Freelancing is a great way to earn a decent income for those willing to work hard and smart. Once you become successful, you are working on your own terms and can call the shots.
Although being your own boss and deciding on your own schedule has its advantages, it also has its downsides. It’s up to you to take a leap of faith and see where the journey leads you.
Here are some things that will help you while you’re in transit:
1. Have a business plan
Many freelancers forget that they are businesses in and of themselves. Planning for taxation, saving for retirement funds, health insurance—these things aren’t negotiable; you still need to provide them.
The truth is that you can’t operate in a bubble. Freelancing is not immune to the realities of running a business, so make sure you plan ahead and invest in professional indemnity insurance to keep your new business safe. Therefore, you’ll need to implement a sound business strategy if you want your freelancing career to flourish.
2. Determine your rates
The rate you choose to charge clients is one of the more tricky decisions when it comes to freelancing. Pricing your work can be incredibly difficult and often times leads to a lot of stress. There are many factors you should consider when determining your rates.
The amount you charge will be tied to how much income you need to support yourself. If it’s too low, you may never bring in enough money to pay the bills. And if it’s too high, clients may not be able to afford you, or they will feel like they can’t negotiate your rates.
When starting out, it makes the most sense to charge hourly rates. As you gain experience (and possibly a bigger portfolio), you can move to project or feature-based pricing. There are no hard and fast rules on how much you should charge.
3. Successful freelancing takes time
You need to know that freelancing takes time. I’m not just talking about the prep work, although that is a lot of it; you also have to spend a lot of time working toward becoming successful at your craft.
For instance, let’s take the case of freelance writers. Freelance writers spend years practising their craft before they can become professional and make a good income from it.
4. Network, network, network
Have you ever noticed how much time people spend networking? They are always on LinkedIn, Twitter and attending events where they could be meeting new people.
While this can take up a lot of your time, it can be very effective for building up your freelance client base. A small amount of networking over the course of a year could lead to enough freelance jobs to make a good living.
5. Develop the discipline to be successful as a freelancer
As a freelancer, being able to develop the discipline to power through tough tasks becomes second nature rather quickly.
Focus is essential. When you are working for yourself, it’s easy to lose your focus. People can distract you all day long if you let them, whether that’s the phone ringing with someone who wants to talk to you, or Facebook notifications, etc.
6. Money management is key
Whether you are a seasoned freelancer or have just decided to give it a try, it’s important to make sure your money is being managed properly.
Once you’ve created your budget with all of your monthly expenses and living expenses, make sure that you know where exactly your money is going. While it is exciting to start earning some cash with your new business, it’s necessary that you don’t fall into the trap of spending all of it.
Money management is the toughest part of freelancing, but it also takes time to get right. Be sure you’re getting projects that will pay the bills, and not just eat away a huge chunk of your time with pennies.