I’ve been a freelancer since my university days ended, and although it is pretty empowering there are a few tips I wish I had known before joining the freelance genus:
Get smart about where you work. Working in your room undoubtedly leads to cabin fever, but likewise working in the living room can come with flatmates, and working in a cafe comes with a coffee, tea, and that piece of cake bill. Either work out a routine where you alternate, or if you can stretch to it, look into a flexible co-working office where you can hot-desk.
Dress to impress. Not only will it be a useful routine that will help your brain switch gears, but you do never know when a client might appear, even if you are working at home.
Always aim to get a contract. In the beginning, especially if you don’t have much experience, it can be hard to negotiate this, but always try to. You may tell yourself that you are showing a client good grace by getting to the job straight away and sidelining things such as signing a contract, but it is likely someone will eventually walk away without paying you.
Fear of numbers? Get an accountant. If the costs start flowing it’s likely you will do everything to save money where you can, this area shouldn’t be one of them. Accountants can be expensive, but not as expensive as a penalty charge when you fill in your tax return incorrectly.
Be okay with making mistakes. You have to be on top of everything, and usually you are the one motivating yourself, so you will make mistakes, some of which will feel pretty obvious in hindsight. Learn from it, but try not to beat yourself up too much. The freelance game can be a draining one so as long as you are keeping yourself on your toes, give yourself room for errors.