This 100% FREE Freelancing course was written by successful freelancer and mentor Suzie Larcombe who left her native Scotland and now lives her dream life in the south of France:-
Why would anyone give up a job where they earn more than they ever imagined possible, have a non-contributory final salary pension, a swanky company car with all fuel paid, an expenses account and private health care?
Back to Suzie’s question; Why would anyone give up a 6 figure income + perks and become a freelancer?
For me it had something to do with giving birth to twins at age 36!
How to Be A Successful Freelancer
Surely there has to be more to life?
When my kids were little, my job required me to be in the car at 6.45am to drop them off at nursery when it opened at 7. At the other end of the day, I had to leave the office “early” (ie. there were still a few cars in the car park) to pick my kids up again at 7pm.
At the start of every day, without exception I wished with all my might that my arrival would coincide with the arrival of one of the staff who would offer to take the kids in, saving me 5 or 6 really important minutes (but depriving me of what I now realise was an important few minutes with my kids). At the end of the day, I just sat in the nose-to-tail traffic jam white-knuckled hoping that my kids wouldn’t be chained to the railings because their mother couldn’t get there on time to pick them up.
Then when I got back home, it was a case of forcing some healthy, home made (obviously) food into their tired little faces, bathing them and getting them off to bed so I could prepare their stuff for the following day. Once all that was done I flopped into bed myself. This was my routine 4 days a week. On the 5th day, I tried to make up for the things I felt I was failing at as a mother the other four days. Surely there had to be more to life?
Time to live the dream
Then I turned 40. It’s funny, I’m now about to turn 50 and I truly prefer round numbers to odd numbers, so 40 didn’t bother me and I’m (so far) not phased about the notion of being 50; but watch this space. That said, something definitely changed when I turned 40 that filled me with a desire to change my way of life completely. And change it I did.
I resigned, persuaded my husband (now ex-husband) to pack in his job, to sell up and move lock, stock and four smoking barrels to France. Not so out of the box I hear you say. Yes, plenty of people move to France, I know, but generally speaking, they read books about it, they participate in forums about it and make some plans. Me no! A boot full of stuff, what seemed like an overflowing bank account (which was great at the time because interest rates were almost in double figures), and off we went.
That’s where it could all have gone horribly wrong as it does for so many expats. Lack of planning and a reasonably sized pot of capital can be financial and personal suicide for loads of people who move abroad. I know, because I’ve met them. But, thanks to the financial apprenticeship I served with my late Dad and my tenacity (often compared to that of a Jack Russell), financial suicide simply wasn’t and isn’t an option.
As it happens, life in France didn’t work for my husband and he chose to move back to the UK to live the life he preferred. I now live alone with my kids in my little corner of heaven in South West France. And believe me, there isn’t a day goes by when I don’t thank my luck stars for the life I have. I truly am living the dream. I’m a self-employed freelancer and small business coach, with clients all over the world; my kids go to a great school and I have the most fantastic and supportive group of (predominantly French) friends. I earn a whole lot less cash than I did before, but does that bother me? Not one little bit.
Securing my financial future while living the dream
That said, living the dream still needs income though, especially with twins, which is why a couple of years after moving here I bit the bullet and set up my own business as a freelance copywriter and small business coach. At the outset, I enrolled with a couple of freelance sites (People Per Hour and Elance), which enabled me to promote myself to a much wider audience than I could have reached out to on my own. At first it didn’t lead to an awful lot of work, because I wasn’t getting my pitch, my price or my packaging absolutely right, but by golly that dream was worth fighting for, so fight I did.
Establishing my brand
Over the past 8 years I have worked my socks off to establish exactly what I want to sell, to whom and to get my price and most importantly my service spot on and Marc has asked me to share this experience with you. My set up costs were a website, a very extravagant Macbook Pro (through choice not necessity) and a Nespresso machine, which in the great scheme of things is nothing. My website brands my business, together with my LinkedIn profile and a drop-dead portfolio.
My website (www.suzielarcombe.com), which to this day isn’t fully stocked with copy (because I’m so busy doing my clients’ copy) brings me a good amount of business, but was initially intended just to reinforce my brand and to reassure people they’re dealing with a pro who knows what she’s on about. I’m pleased to say that my LinkedIn profile (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/suzie-larcombe/36/71a/350) was one of the top 1% of LinkedIn profiles viewed in 2012 and brings me at least one good quality client a month. My portfolio, which currently needs updating, is fine and updating it is on my list ;-)! All of these things together enable me to connect and work with some seriously hard-hitting business folk from all four corners of the world.
Now, I don’t actively promote myself (sorry again Marc) and work 4 days a week through choice, enabling me to spend the other days doing stuff I really enjoy, like spending time with my kids, skiing, biking and running. I don’t live a millionaire lifestyle by any stretch of the imagination (in part because that’s not what I want), but I live the life I want, thanks to freelancing and you can do the same.
How freelancing can help you secure your financial future
Over the next couple of articles, I’m going to share with you the whole process of becoming a successful freelancer. I’m going to take you through each step, one-by-one. Many of you will already have the some of the knowledge you need to make freelancing work for you, so you’ll want to skip through the more basic stuff and concentrate on the meatier stuff, but either way, at the end of these 2-3 weeks, you’ll have a clear vision of what you need to do to establish yourself as a freelancer. In the meantime, if you do nothing else today, get yourself familiar with People Per Hour and Elance. By looking through these sites you’ll get ideas about how you could package your skills as a freelancer, giving you a great opportunity to secure your financial future with no risk and at virtually no cost.
Freelancing: the risk free route to financial freedom.