5 Things To Know About Freelancing
Making the switch to freelancing full-time has been one of the best decisions of my life. There are a lot of obvious perks. But there are also some downsides to it, some of which I had to learn the hard way. So if you are thinking about becoming a freelancer, it’s important you have a thorough understanding of what it consists of.
1. FOR A WHILE, YOU’LL HAVE TO HUNT FOR CLIENTS.
But the good news is that finding paying customers will not be nearly as difficult as you might think. There are job boards dedicated to freelance writers updated every single day. You need to decide what niche to focus on, what area of specialty to position yourself in, and take it from there. It is better to hone in on one certain area of writing than it is to just cast a wide net.
2. THE BIGGEST (AND OFTEN EASIEST) MISTAKE YOU CAN MAKE IS UNDERCHARGING.
I learned this the hard way. When I started I wasn’t going to risk overcharging and having them turn me down. But keep in mind that people often associate price with value. If you charge too little, often people assume what you are charging reflects the quality of work. You have a skill and it is valuable and deserves compensation. Be confident in your ability. Don’t be shy about charging what you need to pay bills and make ends meet; know what you are worth. To make a living, you must charge what is necessary, without the fear of not getting clients. I promise you will.
3. YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR FILING YOUR OWN TAXES, AND IT WILL BE A BITCH.
Again, making the switch to freelancing full-time is one of the best decisions I have ever made. There are obvious benefits: you are your own boss; you make your own schedule you determine your own rates. These are justifiable reasons for wanting to freelance, and they make the hard work worth it. Yet, like most things in life, it is not without downsides. You have to be responsible enough to put money in a separate account for taxes. Unlike your salary job, taxes aren’t automatically deducted. At first it seems like another bonus because you get paid more upfront. But you still have to pay taxes. Your best bet is to file quarterly taxes. There are plenty of free resources online to help you with this.
4. SOON, CLIENTS WILL START COMING TO YOU.
And it will be the best feeling ever. On a weekly basis I now get emails and messages on LinkedIn and Twitter from people referred to me, who have come across my website, or an article or blog I have written, interested in working together. It’s great when you realize clients are now finding you, instead of the other way around. If it doesn’t happen right away, don’t get discouraged. It takes time to build authority and credibility. It is more difficult when you’re a one-man-show. But you will get there. How? By delivering quality work and managing your online presence.
5. WORKING FROM HOME DOESN’T MEAN WORKING FEWER HOURS.
In fact, it could mean more. Working from home is convenient. Nothing beats grocery shopping in the middle of the day, or attending a work out class when it is least crowded. Starting out, one of the biggest obstacles you will face is mastering effective time management skills. But, once you get the hang of it, you may have to learn how to force yourself to shut down. This is important if you enjoy the work that you do—and I am assuming you do since you are trying to make it a full-time gig. And while hard work is good, at a certain point you become counterproductive. Just because you have a home office or make your own schedule doesn’t mean you can’t set boundaries. Not only is it important to making sure you don’t get burnt out, it’s necessary for your sanity.