Taking the leap to become a freelancer offers the freedom to set your own schedule. You pick and choose the clients you want to serve. However, there are challenges inherent in being your own boss. You are solely responsible for generating and maintaining a steady flow of business.
Start by arranging your workspace and planning for several ways to generate income. Plan for how you will address insurance and tax situations. With proper planning, your freelance endeavor has the best chances to succeed.
Set Your Workspace Up For Success
Make sure that you have a dedicated office space in your home, free of distractions. You don’t want to be assaulted by your toddler throwing a doll when you’re trying to meet a deadline. It also wouldn’t appear professional if your television is blaring in the background when you’re on the phone with a client.
Your desk and chair should meet ergonomic guidelines. Good lighting will reduce the strain on your eyes. Invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. Make sure that you have a reliable and fast internet connection, such as the Blazing Hog unlimited wireless internet.
Post a calendar on your wall with all of your projects and deadlines. Get in the habit of making a to-do list for the next day and attaching it to your bulletin board at the end of each day. This will help you get started on being productive each work morning.
Step away from your office at the end of each work session and do something fun. Cultivate the same work-life balance that you sought when you were working for an employer. It’s important to prevent burnout.
Develop Multiple Income Streams
In this economy, companies can hit a bad patch overnight and cancel your contract. Make sure that you diversify your income sources across a few different contracts. If you are a writer, sign up for a few different content mill websites so that you can switch among them depending on the projects available.
When you are starting out with your freelancing career, don’t be afraid to take an unrelated part-time job or find a side hustle to help pay the bills. The financial cushion will reduce your stress and make it easier for you to focus on producing quality freelance work.
As you develop your areas of expertise, consider adding passive income streams such as a monetized blog, an online course, or an e-book. As a freelancer, you do not get paid time off. These sources of income will make it easier for you to take vacations and eventually retire.
Don’t Forget Taxes and Insurance
You’ll need to remember to set aside and pay estimated taxes on your income throughout the year. An accountant who specializes in small business can help you navigate the complicated tax code.
Don’t forget to consult with your county or city about any permits or licenses that you may need for your freelance business. A few hundred dollars invested in a lawyer to discuss your business plans can prevent headaches down the road.
Look to your professional associations and the Affordable Care Act marketplace for health insurance options. Typically, you can count the cost of health insurance for yourself as a business experience. Even a simple operation can set you back thousands of dollars. You cannot afford to go without health insurance.
Consider talking with an insurance broker for disability income insurance options. As a self-employed individual, you will not have the luxury of paid time off and employer-supplied disability insurance if you become sick and unable to work. Build a savings account as well to help cover emergencies.
Many professionals consider making the leap to self-employment as a way to gain more control over their working lives. It’s important to set up the systems and processes that will help you do well in your new endeavor.