Lessons I've Learnt From Freelancing (So Far!)

It’s been a whole year since I’ve been freelancing (party for one, anyone?) and that feels like such an achievement to say. Yup, it’s been a whole year since I threw myself in at the deep end and waved goodbye to every sense of financial security. But I have done some incredible things, meet some incredible people and learnt a whole lot. If you’re wanting to make the plunge and are thinking about taking your side-hustle full-time, here is what I’ve learnt and I stress the ‘so far’ part.

Make Friends

It can be a lonely place! I’m so lucky to have met some amazing photographers and other creative freelancers, who inspire and motivate me. I have a few WhatsApp groups and we chat pretty much everyday. It’s so refreshing connecting with like-minded people, who know exactly how you feel and can give you that advice when you need it. Making friends with people who work in your field, it’s incredibly hard, it’s hard not to see them as competition or get jealous - maybe about their work or about the clients they’re working with. It’s easy to forget but there is room for everyone, there is space for everyone’s styles and talents. Best yet, you can learn so much from your fellow freelance colleagues so go make some friends! My favourite quote is: ‘No one is you and that is your power’.

Save your taxes from Day 1

Lol, guess who didn’t do that? Moi. Now I’m not an expert in the tax department, I delegate that part to my lovely boyfriend, who is an accountant (winning!). He makes the spreadsheets and does everything else (I don’t know exactly cos tbh I never listen). All I do is fill in said spreadsheets in and keep my receipts. He told me to save for my taxes from my first day and now as I’m about to do my first tax return, I realise that it’s pretty sound advice and pretty damn important. So don’t do what I did!


There’s no real delegation (unless you’re lucky enough to hire someone else to help you out! Well done you!) but for a lot of us, well me, it’s all about being a one-man band. I wish I could get someone else to press the button sometimes, wouldn't that be nice? But with taking photos, it’s also the planning for upcoming shoots, story-boarding, researching, writing, slinging something on Instagram, updating my portfolio etc etc. It can be a lot and that’s not even half of it. Everything relies on you which can be such a strain sometimes. Not to mention trying to make time to socialise, occasionally speak to your other half and perhaps go to the gym. But it also has its positives! My favourite one being; no one telling you what to do. It’s amazing having a job that I have so much control over! I take on the jobs I want, work when I want (sometimes) and work where I want (as long as there’s wifi).


And you thought working from home in your PJs was easy? It is a 24-hour job, there’s no end of day or going out to the pub for drinks with your colleagues. The time that your laptop lid usually shuts is about 10pm. If you’re lucky. Or your phone, that is now a limb, you finally put down just as your about to go to sleep. It’s a constant hussle. You’re constantly looking for a new client, a new job. You’re constantly trying to put yourself out there to get those bookings or make those sales. Ah the joy of not having a 9-5 with a contracted employer. But it can also be such a rush! It can lead to such amazing things or if things don’t go to plan, you learn for next time - win win!

Remember to give yourself a pat on the back

Celebrate that amazing feedback or the new exciting client you just bagged! With all the hustlin’ you can forget to take a step back and see what you’ve achieved. Sometimes you can earn your whole month’s rent in one job and others you can just about get that cute dress from Topshop (priorities, priorities). But you’ve turned up, you’ve done it. The picture for this blog post, for example, is a shot of all the magazines my work has been printed in over the past year. Putting it all into perspective like this makes me kinda proud about what I’ve done. So take a step back and reflect, you’ve done amazing!

Freelancing has been the most rewarding journey I’ve been on. The best part? I’m not pouring my life and soul into anyone else’s company/business but my own. I love what I do, every day is different and that’s what keeps it so exciting. I’ve been put out of my comfort zone more than I can count which I feel has made me such a better person and even dare I say - business woman? Ah! Imposter syndrome incoming…

What lessons have you learnt from freelancing? 📸


PhotographyMollie Manning