A practical path to became IT Freelancer

I've been asked by many of people around (Czech Republic, EU) what is the key factor at the beginning of freelance part of my career, e.g. how I call it “a new life-changing experience”. So, here are my own tips to starting up your Freelancer career in my lovely IT environment.

Plan it at least 3 months to build sufficient startup budget
Setup your working environment and home-office
Let the World around you to know “I'm here”
Get to know latest technologies
Became a positive thinker

And don't worry be happy and let it be — these are the main points.

Because this is about you and your life changing experience (well, this was my case after more then 20 years as corporate working stuff).

What is this all about

This is really nothing new. You did it in past many times — just follow the path that was planned in advance. Good plans = good results.

Plan it at least 3 months — to build startup budget

The plan means that the decision is done. Simple as that. Not dream or “future wishes” but a real decision. Don't be shy to step to Unknown. This is already a part of learning process.

Income

Monthly income (meaning regular and periodic) kills the soul.

You need to prepare life budget for the period of 2–3 months without periodic income. This is the worst part of Freelancer career startup. The best idea is to open a special account and fill it with 3 months budget. Then setup a monthly payment and let it send “wage” to your main income account. This is a trick, of course, but you can even make it more fun — do it with your spouse account so let your spouse to secure you. The huge benefit of this trick is the fact that you'll not miss the regular income that you're used to it. Instead of debit you'll see credit what will release your fear of “unemployed”. After that period I'm sure that 1st contract will be signed and you'll became Freelancer.

Legal

You need a legal approver to start your “new company” — ask your local offices about steps need as this vary. Also, try to be as digital as possible. This will save you a lots of time with Ministry of Finances in the future. Prepare for digital signature, certificates, digital post box, etc.

Be digital in a digital era as this is also your advertising tool

Be carful when signing NDA or liabilities. This’s now about you and your belongings that are in game; hence think twice before signing anything and don’t see as wasted time consulting legal stuff with an experienced legal professional.

References

You need to close your existing contract with a good name. IT professionals knows each other so a good reference is a key to get. Ask for references to your customers and look around at your existing suppliers and friends. You really need to understand what others thinks about you and this is a great time for it. And, lastly, get your family on board.

Friends and family will make a huge impact to your career.

Certificates, educations, diplomas

You'll be asked to proof your experience so be prepared. Make a digital copy, be sure about expirations, understand numbers and sources of the authorities and in the same time think about what you did in past, what technology was used, to whom you provided the services and what was the key finding behind implementations.

You can enhance your career portals (LinkedIn) with these too,

Setup your working environment and home-office

Home office needs to be your friend from the beginning. In IT World it means a great internet connectivity, well contracted mobile phone and internet access, quite place, 2 monitors, scanner with printer, parking, meeting place (or a virtual room prepared for meetings) and setting-up of IM tools.

I already described this topic in the following article:

Let the World around you to know “I’m here”

This is pretty important. No even this will help you to proceed with the plan but also it'll open a door for proposals. You need to build CV and web presentation as sales channel to your new organisation. Yes, pretty early you'll do your own services sales. There are many many ways to do it but the prefered:

  • LinkedIN — this site is an entry point for head hunters and work agencies
  • Local “job” portals — ask around, preferably a friend around you who is contracting for a while”
  • Web presentation that will setup your “virtual company”. Wordpress can make nice pages or if you like coding, use Ruby and Jekyll framework as I did for my recent coaching offering (in CZ only):

Meetup and social platforms

It's vital to get to know others and to became known. Please note, that especially if you spent ages as corporate stuff — there will be uncertainty linked with your person in the World of Freelancers. You need to change it, twist it around and became well known professional. I really suggest to join group of similar-interest people and socialise as much as possible.

Get to know latest technologies

In IT, Everyday is a new day. This is why I get linked to IT for many years; I lie changes. There are many sources to get “wrap-up” and help you speedup the process — yes process as this involves learning: I do really like these:

and many others. Feel free to build your own list of “Education sources”. Also, sharing such list can open a door and make friends.

Became a positive thinker

The main benefit as Freelancer (and I'm sure that you can confirm by your own experience) is attitude of Freelancers — they're positively vibrating elements. Why? Because they know own value and they're free of corporate politics. They believe in their own skills and they're opened to new challenges.

Here are my own practical advises for improving positivity:

  • Be with your family and try to have regular lunch with them.
  • Sleep well. 8 hrs is optimal but also timing — go to bed early and wakeup early.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Just try it for a while and you'll see.
  • Get out of artificial food and sweets. Eat what has been done by nature not by machine.
  • Do not eat during night. The best interim period (by scientific findings) is not to eat 13 hrs time frame. Pretty easy once you get used to it, your sleep and energy level will improve and also weight will decrease/increase to optimal.
  • Enjoy nature, walking in the forests, listening the nature sounds.
  • Move by foot/bike/public instead of car.
  • Make regular sport activities, not “weekend warrior”. Learn how to swim, run or bike. Join a team of players if you wish.
  • Listen music by phones and calm down including meditation.
  • Play music, learn to play a musical instrument.
  • Be nice to yourself and others, smile a lot, walk straight and do not bend yourself.
And believe in yourself — this is the most important.

Summary

Dear friend, I wanted to help you to start as freelancer as easy as possible. That's why I wrote such articles. Sharing knowledge is something really valuable and if you spent your time reading to this point, I'm already happy. Feel free to ask further questions and if you like my article give me some claps.