If you are thinking about getting into freelancing, there are many great reasons to do so, and a lot of wonderful benefits that you can get out of it – not to mention there might be a number of reasons that you are considering doing it in the first place. But just like anything else, you will need to make sure that it is going to work out for you, and that is often easier said than done. Nonetheless, if you follow the advice in this article, you should find that this is much simpler than you would think, and you should be able to become the freelancer that you dream of being.
What’s Your Field?
First of all, you are going to have to make sure that you know what field you will be working in. To be a freelancer, you don’t necessarily have to be an expert yet – that can all come with time. But you do need to think about what you can do that is going to earn you enough money to make a living. It could be writing, editing, proofreading, photography, cooking, gardening – you name it. If you can do it, you can consider it for a freelancing position.
Above all, you should aim to work in a field that genuinely excites you. That will mean you are more likely to enjoy the work for itself, and you will find the freelancer’s life a lot more enjoyable in so many ways.
Grab Your Tools
Once you know the field that you will be operating within, you can think about what kinds of tools you are likely to need in order to do that job. For many freelance positions, this will amount to: a computer, an Internet connection that is reliable and with sufficient bandwidth, a telephone, and that’s about it. But of course, if you are a freelance gardener or chef, you will have a quite different list of tools.
Whatever you need, it’s a good idea to simply treat yourself to the best that you can get, or as good as you need, straight away. There is a temptation to start small and build up to the better stuff over time, but ultimately this is not the way to do this. Instead, be sure to invest in your job – and you will find that you tend to get a lot more out of it straight away.
Thinking About Tax
One common pitfall that catches out a lot of people is the area of tax. As a freelancer, you are self-employed, so you need to make sure that you are paying your tax. You will have to submit a self-assessment each year at which point the tax you owe will be calculated, which you will then have to pay. If you prefer, you can hire a tax accountant or assistant who can do it for you. They will also be able to advise you of legal ways to pay less tax. However you approach it, this is not something that you can afford to overlook.
Choosing Your Rate
A very difficult area for many newcomers to freelancing is the issue of choosing your rate. It’s hard to know what you are worth as a freelancer and what you should be charging your clients, and in fact this is something that more or less remains difficult throughout your career. One good way to approach this is to look at what others are charging too, which you can do by looking at database records or, more effectively, you can ask around with people you know. This is just one very good reason why you should aim to be in contact with some other freelancers.
In order to achieve what you want to achieve as a freelancer, you have to have a good degree of discipline. This is not something that necessarily comes easily to everyone, but all of us can improve this if we really want to. Being disciplined means that you are able to push yourself every day to do your work, even when there is nobody behind you to push you on. That can be very challenging, and it is one of the major learning curves of this kind of self-employed work. If you start off from a disciplined place already, you are of course going to have much more chance of success.
Build Your Brand
You might not like to think in these terms, but it’s a fact that if you want to improve your freelancing business and make it really viable as a career path, you have to spend time building your brand wherever possible. This means having a strong awareness of how you appear to other people and the world generally, and then working hard to make that work for you. This takes practice like anything else, but as long as you are able to think of yourself as a one-person business, you should be able to make it a lot easier. Ultimately, marketing yourself as a brand is going to mean you have much more success in general with your freelancing career.
Finding A USP
One of the first things that will become immediately obvious when you start out in freelancing is just how much competition there is. This is true of all worlds and fields, and you are going to need to find a way to deal with it and come out on top. Of course, that is a tricky thing, and it is going to take a long time to work it out. But one of the major things you need to look into in order to do this is to figure out what your unique selling point is.
This is an angle or approach that you have that other people don’t have, and it is an important and powerful way to set yourself apart from the rest. It might be something about the service you offer, the skills you have, the niche you inhabit, or it could be that you are offering a kind of service that nobody has really ever seen before. In any case, be sure to find out what your USP is and use it to your advantage as best as you can. It is going to make a world of difference.
Let’s be honest – freelancing can be lonely work, and you need to find a way to work around that and deal with it from the start, or else you could land yourself in some psychological trouble later on in life. One of the simple yet effective means of doing this is to take a look at some alternative places to actually do your work. In other words, it doesn’t always have to be at home. You can use flexible coworking spaces in your local area, go to work in a library or at a friend’s house, or find a cafe to sit in.
These things can help, as can remembering to have a social life. Make sure you are not working all the time, every day. Give yourself some time off every day, or else you are going to suffer psychologically, and that will in turn affect your ability to work as well as you would want to.
Buy A Domain
It’s hard to overstate just how important it is to have a website for your own as a freelancer. It’s an important place to draw people in, and it will constitute one of the most important aspects of your digital marketing, which is in itself a hugely important thing. When you are doing this, be sure to try and buy your domain name early, as that is going to be something important too. You want it to be as close to your brand name as possible, which is probably just going to be your actual name in a memorable fashion. As long as you have a good domain you can send people to, your online presence will be a lot stronger, and you will have many more clients coming your way.
Save Your Money
As a freelancer, you are no longer going to get such a thing as holiday pay or sick pay. That means that you need to fund your own way during those times, and there are a lot of things that you need to be aware of here. Most of all, you are going to quickly learn the importance and value of saving your money as best as you can. Find a good savings account, and ensure that you are going to put money in it every month. You need to put aside enough to pay your tax bill at the end of the fiscal year, as well as savings for those emergencies. If you can do that, you are going to be in a much better position if you do fall ill, or if you just want to have some time off work.
With these things in mind, you should be able to make freelancing work for you.