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It’s been a mad nine or so months since leaping off the proverbial cliff in a freelance fall of unknowns, elevated with a positive attitude, loads of faith in other people’s faith in me, hope and a great support network of family and friends. And I’ve landed in the cool aid.

If I sense even just a hint of someone thinking about starting their own freelance business and I’ll whip out my soapbox and get so excited by the prospect of them running their own biz they’re virtually writing their resignation. And so I pull myself and them back into their white wall office with pragmatic insight into some of the things I’ve learned so far.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of things I’ve shared with people who are thinking about diving off the payroll:

  • Know your acronyms: ABN, ACN, GST, BAS
  • Get a referral from friends and family for a good accountant who understand small biz (let me know if you want to chat with mine and I’ll connect you, she’s ace!)
  • It’s never too early to meet with people and do your homework, even if you don’t work with them for another year… or ever; other people’s knowledge is power!
  • You need budget for a website design, development, hosting and for your own domain email
  • You need a laptop you can carry around with relative ease and suggest a wifi block … i have a 4G telstra block I’m using now with my 11″ MacBook Air …  I’m actually using my Mac to charge my phone right now
  • Make sure your ‘mobile office’ fits in my handbag (the other big bag I’m carrying has my gym clothes … although I haven’t been to the gym today and probs won’t …and that’s ok because I’m used to being prepared for everything and nothing at the same time now)
  • Get a rather large external hard drive and a back up drive for your multi-device lifestyle
  • Consider using cloud Storage – I like iCloud for email files and syncing my calendar and contacts, Dropbox for all other files and also looking at SkyDrive as an option
  • Apps will be your best friend… find ones to make your life easy, try a few out and then pick which ones are for you and commit to them! I like Evernote for notes and syncing with all my devices!
  • You need Public Liability and Professional Indemnity in case something F**** up along the way …  not that it will but just in case!
  • Overhaul your social networks so they’re professional and add value to you as a brand and what you do as a business
  • Find a few ‘safe places’ where you feel welcome and comfortable so you can set up your mobile office and churn through work while sipping on an espresso or iced chocolate … it doesn’t matter what you have or how much because it’s your productive oasis. I like Shirt Bar in Sussex Lane (which is a client of The Village Agency that I am a part of) and a hole in the wall on Oxford St called Oasis. Two opposite ends of the cafe spectrum but I feel good when I’m there and they’re open when other places are not. Check them out!
  • Work your networks…actually, build them and then nurture them … never ‘work’ them, it sounds slutty and you won’t feel good about yourself
  • Remember your manners
  • Remember where you’ve come from and keep focus on where you want to go (I knew J-Lo was onto something in Jenny From the Block)
  • Learn how to spot an opportunity and go for it … and appreciate it every step of the way…
  • …Or don’t go for it at all … just don’t be or do anything half-ass
  • Have fun, laugh and enjoy what you’re doing … even when you’ve had two hours sleep three weeks running. If you lose your sense of humour and joy then get a job and be happy.

There is still much for this grasshopper to learn but I’m having a ball learning and experiencing the freelance utopia so many have spoken of.

Keep on truckin’


PS: you will also become more self assured with the more wins and fails you have along the way. I’m always learning more about myself personally and professionally and getting more and more used to being me, as a freelancer, discovering more about what and who I like and how I like to do things. So much fun!