Thinking of jumping the corporate ship to go freelance? 12 things I’ve learned in my first 12 months

  1. Life can get lonely

The office politics and distractions disappear but so do the shared colleague conversations, camaraderie, concern and care.

  1. There’s no better mirror

You are your only motivator.  You won’t have your manager’s annual review to tell you how well you’re doing but you don’t need it – you’ll know.  There’s a direct correlation between motivation and making money.

  1. Flexibility is your friend

Things can change quickly.  Expected work gets delayed, unexpected work demanded.  You can plan your days but to truly benefit from freelance life you need to be flexible enough to maximise moments.

  1. The early bird catches the worm

Regardless of whether you’re a lark or an owl, you only get the worm by getting up and out.  Freelance is all about flexibility but establishing a morning routine gets you from dreaming of success to being a success.

  1. It’s freelance not a fairy tale

There’s no doubt I spend far more time now doing what I love (writing) but you have to become a Jack of all trades.  YOU are Head of IT, sales and marketing, payroll and tax and you can’t get to what you love until that’s all done.

  1. Save, save, save

Landing work can take as long as doing it.  If you are still salaried, start saving.  It rains a lot in freelance land – sometimes it’s a shower, sometimes it’s a storm, and sometimes you won’t know which until the sun starts shining.

  1. Coffee connects

‘Do you fancy catching up over a coffee?’  It might just be one of the most powerful sentences ever crafted.  It somewhat surprised me that catching up over coffee can lead to all kinds of unexpected connections, conversations and collaborations.

  1. Time matters

Everyone’s juggling multiple agendas in the corporate arena but you tend to be able to flex your workload to suit your mood and, within reason, take the time your need to accomplish it.  When you are paid by the day or project, you often have to drop everything to produce fabulous work fast.

  1. Segment your space

As brilliant as it is being able to flip open your laptop and start working anywhere, you need to find a distraction-free space.  When working from home, defining that business space also enables you (and your family) to separate work-life and home-life.

  1. The work is insightful

You get the privilege of peeking into different businesses and sectors.  The work varies week-to-week, bringing challenge and personal growth.  You are developing at the same time as helping others develop new skills and solutions – that feels great.

  1. You get to do what you love every day

I’m not getting paid to write everyday but be it for business or pleasure I now have the flexibility to accomplish it.

  1. People pay it forward

You might be a business of one but you can’t do it alone.  You need strong networks and to be brave enough to ask those in it for help.  The small kindnesses of others go a very long way.  Whether offering advice, making introductions or putting work your way – that generosity of spirit and the difference it makes has been my first year’s greatest learning.

Alex established not A Duff word in March 2017.  She helps businesses, brands and boards wordsmith words that work, master their messages to matter and sculpt standout stories. 



Published by

Alex Duff

Freelance Communications Professional

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