Working freelance is a dream come true if you get it right. You can wake up, and roll into the office, or even work from bed! You’ll avoid the dreaded daily commute, and can even enjoy the peace of quiet of your own home or the noise of a coffee shop if you so choose. You set your own hours, choose your clients, and get to be your own boss!
It all sounds good so far, but there are some tricky parts too. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself with work drying up. It can be a scary experience, but it’s all in how you learn to deal with it that makes a difference. I’ve been playing the freelance game for the last couple of years now (and loving it). So, I thought I’d share some things I’ve learnt along the way.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
The nature of freelance work means that you can lose clients quite quickly. Projects don’t last forever, and you’ll soon need to source more work. If you’ve only got one client, that’s going to leave you in a tricky situation. But, if you’ve got three or four different clients, you’ll barely notice the drop in income. Always try to spread your workload across a variety of different clients. It keeps things a little more interesting too.
Optimize your home for productivity
Working from home isn’t always the easiest option. There are all sorts of distractions around you. The TV is downstairs, there’s food in the kitchen, the cat to play with. Trust me, when you’re dreading a particular project, you’ll do just about anything to avoid it! You need to stay productive! That’s why it’s so important to set up a ‘work-only’ area. Try to keep the personal life and the work life separate. It’s much more difficult to ‘leave work’ when it’s all over the house.
Stay on top of the admin stuff
One of the hardest parts about being a freelancer is taking care of the tax bill. It’s your responsibility to fill out your tax return, and square things up with the government. You’ll also need to deduct your expenses, and keep track of receipts. There are invoices to file and paperwork to keep on top of. I also use at home business insurance to protect me against any work-related problems. (Remember, your normal home and contents insurance won’t cover most work related issues). It’s all very dull, but it’s essential that you stay on top of it.
Learn how to promote yourself
Freelancing isn’t always ideal for the wallflowers among us. Sure, you get to spend plenty of alone time in your office. But, you will need to learn how to promote yourself. If you want to land the top gigs, you need to prove your worth. That means connecting with the right contacts on LinkedIn. It means writing blogs that capture attention, and building a website that shows off your work. Start doing this now, and you’ll be all set for a successful 2016! Remember, a good freelancer spends 20% of their time marketing, and growing their personal profiles.
Hopefully with this essential advice under your belt, you’ll be all set to make your mark on the freelance world. It might just be the best thing you ever do!
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