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Today, accountants, trainers, computer technicians, etc. are all
able to earn a living as freelancers. Regardless of the freelancing field you are
interested in, there are some important things you should know that will help you get
started and get successful.
Before we discuss those, however, we need to talk briefly
about the pros and the cons of being a freelancer. You need to know both sides before you
make your decision so you truly understand what you're getting into.
1. You set your own schedule
As a freelancer, you get to determine what time you get out
of bed and what time you turn in at night. You get to decide how much vacation time you
can afford to take this year and you can elect to skip work one afternoon to spend time
with your children.
2. You don't work for a boss
Even though you are answerable to your clients, they don't
wield the same power over your life that a boss does. Yes, they can fire you, but you can
also quit working for them if things get too difficult.
3. You determine how much you earn
While a conventional job pays a set amount of money
regardless of how hard you work (and in some cases how long you work), freelancing allows
you to make practically any amount of money that you wish because you determine how much
your services cost and how many jobs you take on at one time.
4. You are able to work from your own office
Whether you prefer working in a home office or renting
space somewhere to do your business, you are in charge of designing and maintaining your
own comfortable office. You get to pick the people you work with. You get to pick the type
of computer, post-it notes, and bottled water that you use on a daily basis also.
1. You can become overworked quickly
When you start working steadily as a freelancer, it becomes
nearly impossible for you to truly take a vacation. You have projects and clients that
need your constant attention, so being gone or getting sick even for a day can put you
2. You have to deal with clients who can be more difficult
Most of the clients freelancers work with are genuinely
good people, but there are others out there that are not. Every freelancer has probably
been ripped off by a client at one time or another, even if they take steps to protect
3. You don't have a steady income
Unless you have one or two truly constant streams of work,
you can expect your income to fluctuate dramatically. Some months you may feel like you
struck the lottery while others may make you think you're heading for the food stamp line,
especially when you are starting out.
4. You don't have a way to separate work from home life
If you have a home office, you may find it difficult to
recognize the difference between being at home and being at work which means that while
your watching television or eating dinner you may begin to feel like you're actually still
on the job.
As you can see, each positive has a negative aspect as
well. However, many of these negatives can be easily handled once you have experience as a
freelancer, but to get to that point, you need to know how to get started.
Find Something You Enjoy Doing
This is critical to your success. If you don't already have
something in mind to do as a freelancer, you need to be sure that you pick an activity
that you truly love. Remember, you will be doing this type of work every day. Also, the
more you enjoy your work, the more passionate you are about it. Potential clients will
spot that passion and will be more inclined to work with you.
Save Some Money
Most freelancers actually start out as conventional 9-5
workers. In fact, many of them maintain their full-time jobs in addition to their
freelance work for the sake of a stable income, health insurance, or other benefits. If
you choose to go freelance full-time, however, you need to be sure to have a comfortable
nest egg in the bank. Most experts agree that you should have enough money in your savings
to cover six months worth of your basic necessities. If that sounds impossible, then try
juggling some freelance work with your regular job for awhile. Save up all of the money
you earn from your freelance work and use that as your nest egg.
Start Finding Clients Today
One mistake that freelancers often make is that think they
can only start networking and marketing their services after they've gotten started. The
truth is that if you're considering becoming a freelancer, now is the time to start
networking and marketing. Let people know that you are thinking about going solo and get
their reactions. Start building a database of possible job leads. In fact, you may want to
line up some work beforehand so you can be sure of having an income initially.
Most potential clients will want to see references and/or
samples of your work before they give you a project. You need to have these prepared in
advance. Don't wait until someone calls to possibly offer you a project to get your
portfolio in order or to line up some qualified references. Have those ready to dispatch
as soon as you get off the phone or finish the email.
Find an Accountant
The most difficult part of freelancing can be the handling
the financial aspects: tracking invoices, staying on top of bills, figuring your yearly
taxes, etc. Unless you are already skilled in accounting, you need to find someone to help
you out with this from the beginning. It makes it much simpler for you and for the
Start a Web Site
Use the Internet to your advantage. Create a
professional-looking but simple web site advertising your experience and your services,
then place it on the Internet. It's one of the best ways of attracting new clients.
These suggestions will help you start your freelancing
career on the right foot, but the most important key to your success will be your
perseverance. If you give up easily or don't follow through with things, you may never
truly make it as a freelancer. You must be able to take rejection. You must be
self-motivated, and you must be persistent. Only then will you be able to experience
firsthand all of the benefits of being a modern freelancer.
Vishal P. Rao