Freelancing -I hope you’ve heard this word before. Freelancing means simply doing any kind of online jobs for others in return for money. Some becomes freelance writer, some becomes freelance designer and some becomes freelance DJ. There are many such jobs out there.
Now if you’re going to become a full-time freelancer, there are many things that have to be taken into consideration before taking the plunge. It really doesn’t matter what kind of service you’re offering up, as it’s not easy to become a successful full-time freelancer in any field. But, here we have some tips which may help you to get in to freelancing.
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Some of the tips that may help you to become a successful freelancer are:
1) Keep a Schedule.
So you’re working at home now and there isn’t anyone telling you what to do. But just because you’re at home doesn’t mean that you can wake up whenever you want, take extended lunches, and stay on Twitter all day long. This is where a schedule comes in handy. Create a routine that helps you maintain productivity and stick to it. Feel free to “reward” yourself throughout the day with breaks, but make sure you stay on your original schedule. Otherwise a distracting snowball effect can occur and ruin your whole days schedule.
2) Multiple Jobs.
You want to make sure that the pipeline of incoming job prospects is always healthy and full. The fewer clients you have, the more that they can negatively impact your business if they leave you for any reason. Essentially you are insulating yourself with clients so that you don’t feel a “hit” as hard when someone leaves or cancels.
3) Look Before You Leap.
Before you take the leap into becoming a full-time freelancer, you need to make sure you know what you are getting into. Have projects already lined up before you completely quit your full-time job. The last thing you want to do is burn all of your bridges and not be successful.
Taxes are different when you are a freelancer. Obviously you’re not under the umbrella of employment, so you’re going to have to be organized with financial information that affects your business when tax time rolls around. All receipts and expenses need to be tracked on a regular basis to make sure that nothing gets out of control over the course of the year.
You need to keep very good paperwork and records. The details of your business will need to be tracked in case disputes of any kind come up later. Hours logged, client contracts, proposals, and tax information, are all examples of paperwork that you’re going to have to be religious about keeping up with.
You won’t always be able to avoid a confrontation; but if disputes do come up, as long as you have all the necessary paperwork (contract, emails, etc) you can typically show the person that they are in the wrong with the evidence you have, or even defend yourself in court if needed. One word of caution: if court action is a possibility, even if you know you’re in the right, make sure you research court costs before going to court. It may be worth it to take a monetary loss if it’s less than the estimated cost of court.
Since you’re on your own now, you need to get out there and network. By networking you are able to possibly spread your services to other businesses that need the work you provide. This is also a great way to build relationships in the industry that can be fruitful later. You’re not employed anymore, so you don’t have that strength in numbers advantage. You’re going to have to lean on people eventually, and going to networking events is the perfect opportunity to meet people like this.
7) Plan for Slow Times
Every business has down time, it’s natural. When you are a freelance worker you are also going to experience slow downs in your workload. Make sure and plan for this by setting a regular saving schedule.
8) Stay Active.
You can literally sit in front of your computer all day as a freelancer. But I’ll suggest you to take some small breaks. You can spend time by getting outside, working out or doing a different activity. This will help break up the time and keep you highly productive.
How Many Hats Can You Wear?
There’s no question about it, being a freelancer is a full-time job. Working for yourself has many administrative aspects that don’t have anything to do with the work that you’re fulfilling for the client. All the same, it’s important not to overlook these factors as they are a critical part of your business. Hopefully these tips will help you avoid common pitfalls that first time freelancers fall into.
Got some more tips? Let me know in the comments below.
About the author:
Jared is the co-founder of Heroic Search, a Dallas Area SEO agency.