More and more of us taking the leap from full-time, secure employment, and living the freelancer lifestyle. Because of the gig economy, people leaning towards freelance sing far more. Ultimately, it’s about running our own business and we are the commodity. This means that there’s a lot of risk, but there can be potential rewards.
So when we think that we’re ready to take the plunge, what do we need to know about freelancing. Is it straightforward? Or could we benefit from a lot of preparation?
Learning to Promote Yourself
When you are diving deep into freelancing, at the outset, the amount of freedom you think you have is fantastic. You’re able to get up when you want, and work until you think you’re done. But a lot of people who realize that if they don’t work, they don’t get paid know the importance of promoting themselves. Ultimately, once you get one job, you’ve got to have another one afterward. And while there are many variations of freelancer, from those people who work as an independent contractor, or have a side hustle, they still need to know the importance of promoting themselves all of the time. This can be mentally exhausting. Part of it is to do with the right portfolio. Your work should speak for itself. This means that you need to set up a website, social media pages, and adequate promotional materials. And this can be a lot to deal with so, if you are working as a photographer, it may be difficult to try and find the best photography website builder for your money. As you start to realize the importance of your promotional materials, you will understand and that the promotional machine needs to be 24/7. Adopting a business mindset can help. Perhaps you can learn the best automation tools so your social media posts are regular? Or you carve out the right niche so you can find work on a regular basis. Promoting is incredibly exhausting, and even when you’re doing a job for a client, there’s always that niggling thought at the back of your mind about what will happen after the job is done. This means that you’ve got to work smarter at promoting yourself.
Understanding Your Financial Situation
Finances are one of the most annoying aspects of being a freelancer. So many people, going into freelancing means setting up a home-based business, so their outgoings are minimized. While you may have jumped into a freelance career because of frustration with your job, you still got to have a finite understanding of your finances, your lifestyle, and your outgoings. It’s very likely that a lot of things will change. If you have a regular client, it feels like a regular job, but with that freelance angle. But when you find one job, you’ve completed it, and you are on to the next, it’s important to get into a shrewd mindset. You have to remember that when you’re not working you don’t get paid. This is all about setting up a savings account to squirrel away some finances in case there are issues, especially if you don’t get paid for the job you’ve done (more on this later), but if you understand your financial situation, and truly get a handle on your outgoings everything will be a lot easier. The biggest problem many people have when they stop a job is that they don’t have any money to fall back on. It’s a long-term mindset.
Finding Regular Freelance Work
You’ve got everything set up, what happens next? Finding regular freelance work is a very worrying part of the lifestyle. Part of it is to do with looking at where the money is coming from in six months’ time, a year’s time, and making sure that you are able to keep your income stable. Finding regular freelance work is partly to do with those online marketplaces, like Upwork or Guru, which can help you to approach potential clients. With websites like LinkedIn, it’s a direct line to many business owners. But you have to give consideration to the competition. When you submit an idea to a client that you’d like to work with, it’s better for you to understand their goals, as well as their challenges. If you feel you got something that can boost their business, ask them if they are free for a phone call at some point. You can ask them if they would like to see some of your ideas, rather than submitting all of your work for them to steal. But if they allow you some time, think about the approach to the project, the timeline, the budget, as well as selling yourself. And for all this work, it can be heartbreaking when they don’t take it on, but you’ve got what an idea that you can tweak and send somewhere else. But it’s about keeping so many irons in the fire. If one doesn’t spark, you got another avenue to go down.
Setting Your Freelance Rates
There are so many different ways for you to set your rates. Should you charge per project, or by the hour? You may also think if it’s worth cutting prices so you can get more work. There’s a lot of considerations. And when you start to think about pricing your services, you’ve got to not sell yourself short. One of the biggest mistakes that many freelancers make is that they set their rates based on the salary they would make as a full-time employee. Because this doesn’t take into account things like taxes, health insurance, and expenses to help get the project up and running car now you’ve got to project the figure over the norm. This is especially true when you’ve got your own personal expenses, like rent, utilities, and food. It can help you to look at your outgoings, and work out an hourly figure. But you then need to think about adding an extra percentage so you can cover your expenses. Others price themselves according to the market. This is dangerous, especially in certain industries. For example, in blogging, if you are to look on on freelance postings on social media, the rates are so low no, that they wouldn’t be livable. When you’re trying to build up a name for yourself, it’s important to get as many projects for your portfolio, but when you’re not desperate, you’ve got to give yourself some credit.
One of the most agonizing aspects of freelancing is not getting paid. While freelancing means that you don’t get a regular paycheck, it adds insult to injury after you’ve invoiced a client, and a payment translate, and then it turns into a non-payment. You need to hold your work at this point, and politely tell the client that you need payments before carrying on with the project. You have to remember that you have legal rights. If the client doesn’t respond, and they haven’t paid, you can apply legal pressure. If this doesn’t work, you go through the small claims court procedure. Wildest can get payments that you have to remember that it can be a lengthy process. These days social media groups provide really good information on specific clients who are terrible at paying. It’s worth having due diligence especially when you are starting out and you feel you need to do every job possible.
Living a Freelancer Lifestyle That Has the Right Balance
And as you you start to build up your portfolio, and get an idea of your working day, you’ve got to remember that being a freelancer means that you should still have a life of your own. Many people feel that they will regain control of their lives by going rogue. But freelancing can be a lot of pressure. Partly it can be to do with the job that you do, and if it’s linked to your passions. But when you start to invest so much into the work that you are forever doing 14-hour days, you’ve got to consider the overall balance. Living a freelancer life is not easy, and when you are working more than you did in your full-time job, you might wonder if this is sustainable in the long run. Part of freelancing is about getting into the rhythm of things. Once you get over that difficult first year of understanding how you work best, as well as chasing up tricky clients for invoices, as well as managing your personal finances, it can be plain sailing. But a lot of people feel that a few decades in the lifestyle of looking for work constantly can be draining. Conversely, there are people that thrive on it. When you decide to stop working, and go freelance, you feel that you finally have the power. But before you jump into this, you need to remember that freelancing is a feast or a famine existence. You’ve got to have a lot of focus and restraint. You need to treat yourself like you are a business, which means that you have to sell yourself, but you also need to realize when to step away. A lot of people can feel that they should never step away from freelancing or take a break because this could lose them clients. But before you start, you’ve got to look at yourself and see if this is something that you are determined you can do, or if it’s just a way for you to escape your current job.