Leaving your comfortable full time job can be terrifying. Instead of having a steady wage and excellent promotion prospects, you will have uncertainty and worry. However, there is still a pull beckoning you towards freelancing. Being a freelancer can be scary, but making the break can be life affirming. You no longer have to answer to anyone. You are your own boss, in control of your own workload and responsible for your own earnings. Making a living from freelancing takes hard work and effort.
You must make sure that you are ready to take the freelancing leap. Just because you are sick of your current job, doesn’t mean that you’re ready to go it alone. You need a plan, in the same way that any new startup has. Creating a business plan can take time, but put the planning in ow, and you will reap the rewards later. You need to work out how much you will need to earn to live. While your quality of life may suffer in the short term, put in the hours, and you could create your own little money making venture. Take a look at this essential guide to freelancing.
Work – life balance
Being a freelancer tends to mean having a better work –
However, your work life balance has every opportunity of improving. You can choose to not work weekends, to work from eleven until seven as you are more productive, or to take your laptop to your local coffee shop instead of working from home. Freelancing means that you can work with the people and clients you have stronger relationships with. You should have a ready made book of contacts from your full time role, so take it with you and hit the ground running the moment you launch.
As with a startup, you need to create a brand for yourself. Generate a simple logo, letterhead and use freelance invoice software to show your professionalism. A bespoke invoice software will help you get paid on time and will send reminders to clients. This is key to ensure the smooth running of your new freelancing lifestyle. All too often, clients are late with payments and care little about the wellbeing of their outsourced services.
Your brand needs to be emulated across your website, portfolio and social media channels. If you are a writer or a designer, put your portfolio online. Make sure this is your best work and shows the breadth of work that you undertake. Ensure that it exudes your style and personality. Share links to your social media platforms and ensure that you have a Twitter feed, an Instagram page and a Facebook account. By linking these platforms, your online presence is enhanced. Ensure that your website is intuitive and people can contact you easily and quickly. Be responsive and secure new business.
No more lining fat cat pockets
The best thing about working for yourself is the freedom it affords. Yes, life can become a little scary for a while, things can be uncertain and you might not know when your next paycheck is coming. However, you will be earning money for you and no one else. As a freelancer, you can work out how best to structure your new venture. As a sole trader, things are easy and transparent, and you pay taxes as you would as an employee. Choose to go limited and you could save money on your taxes. With an accountant taking a look at your books, you could pay yourself in dividends, use tax allowances and pay less back to the government for the first few years of trading.
Being able to compete with your already well established industry rivals will be your top priority as a newbie. They may have been in the game for decades so how will you break onto the scene? This has perplexed new freelancers since the dawn of time, and yet a select few still become ridiculously successful. You need to be aware of your unique selling point and flaunt it.
Head online, flood your social media channels and offer incentives for potential clients to give your services a go. Over time, you will develop an excellent reputation for your quality of work, your standards and your ability to go the extra mile. Be punctual, work hard, and be communicative. Don’t give a client any excuse not to hire you again. As you get more confident, you can begin to increase your rates to market levels. If you are brilliant at what you do, your talents will attract business.
It’s tough as a newbie freelancer. You don’t want to poach business, but you need to secure some to hit the ground running. With your business acumen and your online marketing, you can secure your initial clients. Give them a chance to review you online, and allow your positive reputation to shine. Recommendations and feedback are the number one way to ensure you get hired. A freelancer with negative reviews will struggle in a competitive marketplace. Incentivise your clients to leave a review and ensure that you always follow up with a thank you.
Being a freelancer means taking more responsibility for your benefits, accounting and taxes. The onus is on you to adhere to legislation and laws. Instability is tough, and you will go through a period of wondering why on Earth you left your full time role. However, stick with it. Being a freelancer has many rewards just waiting to be reaped.