It seems that freelancing has taken the world over by storm and became a trend young talents are happy to embrace. What’s more, freelancers are predicted to become the workforce majority in the future. The most appealing aspect of freelancing is probably the flexibility it allows.
The importance of this flexibility is even more emphasized now after the coronavirus outbreak which confined us to our homes. However, becoming a freelancer and actually making a living may sound easier in theory than in practice. To succeed and earn a steady income as a freelancer, you must learn a few tips and tricks to get you through your first year.
The most important thing when starting any business is having a solid plan. Whether you’re a writer, a graphic designer, or a programmer, if you’re new to freelancing, you should develop a plan detailing how you’re going to present yourself, how to attract clients, will you charge a fixed fee or per hour, how to structure your time, etc. It may be flexible work but you still need some sort of a schedule and strategy.
While most freelancers won’t admit this, it may take up to a couple of years until you start making solid, consistent income that puts food on your table and pays your bills every month.
In all likelihood, you’re going to work harder than at your 9 to 5 job. You’ll probably work on weekends too!
This sounds stressful, but the reality is, you will only struggle until you establish yourself as a trustworthy freelancer with a list of steady clients. In time, you will be able to create a better schedule for yourself and even say “no” to clients from time to time.
If you’re a freelance writer, you’ve probably always been passionate about words and you consider yourself a good writer. However, a range of other skills are necessary and/or desirable if you want to attract and retain clients. Think about the related skills in your field and take the time to acquire them. There are tons of online courses on SEO, proofreading/editing, etc.
Work on your communication skills too because you will be communicating with lots of potential clients. Always work on yourself and improve your knowledge. It will pay off, guaranteed. As you gain more skills and experience, you will be able to set higher rates and clients will be willing to pay you more just to work with you!
We know one of the reasons why freelancing is so appealing is the flexibility. Regardless, once you start working, you’ll realize that you need the routine. If you set rules for yourself regarding when you work and when you go out for lunch or hit the gym, it’ll be easier to focus on meeting the deadlines. Make sure you find the time to relax too.
Many feel that keeping your finances in order and sticking to a budget is impossible when you’re a freelancer because of inconsistent income. Precisely because freelancing carries a lot of uncertainty, you can’t behave recklessly with money.
It helps if you have some savings to begin with to cover you in the initial period if you don’t earn enough. Calculate how much you make each month on average and how much you need for various monthly expenses such as food, rent, bills, etc. This will give you an idea of how much you need to survive. Then, create a budget and try to stick to it.
One of the hardest things for the self-employed is dealing with taxes. Make sure that you set aside a portion of each payment you receive and deposit it on a separate account for tax purposes. In this way, when the time comes, you’re prepared to pay the bill.
If tax matters scare you, seek outside help from a qualified firm such as SCK Group. They offer all sorts of financial services and advice that you could use in your first year as a freelancer.
Don’t forget to market yourself. Post an add on various platforms stating the services you offer. Make sure you sound professional. Build a portfolio that showcases your skills and experience, and use social media too. You can also contact companies directly via email and offer your services. You never know who may need your skills.
Lastly, to make it through your first year as a freelancer, you should be patient. Success won’t come overnight but you’ve started an incredible journey, and if you persist and work on your skills, you will get there.