Many of our Digital Mums go on to set themselves up as freelancers after they graduate from our education programmes. But it can be a scary transition if you've never done it before.
So let’s imagine it (or maybe you are already there!); You’ve quit your day job, updated your Linkedin profile, heck, you’ve even spoken to the tax man. Now what?
Check out these top tips from some of our brilliant Digital Mum graduates and influencers to help you fly as a freelancer. You can thank us later!
1. Do the Hustle!
This is our mantra at Digital Mums for a reason! Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that clients are going to fall into your lap when you make the transition to a freelance career. So you need to go out there and hustle for them.
“The secret to a successful freelance career is constant hustling, says Digital Mum graduate Anna Jones,
I told anyone who would listen that I had gone freelance. I then used Linkedin and Facebook to promote the campaigns I was doing.”
All our students have access to our Do the Hustle resource bank, which gives you lots of tools to build a sustainable freelance career, including how to land that all-important first client.
“When I saw a business I wanted to work with I sent them a mini audit of their social media channels, with five top tips to improve,” says fellow graduate Tamara Hammad. “This helped me secure my client Andy and the Odd Socks from CBBC through an entertainment PR agency.”
2. Never turn down an invitation
Of course it makes sense to attend relevant sector and industry events, but the best freelancers see any invitation as an opportunity to build their brand.
“I met one of my clients, who runs a coffee business, at my daughter’s sing and sign class. There seem to be a lot of entrepreneurs setting up at the moment so make sure you get out there and tell everyone what you do.”
3. Carve out a niche
Annette Henry has two passions - interior design and social media - and she’s now lucky enough to combine both after completing our Associate Programme.
She said “I couldn’t believe my luck the other day when I was looking through Elle Decoration and Dezeen to get content ideas. It makes such a difference when you have a real interest in your clients’ work and I can honestly say I love what I do!”
“Find your niche, that subject or area you know best, and look for clients in that space.” says Digital Mum Kelly Stanton. “The more you know the subject the more you can offer a potential client. Passion shows in interviews so find your passion.”
4. Be prepared to leave your comfort zone
If the job sounds like a stretch, have confidence in your abilities, or failing that, fake it ‘til you make it.
Stephanie Withers, who runs the successful parenting and lifestyle blog, Chalk Kids, said: “Say yes to opportunities. Whether that’s attending more events or taking on something that pushes you out of your comfort zone.”
“Whenever you feel your self-motivation slipping, that’s when you should step back for a moment, go for a run, listen to an inspiring podcast or read a book like Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Freelancing can be up and down, but that’s what keeps it interesting!”
5. Use the power of your collective!
Freelancing can sometimes feel like a lonely place, so it’s important to nurture relationships with other amazing women who have struck out on their own.
All of our graduates have access to the completely awesome #DMCollective - a supportive online community of like-minded mums. There is also our amazing new Facebook group to empower all women to find #WorkThatWorks. You can also get access to free live talks with industry experts and take part in real world challenges. Go here to sign up.
But even with all the online support,we still recommend picking up the phone from time to time.
Chloe Samwell-Smith, otherwise known as Chloe Loves to Shop, said: “After working with a team of people in an office for 17 years, one of the things I missed the most was the daily chit-chat and laughter. There was always someone to check a spelling, proofread an important email or bounce ideas off. When you work for yourself there are days when you can feel a little isolated and cut off from all of that. I think it’s really important to find a friend in a similar position to you that will understand your struggles and frustrations. A quick phonecall with someone who understands can make the world of difference.”
6. Work from home - but make sure you occasionally leave it
It doesn’t have to be an Instagram-worthy home office, but make sure you have somewhere to grab a little peace and quiet.
“I have a desk set up in one corner of our lounge and work from that,” says Kelly.
“I think it's important to have some quiet space to think and to work but for me I don't need a separate room as I work mainly when the kids are in bed.”
“I have a little office and it’s great having a separate space,” says Amy
“But I also like to go out to coffee shops where I do social media scheduling ‘power hours’. The change of scenery helps me focus.”
7. And finally, It’s okay to switch off sometimes!
When you’re a freelancer it’s all too easy for your family and work life to blend into one - so make sure you take time for a regular digital detox.
“I try as much as possible to separate work from family life, but that can be difficult when you work from home,” says Leonora Bamford, from My Baba.
“Try and be strict with phone time. It’s amazing that we can all make a living from our hands now but the children hate them. I’ve just bought a box to put our phones in as we walk through the door. It’s hard but I think family time without social media is so important.”
“Stay focused, and try to set yourself working hours so so that your time with the children and your work time don’t spill over into each other,” added Chloe.
“When the children come home from school, I try to leave my phone in another room so that I am not distracted and they feel like they have my full attention. I have three children and two needy cats so there’s enough competition for my time without adding a phone in the mix!’