Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Freelancer
By Space Coast Daily // August 31, 2020
Becoming a freelancer can give you unparalleled professional freedom. You make your own hours, choose your own clients, and get the final say in everything. But the influx of online side gigs has created a misconception among the public.
People believe they can simply start promoting themselves and succeed the same way you can get hired for a job and climb the ladder in a few years.
There really is no ladder to climb. You can grow your brand, increase your income and learn to leverage greater responsibility with larger clients, but you’ll always be a one-person operation.
That means you need to seriously consider whether the added expenses and uncertainty of freelancing is right for you. To help you decide whether you’re ready to give professional freelancing a go, here are some important things to consider.
Can I Afford the Costs?
You may be able to earn a lot if you get a good set of clients, but there are also many costs that can be crippling if your income isn’t high enough.
Taxes are one of the biggest sources of financial expense for freelancers. You have to pay more than someone who is employed by a company, but there are some opportunities for greater write-offs.
Freelancing also costs more money on living expenses, whether that’s increased electricity, faster WIFI, office supplies or even a rented workspace.
You’ll also be solely responsible for paying for your own health insurance, which costs several thousand a year at the most basic level.
There’s also no IRA or retirement fund for freelancers by default. You’ll have to manage it entirely on your own, which may not be realistic in the beginning.
To help offset the initial costs, you could consider scaling down your current expenses to save more. Refinancing your car is one way to do this. Apply online, review your options and choose which one is best for your lifestyle. This can help you strike a more even balance between repayment and savings, so you can essentially earn today and still pay your car off around the same time.
Can I Work Enough Hours?
People can start building a side career while they’re still employed. They take clients on the weekends and work part-time to build a reputation. This may be easier said than done for many, especially those who are already drained from their day job and regular responsibilities. The hours can also be long and underpaid, especially when you’re just starting out.
Unless you have seriously impressive credentials like being a CEO, doctor or lawyer, don’t expect people to pay you hundreds of dollars to do a job.
Skills and experience are what earn you the most, but pricing also plays a large factor. You’ll have to invest time in not only work and research but personal marketing and skill development.
Ensure that this is something you’re passionate enough to lose time and energy over before you throw yourself into it.
Do I See Myself as a Business Owner?
Novice freelancers often see themselves by their job title, e.g. a writer or web designer. But being a freelance anything means you are a business owner.
You are your primary asset; you are the focal point of your advertising. You are the heart and soul of the entire project, and that requires a lot of humility and honesty.
Some people do not want to deal with the logistics, which includes paying for your own liability insurance, filing your own taxes and even registering as a sole proprietor. Make sure you read up on the business side of freelancing so you can act with certainty. The last thing you want is to wind up relying on gigs to survive with no way how to manage them or your finances properly.
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