Everything You Should Ask Yourself Before Going Freelance

Published 23rd Oct 2023 by Chlo Weldon

Are you thinking about taking the plunge into freelancing? Here’s everything you need to ask yourself first…

Why Are You Considering Freelancing?

Aspiring freelancers need to consider juggling a lot of other skills, not just hair. “There’s no management to fall back on if anything goes wrong, and you are responsible for everything. It’s important to consider the reality of it all,” Harriet Stokes tells us. “A successful freelancer is someone who can embrace change, motivate themselves, and is excited by the hustle of creating their own dream lifestyle.” Which is why it’s so important to take a step back to consider if you’re ready.

How Driven Are You… Really?

Freelancing demands a serious amount of self-motivation, discipline, and business acumen. “Freelancers must be self-starters, willing to take the initiative and manage their time effectively,” says Siobhan Jones, Freelance Educator. “You’ll need to handle bookkeeping, marketing, networking, and client acquisition, all while maintaining your creativity and passion. If you possess a strong entrepreneurial drive and can balance the artistic and business sides of the industry, I would say that you’re on the right path.”

How’s Your Health?

It’s essential to consider your health when it comes to freelancing. “If you are to take a day off sick, this will result in a loss of income so you may want to consider additional insurance for this,” says Emma Fowler, independent education business owner. And it’s just as important to consider your mental wellbeing. “I work on my own, and this has significantly affected my mental wellbeing,” Casey Coleman, founder of Chair Salons, admits. “If you’re thinking of going self-employed, I’d encourage you to consider a co-working space.”

Are You About to Make Any Big Financial Moves in Your Life?

Freelancing can bring financial rewards, but there will be some investment needed up-front to get things kicked off. “If you’re working from a home salon, there will be equipment costs to consider including having space converted to safely and comfortably accommodate clients,” says Siobhan. “If you plan on being an independent stylist, you’ll need to consider product costs and the necessary liability insurance. Then there’s factors such as rent for a private studio or chair, and marketing expenses.” But if you’re planning on buying a house in the not-to-distant future, Emma advises: “Have a look at how this can impact you as a lot of lenders prefer three years of books, ideally showing an increase in profit each year.”

Can You Cope with The Uncertainty that Freelancing Might Bring?

As a freelancer this is something you have to accept, while ensuring you’re doing all you can to guarantee your column is busy. “It’s up to you to market your skills and build your client base,” says Jake Nugent, freelance colourist. “When I decided to go freelance, I knew it was down to me to grow my clientele. If you have a great relationship with your clients, they will be your biggest supporters.”

Are You Happy to Leave Your Ego at The Door?

It’s great to have ambition but it’s also crucial to have a solid all-round skillset before you take the plunge. “Clients will come to you for a whole set of services, so you need to spend more time learning additional skills,” says Siobhan. “It’s important to continually invest in extra education to hone your abilities.”

Are You Confident Pitching Yourself?

Self-belief is a cornerstone of freelance success. “You’re not just offering your technical skills, but your personal brand and the experience you provide to clients,” highlights Samantha Cusick, founder of Samantha Cusick London, who has set up new Stã Studios, a co-working space for freelance creatives in the hair and beauty industry. “Confidence in self-presentation directly impacts how potential clients perceive your professionalism and expertise.”

And social media, can benefit you highly. “It helps you stand out in a competitive market,” Samantha adds. “Clients often look to social media to evaluate the quality of a hairdresser’s work before making a booking, so having a strong online presence is key.” But Joe Hemmings, founder of Honest Salon Leadership, shares how figuring out who you are as a person, what your values are, and what you offer is key. “Once you are honest with yourself and know exactly what you have to offer, it will become easier and natural to pitch yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.”

Can You Deal with Admin?

Handling incomings and outgoings is crucial. “Treat your admin as you would a client – give it the time and respect it deserves,” advises Joe. “Knowing your numbers will give you the freedom and control that freelance offers.” And it’s important to charge yourself at your hourly rate. “This is a cost to your business and something that should be built into your client rate,” he adds. “People mistakenly think that taking time to do admin doesn’t make money, but if you price your work correctly to clients, it should include the time it takes to do your admin every week.”

How Are Your Soft Skills?

Hairdressers are often an outlet for people to get things off their chest. “But having a listening ear, and the ability to show understanding and empathy is something you need to keep on top of,” says Tina Hollis, salon coach and salon owner of Take 2 Hair & Beauty. “You need to know when to share an opinion and when to keep quiet.”

Can You Manage Your Own Financial Future?

One perk of self-employment is there is no limit to your earning potential. “However, you have to be aware from the start that you will not have any employment perks such as holiday pay and a pension,” Emma says. “Don’t focus on the hourly rate and how much turnover you have, look deeper at the long-term growth of the business, how you can make it financially viable and also how rewarding it can be.”

HJ's Freelance Week is taking place between 23-27 October. You can find the full schedule here

Chlo Weldon

Chlo Weldon

Published 23rd Oct 2023

Chlo writes regular content for the print magazine and website, as well as scheduling the content for HJ’s social media channels. Chlo has a master’s degree in Magazine Journalism and previously worked as Assistant Editor at craft magazine Tattered Lace. After moving to London from her small hometown to be part of the HJ team, she is loving every minute of being involved in the industry. She loves a good treatment and is on a mission for a longer and thicker mane.

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