Meet Lucy, a British woman who become sick of the rat race in London so quit and moved to a smaller city where she started freelancing and hasn’t looked back! Check out her interview below…
1. Please introduce yourself.
Hi, I’m Lucy. I’m a freelance editor and designer from the UK and currently live in Cheltenham on the edge of the Cotswolds with my husband and two cats.
2. When did you start working from home? What inspired the change?
I’ve been working from home for 3.5 years now after spending 10 years working in London in publishing. I’d always loved to travel and had already taken time out for a 16-month trip around Southeast Asia and Australia, and then a two-month sabbatical in New Zealand. I’d been in my job at a university for about four years and was getting bored and the travel bug was biting again. I was also getting fed up with London – most of my friends had settled down and moved out and the cost of living meant there was no way of me ever being able to buy a place there.
So I decided to give up my job and relocate to Cheltenham, a smaller city near where I’d grown up that I’d always loved and where the lower cost of living meant I could try working for myself. My plan was to give it six months and if it wasn’t working out then I would look at getting another “proper” job, and that was almost four years ago.
3. What different ways have you tried to earn an income working from home? What do you do now to earn money?
I’ve done all sorts of different freelance jobs – mostly related to my previous work like editing, proofreading, laying out brochures and leaflets or designing logos. Though I’ve done a few random ones too, like painting a mural of life-sized people on the wall of a doctor’s surgery. When you start out you don’t want to turn down any work so you’ll try anything! More recently I’ve also moved into designing websites, working with my husband who is a software developer.
I also run a travel blog called On the Luce. I started it about the time I quit my job and for the first few years it was just a hobby, but it’s now grown enough that I’ve been able to work with different travel companies and tourist boards so it subsidises my travel, and earns me a little bit of money.
4. How long did it take you to earn enough money to quit your day job?
I’d only done a little bit of freelance work on the side before leaving my job but I did save up a decent amount of money over the last couple of years that could tide me over for a few months. I was also really lucky that my previous company reorganised my job when I left and wanted to outsource some of the design work I’d done so I was able to keep that on so knew I had a guaranteed basic income for the first year.
5. How much do you earn in an average month now?
I earn about half as much as I did in my previous job in London but my living costs are way lower and I have so much more flexibility. Our web business is growing too so I’m hoping that in the next couple of years I’ll be earning almost much as I did before.
6. What tips would you give yourself if you could go back in time to when you first started working at home?
I’d tell myself to get out there and start networking earlier. There are a lot of good freelancing and small business events in my area and I’ve met some great people in the last few months. But I spent too long being put off by the idea of “networking”, whereas I should’ve just thought about it as getting to know new people who I might be able to work with sometime.
7. What has been the secret to your success?
Being adaptable – I don’t mind working over evenings and weekends if I need to to get the work done on time for the client. I also say yes as much as I can, I’ve done a quick proofread of a TV company brochure on the rooftop of a riad in Marrakech and the client wouldn’t have known I wasn’t in my office.
8. What mistakes have you made along the way?
I’m guilty of letting myself coast along a bit – I had one big client for a few years that provided about half of my annual income so I didn’t need to push myself to keep getting new clients as enough others came to me. But when the big client reorganised I lost a lot of the work and had to look for new work a lot more urgently than I would have otherwise.
9. What is the best part about working from home?
The best part is definitely the flexibility. I’m not limited by working hours or holiday allowances. It means I can take up travel opportunities that come from my blog without worrying about not having enough holiday time, or even just spend the afternoon with friends or family. Plus I get to work with a cat sitting on my lap half of the time.
10. What is the worst part about working from home?
The worst part is not having a clear distinction between work and home – it’s too easy to just keep on working into the evenings and can be hard to switch off and properly relax.
11. What advice do you have for anyone starting out?
I think you need the right mindset to be a successful freelancer. My husband worries about money constantly so is much better suited to having a permanent job. I’d already given up a couple of jobs to travel and always expected something that work would crop up when it needed to, and so far it has. You also need to be good at spending time on your own, it can be tough if you’re used to bouncing ideas off people and having a social side to your work.