5 Things I’ve Learned in 2 Months of Freelancing

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I recently reached 2 months of full-time freelancing, and I can’t believe how fast the time has gone!

In some ways, it doesn’t feel like anything has changed, as I was working on my freelance work part-time even while I had a stable income.

However, in other ways it feels completely different to my life before, and there’s certainly been a learning curve.

I currently work for various clients, writing for websites and brands, creating social media content and providing VA services for several blogs.

When I was considering quitting my job to become freelance full-time, I would have benefited from reading someone else’s honest experiences. Not something trying to sell the freelance life, but something honest and open about what it’s like to work for yourself, from someone who has just taken the plunge.

Bearing in mind, I am still very much learning as I go!

I also asked on Twitter if people had any points they would like me to discuss in this post- and parts of this post have been informed by that. Thank you to everyone who asked me questions!

In this post, I’ve put together 5 things I’ve learned in 2 months of freelancing. It hasn’t always been fun and it’s certainly not always been easy- but I’ve enjoyed it so much, and I’m excited to see what’s to come.

It’s scary!

One of the big differences between freelancing as a side hustle and freelancing as a full-time job is the fear factor.

If you work in a “traditional” job, you can be ill, be tired, be distracted or be unproductive and it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, as you can make up the work on another day or put in a few extra hours on the weekend- but you always know the pay check will be steady.

However, when the amount of hours of work you do will directly influence how much you’re paid- that can be a bit scary.

My best advice to deal with this would be to put a firm, realistic financial plan in place, which takes anything and everything into consideration. Make sure you have savings to cover you for the months you might need them, and be realistic with yourself about what you can manage.

Always remember that you can get another 9-5 job if you need it- this doesn’t have to be forever!

Make it work for you

This advice came from my Mum- and it’s something I’ve had to learn after a few burn outs over the past 2 months! If you choose the freelance life, it’s because you want to create your own schedule.

I thought I had to sit at my desk all day and treat it like a 9-5, but I’ve actually had better results by planning my day around what works for me.

I work better in the mornings, so I try to capitalise on that- and in the afternoon I take longer breaks. This means that when I am sat at my desk, I am busy and productive- not just scrolling on my phone.

This also means that I sometimes work outside “normal” working hours, but I’m okay with that. I might take Friday afternoon off, but I’ll work Saturday morning. Or I might go for a swim Tuesday morning, but I’ll work until 7pm.

As long as I’m enjoying the work, meeting client expectations and getting the results I need- I can structure my day how I see fit. After all, isn’t that the beauty of freelancing?

Sometimes, once I take a break and do something different- I have an epiphany about a task I couldn’t do before. It’s all about recognising what you need to complete any work to the best of your ability.

It is so rewarding

I absolutely love what I do! I get to write every single day for blogs, brands and websites- and I get to do it all from home, planning my own schedule.

Whether you’re providing freelance translation services or creating written content like me- freelancing can help you do what you love every day.

After I graduated into a pandemic and tried applying for lots of jobs in this field, I never thought I’d get the chance to create content for a living.

For anyone in a similar position, I would really recommend building up work for yourself- especially if you’re not having any luck finding a job role you want to do.

I now do a bit of everything for my clients, and I never would have been able to do that if I’d gone into a specific job role when I finished University.

If you’re considering making freelance work your full-time pursuit, you feel like the routine would work for you, and you’re in a financial position to do it- I could not recommend it enough.

There’s something so rewarding about making money for yourself, knowing that every single part of the job was controlled by you.

Choose an organisational system that YOU like

On the outside, my organisational system seems a bit crazy. I use a lot of post-it notes, and a mixture of digital and paper notes. Sometimes I use a calendar and sometimes I use a diary.

I don’t set myself a timetable and I do different things on different days, and sometimes end up doing something completely different to what I planned.

This would panic and stress out someone else, but for me it works!

I like to plan my day around what needs to get done and what I see as a priority at that time, and I never set myself a rigid plan because I know I won’t stick to it. Instead, I set a day-by-day to do list for myself and I amend it as new jobs come in, or when I feel I need to give a task more time than I originally thought.

For some people, all they need is 1 diary. For other people, they need multiple ways to keep track of their schedule.

In 2 months of freelancing, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what you use to organise your work, as long as you are organised and you’re meeting all your deadlines.

Clients can come from anywhere!

I’ve learned that clients can come from anywhere, and they can be anyone! I got my first client via Twitter, and since then I’ve also found 3 more of my long-term clients via Twitter.

Social media is an incredible place to meet people, and I would really recommend building your online accounts if you’re a freelancer. This might mean engaging with people in the same field as you, or building up your following so that more people can read your work.

