Hey everyone! What’s the best practical advice you’d give someone making their first steps going freelance/self employed?

I’m looking for more financial tips as I’m looking to either take out a business loan or get a credit card to help purchase the last bits of equipment that I need to get myself up and running.

What has other people’s experiences been like?

What did you do when you were in my position?

Did it work for you? Did it not work for you? Why?


  • @Ioana Luca this is great advice! Thank you! Having to manage my own time & work schedule actually sounds like a dream to me because I know I am more active, creative and focussed at times that aren’t always appropriate in a steady 9-5. So that is something I am actually looking forward to I think
  • I didn't go freelance until I had some savings to keep me alive for at least 6 months, otherwise I'd be so stressed not too find work to do a good job, but this can be very subjective.
    Depending on your job field you can start "light" and then improve your equipment when you start to earn money (and you can put them down as work expenses).

    Also it took me quite a long time to get used to the different work flow: sometimes you work a lot, sometimes your days are free. Now I learned to use the down time to rest, learn or do something else, without guilt.
  • I started 6 years ago as a freelancer. It took me over a year to get used to the financial insecurity which I didn't really know working in corporations before. There's a huge mindset shift that is needed and expected, as you will be the one in control of your time, tasks, money. But it's all worth it, 200%. Establish your working routine (to keep work-life balance), your boundaries, your expectations, what type of jobs and clients you want to work with . Oh, and even if you don't have experience on it yet, I would suggest doing what you are passionate about even if it's a career change, cause it will be one anyway, might as well do what you love. ;)
  • I'm useless at all the accounts stuff but have an amazing accountant - if you'd like one too, here they are: https://dockwrayaccounting.co.uk/

    Also Sarah Townsend wrote a really helpful book on going freelance: https://www.sarahtownsendeditorial.co.uk/survival-skills-for-freelancers/

    And @Nikky Lyle created a brilliant guide: https://guides.nikkylyle.com/a-fool-proof-guide-to-going-freelance
  • Hi Chris,

    I would say definitely use loans as the last thing. Before I went to freelance I had savings for 1 year and I always keep that as a minimum. I bought equipments on the go so kept it really low. Literally made huge budget projects on an old macbook air.When I have one pay off I always save some parts of it but also set a budget for spending. It can be equipments but also just some experimental hings to play with fi. a macro lens etc.. But so generally be mindful on your spendings and really stay away from loans.
  • Set-up a separate bank account, register as a sole trader, lend money to your business account, make sure all of your gear purchases are coming out of your business account so you can write-off the tax in an auditable manner. If you're buying lots of gear/expensive gear, I would register for VAT and claim back 1/6th of all your purchases and opt out when it suits.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a financial advisor, I've just saved thousands doing this myself.
  • Get a copy of 'Company of One' by Paul Jarvis:


    In my opinion, it has lots of great advice on starting up as well as all the right questions to ask yourself before you make any big decisions.
  • No loan.
    Have 1+ year of living costs saved.
    You don't need to lower your prices and take projects what are not suitable to you. No discounts. Also if clients won't pay or your equipment fails or you need to make investments beforehand you can do it without stress.

    Also this is probably my personal take. Know your limits. And be flexible regarding time. There are times when you have enough work and limited rest. I would say push and work with max and rest when there is lower period. If you are good at self branding, sales and communication probably you can plan your time in a way that this doesn't happen. Reality is that it is better to bring money in when you can and be flexible regarding your own time. From my own personal experience. If there is busy period I will work Saturday and Sunday and then after two weeks I can work just 2-3 days per week.

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