This month Computer Arts had 89 tips to solo success. Here my favorites:
1. Be optimistic
It's very easy to be put off by detractors or people whose work you think is better than yours.
Don't let that dissuade you. If you're sure you have the ability
and you've weighed up the pros and cons, just do it!
2. Plan your career
Don't just 'go freelance'. Ask yourself why you want to be self-employed.
Set yourself some goals. Think about where you'd like to be in a year,
in two or five years, and work towards it.
It will help to prevent you from drifting into dead ends.
3. Dear to be different
There are plenty of self-employed designers around, so why should a client choose you?
You should have skills and a creative vision unique to you.
4. Free your mind
The more you know, the better off you'll be. Learn a little about disciplines other than yours:
if you're designer, learn code, or find out about Flash if you're usually an illustrator.
It will help you to collaborate better, and will free up your imagination.
5. Let friends help
Hopefully in your working life you've managed to cultivate some professional friends.
They can help you find work; sometimes they even become clients or contractors.
At other times, you can offer to collaborate on projects, using complementary skills.
1. Think long game
Have patience with self-promotion. You might not get your return next week,
but you'll be investing time in forging relationships.
A student you meet today might be a client in five years'time.
2. Have a website
Domain names are cheap, while there are plenty of good hosting solutions available in the UK.
You can learn HTML/CSS yourself, or do a quid pro quo skills exchange
with a friend who already had the skills. Otherwise, consider WordPress.
3. Go forth with stationery
Great business cards are a must; they're how people remember you,
and as a creative professional there's no excuses for a shabby one.
But consider postcard's, even compliments slips, for times when snail mail trumps email.
There are plenty of online services for these.
There's always a launch for something on the horizon. Find out what's going on,
grab some cards and head over. And, when you get there,
don't be bashful about talking to people. They could become friends, clients or even both.
5. Become an instructor
There's more to self-promotion than online social media.
Get in touch with your old course leader, a local college or an adult education centre
and offer them some of your time. It raises your profile,
gives you something to blog about and is 'the right thing' to do.
6. Justify portfolio entries and bye-bye the weakest link
Ask yourself whether new portfolio additions say something different to your earlier pieces;
don't just fill your portfolio with everything. Your portfolio is only as good as its weakest item,
so don't include any filler. In the client's mind, not only are you capable of producing a howler,
but you're also showcasing it.
Work flow / Time management
1. You're your own boss
If one of you employees tooled around all day watching TV, phoning friends
and updating Facebook, you'd sack them. Well, that's you now.
Be strict, and tell people you're working, not just 'at home'.
2. Set a schedule
Make sure you know how you're going to approach each day and how it relates to
what you have to do, particularly if you've got multiple projects on the go.
Create a spreadsheet to keep track of productivity.
3. Don't just sit there
You need to keep moving around, not just because exercise is good for you,
but seeing flowers, snow outside and even rain
will change your creative perspective and keep you inspired.
4. Buy a beast
If you are home alone a lot, having a pet that needs feeding and/or walking
can force you to structure your day. They also keep you company
without forcing you into never-ending conversation.
5. Respond to clients quickly
Return your emails and phone calls as quickly as possible.
It keeps you from being distracted when you're doing your creative work,
or interrupted by clients chasing you.