Let’s start with getting to know what exactly it means to be a freelancer. A freelancer is a person who works for himself and is not a full-time employee for a company or organization. They get paid on a task-basis, hourly or daily, depending on their choice. Freelancers are their own bosses and can work on their own hours. This makes them in charge of their own success. They need to market themselves in order to get projects or gigs.
Though job security has been a vital reason for traditional full-time job seekers, the current time brings about uncertainties to this aspect too. Economic trends have known to trigger layoffs in large numbers in both big and small businesses. The question now haunts all traditional full-time job seekers, if their job really is secure for the long term? More people are now realizing that what they held was a false sense of security and are now moving towards a Freelance Career.
8 Factors To Keep In Mind When You Start Freelancing
Imagine being able to wake up at an hour that you find comfortable rather than groggily pulling yourself out of bed as your alarm clock goes off. Having a relaxing breakfast instead of dashing to work with a dry toast in your hand. Having time for family and friends instead of working long hours during the holiday season. These are all benefits a Freelancer enjoys in their daily life.
However, with such freedom comes a huge responsibility too. Let’s take a look at 8 factors that every individual should keep in mind before taking the leap to a freelance career:
1. Keep some Savings Aside
The early days of freelancing can be hard on your finances. Getting your portfolio ready, establishing contacts and getting your projects started can take some time. It is essential to keep some money aside to get you through when you are starting off.
A decent amount of savings can help you give yourself some time to get through even if you don’t find work in the early stages of your work. This will not only keep you stress-free about the mandatory bills that need to be paid but also relax you enough to concentrate on finding freelance work you enjoy rather than taking whatever comes your way due to desperation. Remember you chose to freelance to be able to do what you love and enjoy yourself at the same time.
2. Make a Business Plan For Yourself
You are now your own administrator. That means there will be no one to overlook or lay down your tasks for you. Tasks could pile up and sometimes it’s easy to oversee an important task that needs to be finished as you get involved with more work. It’s absolutely a must to create a business plan and list down how you want things to work. The longer you wait to prioritize things the harder it will get with time.
Maybe, even a spreadsheet will help. Prioritize tasks by analyzing how much time you need to spend on administrative activities, sales calls, completing tasks, and also having some time for yourself. Also, this sheet can be used to keep in mind how much income you have made and what your daily expenses are.
3. Be Prepared for Delayed Payments
A business or corporate offers the security of a paycheck every month regardless of their debts. As a freelancer, you might come across clients who either don’t pay on time or some don’t pay at all. These bad debts will be for you to deal with.
Freelancing is not an easy step to take but with a strong will, it can be a great future asset. Even if some clients dodge paying you, you always have a chance to find better clients for yourself who will pay you better and have long-term work with you. Keep Faith!
4. Market Yourself Consistently
Apart from completing the tasks that you accept from your clients, as a freelancer, you will also need to spend a considerable amount of time marketing yourself. To simultaneously also keep at developing your skills will assure you stay on top of your game. To be a successful freelancer, you always need to be on the lookout for new clients.
Although you might not make money directly for marketing yourself as a freelancer, it is still going to be critical for your career. Your marketing techniques or channels will completely depend on your goals and choice of career.
5. Working Solo can Be Lonely
When you don’t have colleagues to have a laugh during your breaks or have a chat about what you did during your weekend, it can be a lonely path. Isolation can lead to depression too. It is important to get out of your house as often as possible to do some recreational activity.
Networking with fellow freelancers can also be a great way to not only connect socially but share information on work and trends. A break from a monotonous lifestyle is important for a freelancer to say sane in the long run.
6. Sort Your Taxes
Taxes can be confusing when you freelance. You need to understand the tax system so that you don’t end up paying a lot and not making enough money. If gone wrong you could lose auto 30 percent of your annual income to taxes.
Let’s be realistic. Not everyone is familiar with tax estimations but it is a critical part of your freelance career. This however can be made easy with the assistance of technology. Make use of the best independent contractor app to make sense of your freelance taxes.
7. Budget Your Lifestyle
As your paychecks are not fixed or consistent, freelancers need to make sure they live with the right budget as money earned from freelancing can be unpredictable. You could at times get a lot of income from one client but at the time there is a risk of your expenses being high.
However, living on a tight budget doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a low quality of life. Just limit your unwanted expenses and spend money wisely. This way, if you run into trouble with money, you are always prepared.
8. Be Patient
Being patient is a part of all aspects of our life. Freelancing is no different. Learning time management, networking to get work from clients, getting your finances sorted, and much more can take some time.
Balancing your role between freelance work and your life too can be slow no matter how creative or good you are at your work. If you do happen to earn money from your freelancing job, that’s great! If not, keep your expectations realistic and be persistent with your work.