Congratulations! You have decided to become a “free agent" - also known as an independent professional and a freelancer. Depending upon how you plan to handle your freelance lifestyle, you will need to establish how, where, when and with whom you will work.
Make a plan and set some long and short-term goals. Determine what you want to do, who you want for clients, what contacts have you already established, what do you need to learn, and what are the initial steps you need to take to get set up? I suggest that you read the following emerging free agent credo that I found in Daniel Pink’s book Free Agent Nation: How America’s New Independent Workers Are Transforming the Way We Live: “The act of work itself should produce its own intrinsic rewards. You might as well enjoy what you do. Produce quality work that’s a genuine reflection of who you are. Use your freedom to accept responsibility for your work. Decide for yourself what constitutes success. And if you’re not having fun - at least some of the time - you’re doing something wrong. "
Decide where you will do the bulk of your work, and, if at home, set up an attractive, comfortable, and usable space. There are as many choices of the direction to take as there are free agents. Some work part-time at home and part-time at their client’s office. Some work at the library, some in the park, or at a nearby coffeehouse. You may have an extra room or a space in the dining room, bedroom, or den. The important consideration here is to make your workspace as fresh and inviting as possible, so that you will look forward to being there. Add meaningful photos, books, plants, paintings, crafts, and anything else that delights you.
Purchase the necessary tools of your trade and set them up in an organized fashion. These will include a computer, supplies, phone with an answering service, fax, files, a back-saver chair, reference library, and any other time and space-saving devices you will need. Even though the initial purchasing and setting up will take time, the more efficiently you organize everything, the more smoothly your life and business will function.
I suggest those colorful plastic cases that come with handles and divider pockets. I have one for each large project and fill them with colored and labeled file folders that I slip in and out easily when needed. It makes filing easy and fun besides. Then, when I am meeting with the client, I can just carry the whole case with me, so that I have everything I need.
Another option is setting up a workspace with others. It is easy as a free agent to experience loneliness. One solution is to set up an office with other freelancers or small business people. Even though you still work on your own, you can share equipment, a receptionist, a conference room, and a small kitchen area. There are establishments and organizations that offer these facilities, but you may find renting a small space along with some others may be more cost effective.
Remember the sooner you get the initial setting up completed, the sooner you will get started on the important stuff - your new and exciting career!
Chris King is a free agent, professional speaker, storyteller, writer, website creator / designer, and fitness instructor. You will find her freelance living website at http://www.freelanceliving.com and her business website at http://www.creativekeys.biz