chat
- whichever is easier for the client.

As for your address... my business cards had a rented mail box. Even today I use a rented mail box.

The registered business address was a "rented address".

Around a year ago... I "graduated" into a small rented office.

It's just a 2 offices inside an "office in a box" location.

But you can use their conference room - get free coffee etc... and they have a receptionist who answers the telephone in your company name... then forwards you the call.

That costs me $800 a month. And it's business expense so you can list it on your taxes.

The most important thing... is "just starting". Get the ball moving.

If it means you use your dining table... just do it.


#7

Well said!
I work from a cooperative workspace for meetings as well and work from home when I am not meeting clients.
Started from home. 1st client was in LA and I am located in Minnesota...
I did all of the work design/development/SEO/communication/sales myself for the 6 months and ended up hiring an assistant to manage project communication/proposal and all of the emails/texts coming in.
Now we have created an onboarding process and are hiring 2 other web designers, 2 more project managers, an SEO specialist and a sales/lead generation consultant.
Don't be afraid to just get started, learn as you go, you will be amazed by the opportunities you create for yourself!
@Revolution


#8

Thanks for your replies @Scott_Van_Zandt @Revolution. Its a big help having a small insight into the goings on of a freelancer. All I hear are good stories, whereever or whoever I ask! Did you both have much of a money buffer behind you before you started? Im sorry if it seems like a personal question. Or did you look into business grants and loans?


#9

@Mwdstudio
I really had no money buffer when I started. I didn't even think about loans or business grants, I doubt I had the resources to obtain them.

I was 19 and had been working for a solar energy company as a freelancer building their website with Webflow, social media, CRM, CMS, Lead generation processes, telemarketing strategy, etc.
As soon as I realized these were services I could offer to other businesses and that they were widely needed, I took action. I worked after hours on my own time finding clients.
Shortly after scouring the internet for leads, I got my first hit, a small $2000 project (web redesign) and finished it within 24-48 hours. This started to build my relationship with my first long-term client.

It was stressful because I didn't always know if what I was doing was correct and I took a risk at first. I would say YES and then spend hours trying to figure out how to actually deliver.
But it was doable because I found unlimited resources through Webflow & Online Communities that helped me answer any questions I had as well as learn on the go.
Taking that risk was the best choice of my life.
The added creative freedom paired with the fact that I was creating my own business made it worth all of the stress.

It's all about creating a process to get your clients ideas out of their head and into action as fast as possible without compromising quality or your client's vision. The better you can nail down a process to make your life easier and your project run fluidly, the faster you will reduce stress and increase productivity as a freelancer/start-up.


#10

First of all, well done! That all sounds great. It seems like my position now is similar to your when you started. The line the stands out for me is:

. That says it all really.

Thank you @Scott_Van_Zandt


#11

aka imperfect action! just get momentum :wink: We all learn by these little micro-failures [ hopefully no big ones, but those are life lessons :] I see those micro-failures moments much like working out..you're tearing that muscle fibre only for it to be fed nutrients [ better choices / actions ] that then build up muscle [ your business acumen ;]


#12

Hey there!

First of all, it's the right choice. IMO, while scary and frustrating and disappointing sometimes, being your own human controlling your own destiny is a marvelous thing. Congrats!

Also, I would recommend Mike Monteiro's Design Is A Job:

https://abookapart.com/products/design-is-a-job

Good, straight-forward talk about the nuts and bolts of freelancing, especially from the financials side.


#13

Thats a good analogy @LvnLife. Like it. Thanks for your thoughts.

And thanks @joe, I will defintiely take a look at the book.

I am very much leaning towards going freelance. All I hear is positivity. I feel like i'd regret it if I didn't try it!


#14

Just want to mention that the book @joe recommended is great read. The content is very digestible and straight talking.

https://abookapart.com/products/design-is-a-job

Worth a read!

Matt


#15

A great resource to give you an idea of what issues you might encounter along the way: http://freelancing.stackexchange.com/


#16

With all of your advise and direction, I am making the jump as of 1st July! So thank you all for your help.

Here's to freelancing :beers:

Matt


#17

Let us know how it's going man :smiley: Thanks for sharing your story and concerns!


#18

Hi guys,

I am officially a freelance web designer! Thanks for all of your advice above, I hope we can work together soon.

Matt


#19