If you read my previous blog, you are most definitely now motivated to become your own boss and (hopefully), have a clearer idea of some of the current market-trending tools that can help you manage your finances. Freelancing can be an extraordinary, rewarding and fun experience however, there are a number of aspects that you should consider if you want it to be successful one.
As I consider myself a rather positive blogger, I will begin with the ‘DO’s’.
The first sits closely to my heart and the hearts of others, so if you intend on encouraging repeat business you should follow suit. Setting realistic quotes, although, expected to be a childishly easy task, somehow, proves more difficult and unrealistic for modern society. When dealing with potential clients you should always begin a project by evaluating how long it will take you to accomplish said project, the expenses you are likely to incur and the level of experience that is required – as a general rule, work will usually take longer than initially expected and this should be accounted for. As a freelancer, the costs of equipment/ utilities needed for a job would be subject to your own pocket hence it’s imperative you keep this in mind before setting any rates. Another aspect that you should consider prior to accepting a project is the customers willingness to pay a down payment. Unfortunately, dealing with late payments is considered a freelancer’s “forte”. However, this does not mean that there’s nothing you can do about it. It has been speculated that countless of freelancer’s do in fact ask for a down payment prior to beginning any work and should the client refuse, you should evaluate if it is even work beginning the work in the first place. If, for instance the client is unable to make a payment due to a lack of capital, how certain are you that you will even get paid at all?
This brings me onto the next critical ‘DO’. Effective communication is key to succeeding as a freelancer. Communicating clearly, and often with your clients will help you stay on track with the project as well as develop a professional rapport – keeping both you and the client happy. But don’t forget, this should always be kept swift and professional!
Getting insured whilst being self-employed can really make or break your business. Contractors insurance offers protection in the event of disputes with clients (for example), which can not only be costly but also time consuming, taking your time away from other projects and effectively costing you even more money. Moreover, as beneficial as this is for you, in this age, the majority of clients will not even consider signing a contract unless there are contingencies in place. Dependent on what you field you specialise in, you may need to get either public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance or both. There cannot be enough emphasis put on the importance of this: if you do decide to proceed without insurance- good luck.
In conjunction with the above, you may find that diversifying your sources of income, can, not only act as a contingency but also as a golden rule which, you, as a freelancer should abide by. You will soon (if you haven’t already), discover that placing all of your eggs in one basket can be a costly mistake. Having multiple revenue streams can insure you’re protected from late payments, not being compensated at all or even from a period of unemployment. Whilst it is important for you to dedicate your complete attention whilst only tackling projects you can complete, it’s just as important to multi-task and work on several assignments to provide you with security. Within this industry, job rotation, amongst the previously mentioned aspects are all crucial for YOU to find success.
As you can now most probably tell, we’ve reached that time of the blog; the dreaded “DON’Ts”. Some of the following tips are plain simple, but shouldn’t be taken light-heartedly, should you wish to maintain a positive lifestyle whilst being successful. First and foremost, don’t become a hermit. Being self-employed usually translates to also being by your-self. Whilst being alone can certainly keep you on-track and focused on a project, it can also be harmful. Basic human sociology stipulates that you require the company of others, at least from time-to-time in order to stay sane, happy and proactive. This will not only keep you happy but also generate additional professional connection that can in turn help your business.
As a self-employed individual, you should most definitely never lose track of your expenditure (Income vs Outgoings). Without a pre-organised accountant, it can be difficult for you to stay on top of your earnings and expenses, which for you as a freelancer is crucial: – especially when it’s time for you to file for your tax returns. However, if you find yourself struggling (and haven’t already seen my previous blog- you should), there are a number of web-based accounting software’s that help you keep on top. They range from paid monthly to free but shouldn’t be overlooked. In the long-run they can save a freelancer such as yourself, a hefty sum.
One of big “YES’s” in freelancing is actually finding the capacity to say “NO”. It can be extremely tempting for you to say yes to all of the job opportunities that swing your way, especially so, when you’re currently out of work or whilst you’re attempting to make a name for yourself in any given industry. However, it is also important to be perceptive. Some jobs you get offered won’t be the right fit for you or your career. You should spend time deliberating whether to take a project on or not as sometimes it may be best for you to search elsewhere.
The aim of this blog was to help guide you, an aspiring freelancer in a direction of success, delivering lessons which may have otherwise been taught under less positive circumstances. Nonetheless, it can be speculated that there is in fact no guidebook to success, you may just have to take it one day at a time and hope for the best.
– Daniel Khanna