Diane Hall - The Frazzled Freelancer

Freelancer, Entrepreneur and mother of two...

Freelancers are changing the face of business; is it for you?

Here’s proof, if proof was needed, that you don’t need the backing of a big company to succeed.  Freelancers are changing the face of business, with the internet playing a vital role.

Iain Dodsworth, this week, sold his application ‘Tweetdeck’ to Twitter for 25million.  Lucky guy, eh?  Or is he just shrewd and ambitious?

He confesses he taught himself to write code, and that the first Tweetdeck version he placed on the web was ‘bad quality’.  Yet, only three years later, he’s a multi-millionaire from his efforts.

Things have changed…

Iain suggests, from experience, that freelancing and determining your own future is a far more viable career route nowadays than it has ever been.  If you’re ambitious and know where to gain skills that you’re lacking, then there seems little need to search for the backing of an employer.  Signing over your idea and your potential future success also seems less attractive when you could so easily ‘do it yourself’.

You could transform any market, even your local one

The internet is undoubtedly a catalyst for technological successes such as Iain’s.  But only today, I read of a similar story in my local paper.  A funeral director’s assistant decided he had the potential to do as good as, if not better, than his boss, which saw him launch his own funeral care business.  His aim was not to replicate what his employer already did, but to offer something different in their industry, giving the local market a choice.  His reasoning was, there was room enough for both funeral companies to make a decent profit. 

And was that the case?

Definitely.  The original market actually expanded to neighbouring towns because, between them, the two companies now offered a multitude of services.  This meant the assistant’s old employer didn’t lose trade from having competition and his new company made a very decent living.

To leap or not to leap?

Jumping from a proper job to freelance jobs and going it alone is a very scary prospect, especially in a global recession (I know, I speak from experience).  But is there ever a right time to go solo?  Planning financially for any leap is obviously a better position to jump from, but it doesn’t mean you’re bound by law to wait.  Grants and loans are there to be awarded, family members will be a constant source of support and society will generally help young businesses succeed.

My point is: if Iain could develop a product from his semi-detached on his laptop, with his limited experience – that eventually sells for 25million – surely anything is possible?  Bosses don’t exist to realise individuals’ aspirations, if you think you can do better, or you have an idea you’re sure is the ‘next big thing’, you’re most probably right.

Before I get ticked off from readers, I am generalising.  I’m also not encouraging people to resign tomorrow when they’ve families to support and they’re the main wage earner.  What I am saying is: if you’re serious about going solo, you’ll find a way to do it, even if it involves an element of risk.  Waiting until everything seems peachy (if that ever actually happens) may well prove as detrimental to your ambitions than starting with nothing.

How to make the freelance leap less ‘death-defying’….

Could you present a case to reduce your hours with your employer, starting your business slowly, thereby reducing the risk and still relying on a steady income?  Or could you be a 5 to 9er for a period of time – working evenings and weekends around your job until you’ve a steady stream of clients to serve in the wings?  Are there grants available that could help you financially whilst you’re building your empire?

Britain, and the economy, needs those that take risks more than ever.  What are your ambitions?  When do you hope to realise them?  Are you contemplating a leap?  Let us know!

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Written by Editor on June 6, 2011 and filed in Entrepreneurs, Featured, Frazzled Freelancer, Freelancers, Opinion , , ,

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