Can I Freelance as a First Job?

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Some people grow up knowing they want to be their own boss someday. Others realise it after years of working for other people or having to please difficult bosses. Either way, there are lots of things to consider before becoming your own boss. So, here are a few considerations to weigh up and insights into being your own boss.

Consider the options

Being your own boss can mean many things. It might mean being a home-based sole trader freelancer who does projects for multiple people. Or being a contract-based freelancer who works with one company for a while. Or being an entrepreneur. Or a solopreneur. Or a business owner who employs a few people, or multiple people. Don’t just assume that being your own boss means one way of working.

Look to the future

If you’re not sure which of these you want to be, think about how you imagine your future—is it working alone and having freedom, running a small company, or building a business? You might not know which you want to be until you try them out, which is the difficult part. That’s why lots of people start with an employed job and try out being self-employed as a side hustle to see whether they like it. It’s not the only option though.

Build a network

Being your own boss can be lonely and you can miss out on insights you’d gain working alongside colleagues, so as your own boss, you need to build a network. It might be people who are similar to you, for example, I started the Birmingham Freelancers group to gain a network, or it might be attending general networking events to find clients. It’s also useful to have a small personal network of people you can rely on, such as an accountant to help you with tax.

Model success

To do this, look to already successful people. You can do this by reading books, listening to podcasts, going to events held by successful people, or joining a networking group for entrepreneurs who are already experiencing success in business. It’s also helpful to get a business mentor who is more experienced than you, as they can help you on your journey.

Know your stuff

You need to understand some key aspects of business, such as contracts, invoicing, pitching to clients, and managing your workload. To do this, you can go on courses, read relevant books, or listen to podcasts. It also means knowing your stuff in terms of the type of work you decide to do, so get to know your field and stay up to date on changes relevant to your work. Being your own boss is a journey, so always keep learning and improving.

Have a back-up plan

Whatever kind of self-employed work you do, it can be difficult if you’re struggling financially. That’s why it’s a good idea to have emergency savings, a great back-up plan, and multiple income streams. Some people start out in an employed job and gradually transition to self-employment, which can be easier and give you the chance to build up some savings. Others have a part-time job alongside being self-employed.

Do what you love

As your own boss, you have the opportunity to do what you want to do—so choose something you love doing and that you’re good at. If you want a long-term career, it’s much easier if you really love what you do. It can take time to figure out what this is, so don’t be afraid to try a few things first to see whether you like them or not. If you start something and realise it’s not for you, it’s never too late to change path.

A combination of these factors can help you achieve success as your own boss.

What has helped you so far on your career journey? What excites you about becoming your own boss? Comment below or get in touch.

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