Living the freelance life is one of the most freeing and exciting ways to make your money. You can set your own hours, be your own boss, and choose your favourite projects. You can work in your pyjamas, and spend your lunch hour watching daytime TV! Quite simply, working freelance is a wonderful way to spend the work day. However, it’s not all fun and games. There are certain things about freelancing that are much harder than a regular job. We’re talking about managing and estimating your own taxes, motivating yourself, and marketing here. Throughout this post, I’ll show you the tricks of the trade, and teach you the basics. Let’s take a look.
Register your business – First and foremost, understand that your freelance life is now a business. It must be treated as such, and that means registering to pay your tax. In a typical job, you are taxed before you receive your paycheck, so you don’t have to worry. As a freelancer, you’ll have to register as a company first. That also means creating a real business address. (Tip, some business address companies have other useful benefits. For example, physicaladdress.com scans your mail, and sends it on via email). Don’t avoid this business address registration and tax obligations, as there are penalties.
Keep work and life separate – The other tricky thing about running a business from home is switching off. Where possible, try to separate your work environment and your home life. It’s too easy to carry on working at the dinner table, or bring some research to the bedroom. It’s so important that you keep a separate office space, and cut off from work at the end of the day. It’s easier said than done, but if you can create a separate area, that’s a good start.
Get all the tools you need – In a normal job, all your tools and equipment are provided for you. Unfortunately, as a freelancer, that’s all suddenly your responsibility. You’ll need a computer, and any specialist tools for the job. It can get rather expensive (although you can claim tax back on most of it throughout the year). Some freelancers end up spending more than other in this department. Graphic designers, for example, tend to have a lot of expensive equipment to purchase.
Marketing – The toughest job a freelancer faces is landing that first client. As a freelancer, you’re not just a professional at your craft, you’re also a marketer. It’s up to you to chase clients, and secure your projects. This means creating a portfolio website, sending regular pitches, and reaching out to clients. Often, this eats up a lot of your time, and you’ll need to be smart about balancing your work.
Master your craft – Most important of all, put in the hours and hone your craft. Your business now relies on your ability to deliver projects and work at the best of your ability. Whether it’s writing, coding, or graphic design, work hard, and enjoy your freelance life! It’s hard, but most of us would never go back.