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Before Freelancing Read This

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For some people going freelance is something that’s happened due to circumstances, while for others it’s all they’ve ever dreamt about. Working for themselves choosing their own clients and hours. 

And a freelance has a lot of perks, which is why more people are freelancing and running small businesses from home than ever. Before jumping into freelancing, several things really could help you make a more significant success than you already will be.

The transition from the 9-to-5 to freelance might be more complicated than going from no job to freelance. But that transition must go smoothly because due to the nature of freelancing, things can get complicated, and the unexpected can be a regular occurrence.

So here are some essential tips for freelance survival.

If you still haven’t decided on a freelance venture here are ways you can supplement your income. 

Money First.

If you have the option to save money before going freelancing, you’re doing yourself a service by doing so. Most people understand that when they jump into the freelancing world, they might not start making money straight away. 

And in fact, many people who don’t can often run out of money quite quickly. After all, your bills still need to be paid whether you’re getting paid or not. 

So if you’re transitioning from 9-to-5 to freelance, it’s a good idea to have several contracts already lined up and some money in the bank to help you pay any of those bills in between. Planning ahead is essential, although this won’t work for everybody. 

And speaking of money, it’s a good idea to think ahead and get a virtual Visa card. Once you’re freelancing, you’ll be taking contracts from people all over the world, and most often, they won’t be paying in a single currency.

Self-employed Registration.

The moment that you make any money, you should register with the right authorities. Not doing so can land you in hot water, no matter how enticing banking that first few hundred can be. Most of the time, it’s pretty painless to register as a freelancer, whether you’re in the US or register as a freelancer in the UK you should make sure that you understand all of the registration requirements in the country of your residence.

Spreadsheet.

This doesn’t matter if you’re binding books, making jewelry, or copywriting as a freelance skill. Creating a simple spreadsheet that keeps track of your income and outgoings is invaluable to you. 

This will help you tackle your first year of accounting, and is even more vital if you cannot afford either a bookkeeper or an accountant. 

Your self-assessment return is something that you will need to do yourself, and it’s not too complicated. So long as you have the two most important, what you’ve earned and what you’ve spent.

Portfolio.

Your portfolio is going to show your clients what you can really do. And most people already have some sort of portfolio, but you really need to make it stand out. Often new freelancers spend a lot of time building a portfolio on just one single freelancing website when really it’s more beneficial to have your own website from the word go. 

Throwing everything on Instagram, or your Adobe portfolio is probably not going to cut it. You need to create a focused portfolio that can tell your story and show clients exactly what they are getting when they hire you. Several resources can help you curate a beautiful portfolio and something that you’ll be proud of.

Money again.

You have to pay taxes. Even if you think that you might be too far under the threshold to need to pay tax, it’s a good habit to get into. Try to set aside between 10 and 20% of what you earn into a separate account. 

Sometimes the first tax return might ask for a lot more money than you have considered, and other times you won’t be asked to pay anything at all. But when you do a self-assessment, you will more than likely be given a bill, and you’re gonna need to have that paid pretty quickly.

Clients.

Thanks to the Internet, it is easier than ever to find clients, but thanks to the Internet, more freelancers than ever are also looking for clients. 

However, more often than not, if you’ve decided to go freelance, it’s because you already have a very firm idea of the type of clients that you want to work with, and you probably have a good understanding of why they’re going to want to work with you too. 

As soon as you have committed to going freelance, look at all of your previous clients and what they have in common, and then seek out local businesses with the same kind of services, or requirements. You can pitch to them, and the worst they can do say no.

There are a myriad of freelance websites that you can sign up to, here are just a few of them that can get you started with your first gig.

  • Fivver
  • Upwork
  • Simplyhired
  • Crowded
  • 99Designs
  • Guru
  • FlexJobs

So it should be noted that they’re not often the most high-paying jobs, but it will pay the bills in between landing bigger clients.

Workspace.

Where are you going to work? Are you going to set up your laptop at the kitchen table, or have you a space in the home you can dedicate solely to your freelance career? 

Not everyone has a large enough home to be able to create designated office space, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have somewhere that you work from. Studies show that when a person is used to working in the same space, their brain automatically tunes in and becomes more productive well in that space. 

And one of the key things no matter where you work, is to make sure you have a very comfortable chair. 

Another point is that many people don’t feel like they can fully reach their potential in their own home, luckily there is a lot of co-working space, and you can hire a desk for as many hours a day as you need. 

It will give your working life some structure, and you will be able to network with other people who are freelancing. And often, some of the most interesting projects will come from meeting those people.

But just remember that co-working space will need to be paid for, so perhaps it isn’t something in your immediate future, but you should write down and aim for it in the next few months.

Automating Tasks.

Once you start freelancing, you’ll appreciate that time is money even more. And the time that you’re spending setting up tweets, replying to emails, or doing tasks that need to be done regularly but could be automated is time and money wasted. 

There is a certain joy in doing admin, but if you really need to take time out of other projects to do it, you need to find a better way. You can use several tools to automate things like your email signups, social media, funnels.

  • Insightly – great for CRM email management and has a free version too. 
  • Buffer – easy to use social media automation
  • Hootsuite – offers a more complete solution but Buffer lets you schedule more easily. 

Final Note.

With freelancing, there can be many feast and famine moments, and it’s about preparation for both of these. Make sure that you have enough small projects and personal projects for famine and enough money set aside. Ensure that you have the right structure within your working and automation that if you suddenly hit a feast period, you can handle it well.