how do I get started as a freelancer?



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Registration : 14 June 2007
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Im new to freelancing and wondered if I could have some friendly advise.

About a year ago I left my fulltime-IT-rat-race-world which I had been in for about 6 years and decided to embark in a new direction and one which is much more creative and rewarding. I have always been into design and the arts and so it seemed the right thing to combine my nerdy skills with my creative ones and freelance as a web designer.
I saw a market packed with designers and so I chose to specialise in Flash it allows me to be creative whilst challenging me.

So the first thing I did was to offer my services for free and quickly produced a portfolio of flash sites. I think here I made my first mistake; building sites for musicians and artists, neither of which ever have any money. In hinghsight I should have targeted restraunts and clubs maybe. Since christmas I have stopped doing freebies and have started looking for paid commissions. The situation has become more urgent because my girlfriend who had been supporting me all this time has just finished her contract too so we both find ourselves without work with a morgage to pay.

What I have since found is that if I apply for commissions/contracts with established companies, they always love my work, but due to my lack of experience, I am always turned away. If I hunt the internet, I seem to find myself competing with people in the US or India or even teenagers (living with their parents) and the strong pound, I cant compete. Generally people in the US are asking in Dollars what I would like in to be paid Pounds!

I have posted adverts in gumtree and I usually get 1 enquiry a week, but I rarely get beyond this. They send me an enquiry, I reply, I hear nothing. I dont know if its me doing something wrong or if this is just the norm.

Have I just replaced one rat-race for another? I am in my element designing and building websites, but no longer have time for it traulling through job ads. Its begining to get me down. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can get my feet of the ground?

Thanks in advance,


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