Jeremy Bullmore: Going freelance

I've gone freelance but now I'm feeling the pressure.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 29 Jul 2011

I had a job for five years that I absolutely hated and which wasn't making use of my degree (in languages) at all. Three months ago, I decided to quit and go back to my roots, so have gone freelance as a translator. The thing is, once the initial feelings of euphoria and celebration of my newfound independence have worn off, I'm beginning to panic. I have no idea about how to go about this. I'm not even sure I have the necessary contacts. Help!

A: This will rightly infuriate you but I have to say it: you should, of course, have done a bit of homework before plunging ill prepared into the freelance market. Luckily, however, the extraordinary internet is there to help you. Give it time and patience and persistence and it should yield just about all you need to survive and prosper.

You must do two things - at once and simultaneously. Make sure you know how to run your own business; and join up with others who are in the same line of trade. LinkedIn is probably a good place to start - but if you keep probing and experimenting and following up leads you'll sooner or later build up a network of contacts and find out how and where to advertise your services.

But don't neglect the mundane either. If you've never worked for yourself before, you'll need to bone up fast on tax and grants and insurance and invoicing and many other deeply boring essentials.

- Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. His book Another Bad Day at the Office? is published by Penguin at £6.99. Address your problem to Jeremy Bullmore at: editorial@mtmagazine.co.uk. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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