[Edit: I was interviewed by The Freelance Web about these tips – hear me talk about this stuff over here]
So we’re just signing off our accounts for the second year of Thirty8 Digital (crazy business: two years? Where the hell did that go?). Things have been brilliant so far ~clutches hard at large piece of wood~ and I wouldn’t now do anything apart from work for myself.
I just got an email from my friend and ex-colleague Frankie Roberto, telling me he’s going freelance and asking for some tips. I have much to say about this stuff, and stopped myself writing him a thesis, but thought it might be interesting to throw the things I said into a quick blog post.
So here it is, the things I’ve taken away from the first two years of business:
> Get an accountant, it’s worth every single penny
> Don’t bother with stuff like FreeAgent, at least until things get much more complicated. Use Google Docs instead and save yourself the monthly fee.
> Find a blinding host if you’re going to be doing that stuff (ours is Vidahost, who are bloody brilliant: disclaimer, here’s an affiliate link… http://my.vidahost.com/aff.php?aff=1450).
> Try to avoid really low budget stuff, even though you’ll probably have to do that shit when you first get started just to get rolling – but in my experience the people who have £500 to spend on a website almost always want a £5000 website, whereas those who have £5000 to spend probably want a £5000 one…
> Genuinely under-promise and over-deliver. It’ll hurt a bit now, but later on people will come back because of it.
> Run your entire business life out of Google Docs. There really isn’t a viable alternative, which might hurt from a privacy perspective but you’re going to have to live with that right now.
> It’s hackneyed, but *everything* takes twice as long as you think. Make sure your estimates reflect this.
> Back every bastard thing up in at least three different places. This includes files, images, code, websites, everything. You probably knew that already, but worth making sure 🙂
> Introduce lots of people to lots of other people. I’m pretty sure there’s a karma thing going on here somewhere..
> Fix a single rate for everything you do, and then apply a discount if you want to do things cheaper for, say, a specific sector or client. It’ll make them feel good that you’re cutting prices for them and it won’t force you to do something over-complicated with your pricing.
That’s mine. What are yours?