Freelancing/contracting used to be reserved for the very best in the field, but with online platforms and sleek looking websites fooling us all in to thinking that any start-up can be specialist, I'm starting to see the market saturated with novices. Begging the question - When did everyone become an expert?
One of the weirdest things about self-employement, is that nobody teaches you how to be self-employed. You just....do it. And make a lot of mistakes along the way. Over the last 17 years at the Freelance Coalface, I've learned a few really valuable things that, had I known them at the start, might have saved me a grey hair or 50.
There will be moments when you do a double take on your lifestyle... Just because there isn't a graduate scheme for it, doesn't mean you can't do the work you want to do. Go old school, send some emails, make some calls, and set yourself up... if you offer something good enough, the clients will come trotting.
The most interesting people I met were the children. Most were too busy having fun to notice or realise that they were in a place of learning, while others paid close attention but still enjoyed what was being taught. Perhaps it was due to the efforts of the Outstanding Ofsted rated school that realised this.
Leave school, go to college/university, find job in that chosen field, totter up that career ladder, receive pension, retire playing golf, making soup and joining a bridge club. This is what schools drill into us since our first times tables test, and when you don't take this path, you feel like you're on the whacky races with no guidance pit stops and a worrying lack of financial fuel.
In today's world, being good at what you do is simply not enough to grow your freelance business. It's a great start and will form the foundation of your future work, but you will also need to have a firm commitment to develop and then execute your marketing and growth strategies as part of your daily activities.
Everything changes at the turn of the year. At least it feels that way having had a needed break from work and the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. It also offers the chance to consider what the brand new year might bring and contemplate how we are going to make 2014 one of our best years yet.