First month on my own

It’s been an interesting first month as a freelancer! Hopefully this blog post will give you an insight into what goes on behind the scenes and possibly help other people who are thinking about giving up their 9-5 job.

Registering a business is easy

You don’t need to pay extra to a formation agent. Companies House make it extremely simple. You can register a company for £15 in a matter of minutes, just follow the on-screen steps on this page. Some of the questions may seem a little confusing at first so take your time and don’t rush through it.

Business bank accounts are a pain

This may just be my own personal experience from dealing with my bank but it’s not been very smooth.

I registered for a business account online and after completing the registration form I was told I would have to go into a bank to complete the registration. That’s fine, I thought they may want to just confirm some details and that’d be the end of it. Unfortunately I spent an hour filling in forms answering the same questions again and trying to be sold extras that I did not want.

It took 2 weeks for all the paper work to arrive. This included 2 different membership numbers (online banking and telephone banking) that arrived separately, details on account number + sort code, debit card + pin number, a different passcode for telephone banking and various other bits. Did I really need all this? No.

It’s 2013, most business owners will do their banking online so all I needed was enough information to be able to login to my online banking. Couldn’t they have asked if I needed all of this? It’s essentially wasted paper (and postage) that is just going to be filed away and likely never looked at again.

Word of mouth and reputation go a long way

I know this won’t be applicable to everyone setting up on their own, but word of mouth has been basically my only source of work so far and I’m on track to make a decent amount of money this month, considering it’s only my first month freelancing.

Your friends, family, family friends or ex-colleagues will almost definitely be able to pass some work your way, or know someone that needs some work doing. Even if it’s just for £50, it’s better than sitting around all day watching cat videos. If you do a good job they may recommend you to their own friends or family, passing more work your way, this follows on nicely to my next point.

Take pride in your work

Yes you can probably do a small £100 project in 2 hours, but what if you spent a little longer and did a really good job? If you have nothing else planned for the day (apart from watching even more cat videos) then why not spend a little longer on the project and do a really good job? Your client should be very happy and be more willing to recommend you, or come back to you in the future.

For example, here is a quote from an e-mail I received recently:

“Looks really good though and I am impressed with the quality of work you have completed… we both agree that we can increase your payment to £150″

An extra £50 just because I used some of my precious cat video watching time to do a better job.

Cheap work is better than no work

In the ideal world I would get a few SEO clients paying a reasonable amount every month and do big web design projects the rest of the time but that’s a bit unrealistic at the moment.

If you have the right skills it is easy to get cheap projects that can be completed in a few hours, either through word of mouth, or freelance websites like People Per Hour or Donanza. A few projects a month are enough to pay the bills and you should still have enough free time to either enjoy the perks of working for yourself, working on your own site, or your own side projects.

What’s in store for the rest of 2013?

Honestly, I don’t know. As soon as I have finished work on this site I will be advertising myself, and not relying solely on word of mouth projects, which will be a new challenge as I need to be able to sell my services myself to survive on my own.

Regardless I am looking forward to the next few months. It’s great being able to pick and choose projects, work solely on what I enjoy doing.

Who is Rob

Freelance web designer & SEO based in Loughborough, UK.

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