10 tips to help you go freelance.

The freedom, the romance, the pay.. the worry, the debt, the loneliness - but freelancing is easier if you have a plan. Our experts help you make one.

1. Be competitive
Tom Baker

"If you go around every studio in London and give in your showreel, you will get work. Everyone who had a full-time job in animation has lost it. They're worse off than freelancers because they haven't got their client base built up. If you're open-minded and show mobile stuff, internet work, TV and so on, you can get in there. It's competitive but you can do it."

2. Don't rush it
Oz Dean
"I've been freelancing for about four years. I didn't panic about getting work straight away - I took four weeks and got on the pavement with my laptop and portfolio. I made a list of people I wanted to work for - I didn't get through the entire list but what I found it did was lay down a good foundation to build on. As time passed I had to do self-promotional pitches less and less, and people started being referred to me. If you do that planning, it sets you up and it's easier to do then than while you're working. So don't rush."

3. Don't force it
James Wignall
"Don't just dive into it - work for a couple of years in the industry first and build up contacts. Introduce yourself to the studios you like and go to design conferences - don't force things, just introduce yourself and talk to people. Don't be overbearing."

4. Contacts are crucial
Oisin Prendiville
"I would say, 'Get on Twitter.' What I mean more generally, however, is that as a freelancer your contacts are critical, not just in terms of potential clients, but with others working in the same industry. You need to both keep yourself in the loop in terms of what's going on, and put yourself out there to be noticed. Tweeting is a great start if you use it to actually engage with people. Start by following people in your area of interest."

5. Be a risk-taker
Martin Fewell
"There's a mindset you need to adopt - you have to be a risk-taker. If you're settled in your job you could stay there for years, even if you hate your boss, because it pays the rent or your mortgage. When I reached the age of 30, I decided I wanted to work for myself."

6. Be professional
Tom Lane
"Get professional in your process of dealing with clients, especially in the initial contact. You don't have to be really formal, but when they ask you for a price, think about it and then put it into a branded document with payment terms. The ones that run a mile from that are the ones that will be trouble anyway, and with the ones that accept it, it will lead to a better relationship. I think of myself as nice to work with, but when it comes down to conditions and getting paid I'm always on the ball. Waiting three months to get paid is not good enough."

7. Make a list
Matt Booth
"It's all about contacts - nobody knows you, who you are or what you do. Go to networking events, upload a portfolio to professional sites. When I started, I made a big list of people I wanted to work with and I emailed every one of them. Most don't reply but it gives you something to start with."

8. Pick your time
Justin Maller
"Don't quit your day job until you know you'll make enough money to survive. There are different types of freelance - if it's your sole income you need repeat business. My becoming a freelancer occurred organically - it just happened over time. The first lot of work I got was editorial work, writing for publications. I also did some gratis design work which gave me the opportunity to pitch to bigger clients."

9. Think finance first
San Ng
"I've been freelancing for about a year. What I would say is definitely have backup money before making the jump - at least three month's worth of wages. I also used a lot of business directories to publicise myself."

10. Expand your networks
David Hunter
Unlike our other interviewees, Hunter is a young designer who is about to take the plunge and go freelance.
"I don't have any idea what I'm going to do. At the moment I'm working on a few bits and pieces: a DVD cover, a couple of things for a band and so on. I'm starting out by expanding my social networks, real and virtual. My last job crushed me so going freelance will give me a chance to get over that."