From our great group of ladies (and one brave man) at our ‘Freelancer ‘How To’ Workshop’ last Thursday, we found out what a minefield it can be starting out on your own as a freelancer. Throw in the fact that you are probably leaving a previous job with work colleagues and a boss to provide you with feedback, support and companionship – it is quite a scary jump to make. Oh, and don’t forget you are now also juggling childcare and managing the emotional and physical needs of at least one small human being.

Third Door for freelancers

10 years ago, when we had the idea for Third Door, we predicted that more parents would choose to become freelancers / self-employed to help balance their work and family lives. This has certainly happened – there are now 2 million freelancers in the UK (43% increase since 2008) according to IPSE (The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) but where can you go for practical advice and support when you are just starting out?   

Ben Matthews – freelance guru

We asked Ben Matthews, digital marketing consultant, freelance guru, and dad-to-be, to venture south of the river to come and run the workshop and impart his knowledge to the group. In the 3 hour session we covered a great deal – here are a few highlights:

  1. Be sure to list out your values, services and USPs from the beginning as this will keep you motivated and provide you with a strategy for finding and choosing work.
  2. The number one reason for turning freelance is to “take control of your life, including your time” – make sure you don’t lose sight of this.
  3. The work you do needs to be something you really care about – after all, your purpose and vision needs to get you out of your PJs in the morning!
  4. Price yourself competitively without compromising your worth – make sure you have included contingency and focus on the value and savings you will bring.
  5. To set your rate, take your years of experience into account, talk to other freelancers and look at what agencies, job boards and industry bodies are suggesting.
  6. List out the processes for all the services you offer as this can help streamline future projects and communication with clients.
  7. As well as the services you offer, think about their outcomes / impact. This is where the true value of your work lies.
  8. Confidence is key – Ben suggested facebook groups as a good source of information and praised the freelancer community for being supportive and sharing best practices and work opportunities.

Building the freelance community

It was great to get so many creative minds together – especially in the world of freelancing which can be lonely and isolating. With 1 in 7 of all freelancers being working mothers (IPSE – Exploring the UK Freelance Workforce) it makes sense that the group was mostly women. Consultants in HR, social media, communications, project management, innovation, marketing and IT – attendees came from a wide range of backgrounds but with shared challenges and questions they wanted answers to. Huge thanks to Ben for such an informative session – we hope to continue such gatherings at Third Door and become a centre for advice and support for freelancing parents.

What is Third Door?

At Third Door we believe that work and family can grow together. With a flexible coworking space upstairs and an Ofsted registered nursery downstairs, we have created an innovative childcare solution that allows parents to flex in and out on their nursery needs without compromising on the quality of their childcare. For more information follow us on Instagram / Facebook / Twitter .

If you are looking for practical advice and support to pursue your freelance career whilst being there for your children, join our new Facebook group – Freelancing Parents Forum.