@nickicawood | 28 Aug 2018
Hello! I am a freelance copywriter and blogger and have been since 2006. My role is to create compelling content for clients in order for them to meet their goals. This may be to sell products, to raise awareness or encourage action in another way. Based in North Yorkshire I work primarily from home, working with clients around the globe. Over the years I have written for countless different clients, from big names to small start-ups. I love the variety! I also founded the Thirsk Coworking Group, a free group which meets twice a month and welcomes a number of self-employed individuals from various different fields, all who enjoy occasionally working alongside others. These sessions can be a great way to beat the isolation that sometimes comes with freelancing/running your own business and serve as a useful accountability session too.
I turned to freelancing after my eldest was born. I was looking for more flexibility in my work, to fit around my young family and found it. My children are a little older now and in theory, I could return to the workplace, but why would I? I love my freelance lifestyle, earn more than I could locked into a salary, have complete control over who I work with, when I work and where.
Look out for Emma Cossey of Freelance Lifestyle fame. Her Facebook community offers a fabulous environment for support, information and more. When she’s not busy coaching 1-1 or running her coaching groups you will find her on her incredibly popular Instagram account which is brilliant source of hints, tips and useful Insta Stories.
The biggest challenge I found when starting my freelance career was time management. I was juggling a number of things and wasn't planning my time out properly, so everything felt rushed and my "Me time" was non-existent. These days I enjoy really good work life balance and am much more organised with my time.
I have been fairly lucky in terms of nightmare clients. I always have firm terms and conditions in place, do my due diligence and don't take any nonsense. In over twelve years I have lost £85 in unpaid invoices which I consider pretty good going. What I would say when talking to a client for the first time, listen to your gut. If something feels "off" don't ignore it. Some clients are so easy to work with, others want 101 rewrites, aren't clear on what they want and disappear periodically, leaving you waiting for info needed to complete your project. Use those T&Cs, take a deposit up front and stick to your guns. If you need to walk away from a client, something I've had to do twice, do it in a professional manner and move on. Your time is too valuable to waste.
Save up and start a pension. There are a hundred articles out there which tell you the tools you need to be a good freelancer, the groups you need to join and the type of website and social media accounts you will need. Few tell you to make sure that from day one to look after yourself. As a freelancer, you don't get paid holidays, sick days or any of the other benefits that you would get as an employed individual. This can put enormous pressure on you to work silly hours and not take enough breaks. Burning the candle at both ends always results in you get your butt burned! Avoid this by ensuring you put money away for holiday time, for inevitable sick days and so on. If you are too tired and too frazzled to enjoy the fruits of your labours, what was the point of making the leap into freelancing? Remember too that as a freelancer you won't have access to a workplace pension any more so research your options for a private/self-employed pension early on. Above all else, enjoy the experience. Freelancing can be blumming hard work, however, there are many benefits. Take the time to savour them.
If you have any questions or want to share some love, go to @nickicawood twitter!
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