One of the best ways that I use social media is to push myself and put myself out there. If someone mentions they need help with their blog, I message them about my VA services. If someone mentions that they often take on freelancers, I message them about my freelance services.

Once I start working for a new client, I believe it’s all about going above and beyond to sell yourself. I always try to be available or show that I am willing to take on more work, and I always get my work done by a set deadline.

Sometimes, continuing a positive relationship with a client just takes those little things that show you are willing to put the work in for them.

I also started working for a few of my clients via Upwork. I like the fact that you can apply for job postings that sound interesting or suit your skills, and it gives a freelancer the chance to reach out to clients, rather than the other way around.

If you’re a freelancer, what are some key lessons you’ve learned during your time? Do you agree with my points about freelancing after 2 months? Do you think this post is helpful if you want to take the plunge?

Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below πŸ™‚

Happy reading x

41 thoughts

  1. Thank you so much for sharing my post! I too am a big fan of post-it notes, and although I often set a schedule, I hardly ever stick to it! The best organisational tool for me (apart from post-its) has been to use a to-do app on my phone, which reminds me of the things I planned to get done that day – I get a nerdy buzz from ticking the items off once completed : )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you mentioned having multiple ways of keeping up with your work. I’ve got a notebook, reminders on my phone, and often block my calendar too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing how things have been going. I see a lot of bloggers that freelance and I can see the appeal on so many levels. I don’t know if I will ever do it but I like looking behind the curtain and learning what it’s about. I am just now getting a rhythm with writing for my blog. I like that I’m now consistent with that. I’m not sure the pressure of a client deadline would work for me at this stage. It’s great that you’re finding your way and making it work for you. That will certainly aid in your success.

    ~ Cassie | letsgrowmom.com

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  4. It was so interesting to learn about your experience these past two months Eleanor! I am glad you find your steps and make it work for you. I am still in the process of trying to grow my blog and my social media accounts. Always great to learn from the experience of others πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was a very insightful and informative post. I blog part time as a hobby and I work full time in my 9-5, however for me I don’t have any want to give up my full time job at this current moment in time. I like what I do and how I am growing my career in that aspect. But it does take a huge toll on my time for my blog which I also love doing. For me it is just about finding that balance and being able to do both together. But I love that you dived straight into freelancing and have shared this experience πŸ™‚ x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences Gemma. I think everyone should do the right thing for you- and if you’re enjoying your job (and career) why should you give it up πŸ™‚ that’s so true, balance is necessary to manage any side hustle or passion. Thanks for sharing x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So true! Freelance job is scary but yet exciting. It also helps you to improve your passion and pursue your dreams. Plus, you learn more with freelance work more than regular job. Especially on management and leadership. That’s what I experienced.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great Post Eleanor! Always interesting to learn what goes on behind the scenes of freelancer life! 😁
    You do fab work for me and I’m so pleased I hired you because honestly, my blog would be a lot emptier and very lonely if I didn’t have you to add new content to it! πŸ’›πŸ€—
    I’d definitely recommend to anyone hiring a VA if you’re struggling to create content, post on social media, do blog-admin, have a presence on social media in top of living life, working socialising, exercising and generally existing! πŸ˜‚ Xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Sarah! Aw that’s so lovely to hear, I’m so glad that it’s helped your blog and I love creating content for you πŸ™‚ Haha blogging can be so exhausting so it definitely helps to have another pair of hands to help out, for sure! Thank you so much for your kind words xx

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  8. Very insightful and congrats on 2 full months of freelancing – you’re doing brilliantly and I’m sure you’ll only go up from here! Organization systems that work for you – in any self employed creative field – is SO important!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s really lovely to see how well things have been going for you lovely! I’ve never thought of free-lancing before as it’s always scared me but it sounds like hard but very rewarding work. Your bossin it! Congratulations on two months Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Elle, I appreciate your kind words πŸ™‚ Yes it has been a positive experience for me so far, but that doesn’t mean it’s not scary, and there are ups and downs for sure x

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  10. Love this, thanks for sharing. Freelancing sounds like such a scary thing to do but it’s something I would love to try. I would love to work by myself at home and that’s a future goal. It’s nice to get some honest insight from someone living the experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As you said, you have to be careful with your money because there’s no regular paycheck guaranteed, but there’s also the problem of having no sick pay, no maternity or paternity leave, and no holiday pay. Are you even able to have a work place pension as a freelancer?

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Oh yeah. Clients really can come from anywhere, which is why it’s important for us to keep on keeping on, even though we may not feel like updating our blogs or even keeping the domain up. Lovely post. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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