10 things I know about freelancing (10/03/2012)


Work from home. Coffee still on tap.

1. Most people are inherently nice. Trustworthy. Sensible. And intelligent. A very small percentage of the client population is made up of utter plonkers – but they do help to keep things interesting. Especially if you tweet about them.

2. I need variety to be happy. Working on the same client or account every day, five days a week, for several months, would make me bored. And homicidal. I’m only stimulated when I can work on three, four or ten different things in a week.

3. I hate meetings. Most meetings are a waste of time. There is little that cannot be achieved over the phone, using Skype or via email. (Having said that, the initial client meet-and-greet is critical and must happen face-to-face, where possible.)

4. If a client is willing to sign a quote and pay a deposit, they’re probably going to pay the balance. They’re serious enough and committed enough to the process and the outcome not to need to be chased for money when it’s all over.

5. I can’t work with rabid narcissists. Life’s simply too short to try to engage with consultants, experts or self-proclaimed industry mavens who criticise absolutely every deliverable without an iota of concrete, usable feedback.  I’ve learned that when these people suggest joint ventures, partnerships or collaborations – even if the client, project or item is exciting beyond words – I need to say No.

6. Being less afraid of technology is helpful. I’ve started using brilliant online tools like EchoSign (online document signing and delivery), cool forums like Pinterest (pretty pictures of pretty things) and helpful web apps like Harvest (which handles hourly billing on specific client projects).

7. I’ll never know everything there is to know about grammar, language, copy or business. Every day I learn something new (like what ‘I’m sure’ really means), remember something I’d forgotten (like not to book writing jobs in after a day of writing training) or borrow a new perspective from one of my genius assistants.

8. Working from home is much more of a blessing than a curse. The first question people ask me when I mention my home office is, ‘How do you stay focused?’ I’m a workaholic. The question should be, ‘How do you switch off?’ (I don’t.) But the real joys of working from home are: my baby daughter’s here, my cats are here, the Nespresso machine’s here, there’s minimal traffic and I wear slipslops.

9. I need a certain level of stress to be productive. My husband’s always urging me to take on less. To say No. To take time off. And I can’t do it. I’ve tried. So this year I learned that I have to be swamped to get stuff done. It is what it is.

10. I hate writing conclusions.