So you want to freelance?

Having founded CollabMiami, I’m often approached with questions concerning freelancing. Many just seeking guidance for the very next step in their freelance journey. Well, following are some observations that you might find helpful as you consider striking out on your own.

Freelancing is a business
Big revelation, huh? You’d be surprised how many treat freelancing like a hobby. A pet project. Now, that is not to say that a hobby cannot turn into a serious “business” venture. It certainly has been an entry point for many. Yet, for a freelancer to thrive they must have business processes in place to get work in the door and put money in the bank. Consider the process, beginning to end, of someone wanting to use your services. From the first phone call to final delivery, what steps need to be taken?

A skill does not a business make
Though you might be brilliant in a particular skill, that alone will not suffice when establishing a freelance business. Why? Because now you will have to wear hats you never thought you would. Remember those math classes you hated so much? Well, you better get good at numbers really quick because now it’s called estimating and invoicing. You want to pay the rent? Welcome to your accounting department. Thankfully there are plenty of amazing online services that can help with the processes that you might not be the strongest at. From marketing to accounting seek to automate areas that will allow you to dedicate more time to your higher-value strengths.

It’s all your responsibility
We all have aspirations to be responsible and in charge of something. Nothing wrong with that. But if you are easily offended by criticism, emotionally afraid to express your thoughts or to timid to say “Hello!” to someone you just met, it’s going to be a rough ride. As a business owner everything is your responsibility. There is nowhere else to pass the buck. So be prepared to humbly receive praise and responsibly take blame.

It’s not all about you
Freelancing is challenging and demanding. It will put a strain on you and all those around you. Before you kiss your full time job goodbye, make sure you have total support from those that are significant in your life. I’m not talking about an encouraging “Yes, honey, I believe you can do it.” sentiment but a full on, buy-in. Meaning, are they ok with you not having a regular paycheck… for a while? Not having extra expendable income… for a while? Working late… for a while? Asking them to help you for free… for a while? This venture is a family affair. Do not underestimate the positive encouragement close relationships can have when things don’t seem to be going exactly as planned.

Trying is not the same as committing
If you want to “try” something, try on a pair of shoes. If you want to freelance, you’re going to have to commit. Most of the successful freelancers I know had no Plan B or Exit strategies. They had a vision and adapted their circumstances to whatever opportunities where presented. None of them had concrete answers or a perfectly paved road before them. They did have a commitment to see their vision thru while using freelancing as a mechanism to get there. So if you’re giving freelancing serious consideration, follow it up with serious commit.

Lastly, don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from taking your next step. Take comfort in what you do know and take the next reasonable step. Yes, it might seem crazy, intimidating and even rebellious, but then again, that is what makes freelancing such an adventure.

Author: George Cuevas

As a freelance Creative Director/Graphic Designer, George Cuevas is sought by brands requiring custom visual solutions. As founder and, George brings an unparalleled amount of new media marketing and business experience to all his creative graphic design solutions.