Skipping the nine-to-five job and doing it alone as a self-employed freelancer can be as frightening as it is relieve.
Being a freelancer means longer hours, being disciplined, and not having a steady income. But freelancing also affords the opportunity for flexible hours and working from home once you become established and experience freelancer.
Freelancing requires a certain work ethic and level of business skills in order to be successful. Here are a few guidelines for starting out as a freelancer:
Be financially prepared
Moving into the freelance world, in whatever field you’re in, means having enough fund to maintain yourself for at least six months. Until you’ve become established, you won’t be earning a regular income.
Be mentally prepared
Be prepared to work harder than you ever have before. You are now the sole person who is responsible for your income, so you have to be extremely disciplined when searching for opportunities to offer your services.
You also have to market yourself as a professional. Go to networking events, get business cards made, join a freelancing job marketplace site and use social media to get your name and your services out there.
Know and meet expectations
Once you get your first few jobs, make sure you are clear on what is expected of you. This means asking questions and being absolutely clear about what is expected in return for your fee.
Take the time to learn how to create an invoice , or ask if the client has a preferred template you should use. Also, get to know the ins and outs of declaring income so that you’re not penalized at tax time.
Open yourself to opportunities
Be prepared to earn less, or even do some work for free for the opportunity to retain regular work. Good references from current or past clients are crucial for expanding your client base and income. Every job you do well is a great reference for the next job, so be professional, be responsible and meet your deadlines.
Communication is key
If you come across any concerns, questions, or need more time to finish, always communicate that to the client. Never leave them wondering, as they will likely not hire you again.
Finally, be realistic.
It may take years to become an established, reputable freelancer. But be diligent and don’t give up. With consistency and hard work, you can make it work.