The first part of our Creative Freelance Bootcamp was on Friday! This was a great introduction to freelancing, given by Accelerator’s Creative Enterprise manager, Emma Thatcher.
We had a very diverse group of attendees, including translators, PR freelancers, designers and aspiring writers. Participants started the day by completing some exercises to aid in thinking about things from their customers’ point of view. Doing this helps when defining what to offer, making it easier for clients to find you, and deciding how to make yourself stand out.
It’s also important for freelancers to take on a lot of different roles – or wear many ‘hats’. It’s not enough just to offer a service or product. You need to be able to motivate yourself, spot trends, plan, promote your work, take care of finances and make important decisions. We looked at some of these in more detail.
In the afternoon we had a talk and Q&A session with illustrator Toby Leigh, who showed some examples of work and spoke about his experience of starting out as a freelancer. Toby provided lots of great tips, stressing the importance of meeting freelancers outside your area of work, going to events, and spending time on personal projects.

Toby Leigh

Illustration by Toby Leigh, used in FT mag

Keep making things!
Toby also gave advice on keeping a portfolio. It’s important to work on projects for yourself – not just clients – in order to stay inspired and motivated. A portfolio should show work you are proud of.
Join an association
There are many societies and associations for freelancers to join, depending on the type of work you do. These usually offer members free advice, networking opportunities and much more. Research your particular industry to find out which groups are best for you.
Thanks to everyone who attended! Day 2 of the bootcamp will be this Friday. We’ll learn more about how to find work, budgeting, tax advice and planning.
Want to get involved?
We have other useful workshops and events coming soon to Accelerator. To see more of what’s on offer, visit the Events page, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or join our mailing list.
Read about Day 2 of our bootcamp here.