I was unhappy in my job - working long hours, sometimes all-nighters, and there was very little room to breathe, let alone be creative.
I’d always thought about taking the freelance leap but didn’t have the self-confidence or belief that I had enough contacts and steady clients. For about two years, I ran freelance work alongside my full-time job. The money was appealing, but lack of sleep and social life soon took its toll.
One of the most significant pieces of advice I can give is that your offering as a freelancer needs to be clear. I’m a bit of a jack of all trades, having worked in print, then for an animation agency, producing on-screen graphics for events, and then in advertising as a pitch designer. My portfolio was varied but clear, and that meant that recruiters knew where to place me.
Being organised is another crucial skill - spreadsheets of all your earnings and tax are vital, as are having separate bank accounts.
In the first year I guess I panicked and said ‘yes’ to everything, but once I settled into the flow of things, and I got my regular clients, I started being a bit more fussy about the work I took on.
In my opinion, the perks of freelancing far out-weigh those of being full time employed. Sure, I no longer get Bupa, but I also don’t have to start work until 11 if I don’t want to. I can spend the first part of my day going for a run and having a leisurely breakfast. I can also work wherever I want to - be that my sofa, or a week away in the middle of nowhere. Having ownership over my time and how I spend it, has been the most liberating thing about freelancing.
But when I’m busy, I’m swamped, and that means weekend work and the occasional late night. That’s all about time management and recognising what I’m capable of. Having breathing space around projects in case they overrun is vital.