Friday, March 19, 2010
"If you look six months down the track and there's nothing there and you feel a bit of dread, followed by extreme excitement, than you are definitely cut out for freelancing."
Luckily I fit the second scenerio, but that's no surprise. I know that this is what I'm meant to be doing.
No, my 'aha' moment during the author talk with Monica Davidson (pictured), the co-author of the Aussie version of Freelancing for Dummies, came when she spoke of freelancers retaining an employee mentality.
"Even if you are working off your kitchen bench and they are a multinational, you are both in business, you're on an even footing and you can say, let's work something out that is equitable and fair for both of us," she reassured a group of small business owners and freelancers at a small business book club sponsored by Canada Bay Council in Sydney last week.
She also said she could guarantee that most people in the room charged too little for their services. "You don't want to be the cheapest carton of plonk in the bottle shop," she said. "People will think you're crap."
The Sydney-based writer, filmmaker and mother of three who says she has "never had a proper job" shared lots of pithy and useful bits of advice, including, "Don't listen to the Reality Police who tell you it's not a proper job and you won't make any money that way", and, "Don't be so busy working that you stop marketing".
"If you only start marketing when you've already run out of work it's like a dating when you're desperate. Everyone can tell that you're desperate, they can smell it on you and they will exploit you."
Monica placed looking after your money, understanding your tax situation, and getting contracts, among her top ten tips for successful freelancing.
Also important was finding like-minded people who support you. "Also, you need to educate your family and friends about how they can support you," she said. "You have chosen an unconventional path and you can't necessarily expect them to understand your life."
In this respect, Monica said she found her children easy to train to respect her work space and time.
"I hear that husbands are often a lot harder."
The book is an updating of the original Freelancing for Dummies by Susan M. Drake, for the Australian context.
Image from www.freelancesuccess.com.au/monica.html