It’s estimated that by 2027 there will be over 86 million people working freelance. Freelancing is becoming more and more common as companies and businesses turn more and more to providing information and sales online. So if you’re trying to figure out how to be a freelance worker this year, this article will offer you some valuable information on what to consider and how to get started.
What is Freelancing?
If you google “how to be a freelance worker”, you’ll get hundreds of different explanations. Basically, a freelance worker is someone who works for themself rather than a company, otherwise known as being self-employed. They can take on contracts for companies and work with them for an extended amount of time, but they generally work for multiple different companies, or multiple different projects at once.
Freelancing: Pros andamp; Cons
There are quite a few reasons so many people are interested in being a freelancer. Here are some of the top:
- Can be done on the side of another job for additional income
- You have more flexibility and control over your schedule
- If you already have the right skills, you can start freelancing right away
- You have control over which clients you take and how much work you do at any given time
- You can choose where to work from, whether it’s your home or a beach
While there are quite a few positives that come with being a freelancer, there are a few downsides:
- It takes time to build your freelancing career to full time
- Income can be irregular and unpredictable
- Pay starts off low for new freelancers
- You have to figure out your income taxes on your own
- You don’t get any benefits that you could as an employee for a company
When you’re learning how to be a freelance worker, you also need to be responsible and well-organized. This can come as a pro or con depending on your personality. Because freelance workers have such flexibility and freedom, without good organizational skills it can be easy to fall behind on work. A few bad reviews on projects that are not completed on time can really hurt a freelance worker’s future ability to get hired.
Common Types of Freelance Positions
In 2018, the freelance job website FlexJobs, listed the top 10 jobs that had listings on their sites were:
- Computer andamp; IT positions
- Accounting andamp; Finance positions
- HR andamp; Recruiting positions
- Editing, proofreading, and writing positions
- Administrative positions
- Project Management positions
- Data entry positions
- Analyst positions
- Software Development positions
- Technical Support positions
Other common freelance jobs consist of content creation, graphic design, and social media positions. However, freelance jobs don’t have to be only jobs that are done on the computer. If you have a garage door repair service, you could be considered a freelancer!
So You Want To Be A Freelancer
So you’ve decided freelancing is for you. Now what? A simple google search of “how to be a freelance worker” will overload you with information. Here are some of the most basic but important things you should consider as you start your freelancing career:
Make A Plan Of Action
Creating a plan of action, or business plan will help you ensure that you’re off to a good start with your new freelancing business. Especially when you’re learning how to be a freelance worker, a specific action plan will help you in the process. This plan will help you to work toward specific goals and know that you are growing and progressing as a business. Here are some steps you should take as you create your business plan:
- Start by listing the actions you need to achieve to get your business up and running. This could include getting a business license, buying equipment for your work, and creating a website. Make sure to keep these actions as specific as possible to avoid any later confusion.
- Set a timeline for each of the actions you previously listed. This will keep you on track to progress forward quickly and start earning an income sooner.
- Define your end goals for your business. What do you want your business to look like in five years? What about at the end of this year? Specific goals will help you make sure that you are reaching those milestones and growing rather than getting stuck in a plateau.
- Consistently checkup on your action plan. This isn’t a set in stone thing, you should be re-evaluating and rewriting as you meet goals and milestones. Your action plan will change with your business as you grow.
Build A Strong Online Presence
Having a strong online presence is everything when you’re learning how to be a freelance worker. Having a strong online presence will help you to build your business and gain credibility so you can find new clients. Having an online presence will allow potential clients to quickly and easily learn about what you have to offer and reach out to communicate with you if they are interested in your work.
A few elements that will help you to build a strong online presence are a website, a portfolio of your work, and social media accounts. Each of these platforms serves different but equally valuable roles in strengthening your online presence.
- Website: A website is the main hub for your online presence. As you learn how to be a freelance worker, you’ll also learn how important an impressive website is for your business. It’s where you should have all of the information a client needs to know about your business. You’ll have pictures of your work, information about pricing, forms of contacts, and anything else a client needs for your business. Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly as a large majority of people are looking up information on their phones more than desktops these days.
- Portfolio: A portfolio is similar to a website, but is used specifically to showcase the work you have done. This will help clients to get an idea of what they can expect from working with you. Your portfolio could be listed on your site, or be its own site all-together.
- Social Media: Depending on the audience you are trying to reach, social media will be key in helping you find new clients. Like a portfolio, your social media accounts will be a place potential clients can get a feel for your work as well as you as a person. It also serves as a means of communication for prospective clients as they can direct message you or leave questions in the comments of your posts.
Set Up A Good Workspace
One important thing you need to do when learning how to be a freelance worker is to set up a good workspace. Whether it’s a home office or a rental office you have, you need to have a guaranteed space where you can go to get your work done.
If you are a parent that works at home, children can make having a home office a bit more difficult. If you have to be on phone or video meetings often, you’ll quickly learn that your biggest concern is whether your children will be loud or come into the office during the meeting. Part of having a good workspace for you may be considering some type of childcare when you need to get work done. Whether it’s a local daycare or even sending your child to an art summer camp while they’re out of school, have things lined up so you can work without worry of distraction.
Setting up a good workspace also means considering the type of activity that goes on around your office. For example, if part of your work consists of working with machinery or woodworking where materials can fly while you’re working on projects, you’ll want to consider safety measures like impact glass doors and proper protective clothing for yourself.
Have The Proper Tools To Get Work Done
When you’re running a business from your home you have to make sure you have the proper tools to get everything done. A big part of learning how to be a freelance worker consists of having the right tools to streamline your work and be quick and efficient.
It’s important to have the basics, like paper, pens and pencils, an inkjet printer and inkjet printer parts replacements, and even post-it notes. Even the basic items that you’d consider to be “school supplies” are very hand in running a business from home.
Beyond the basics you’ll need equipment specific to your line of work. If you have big tools or machinery that you need to complete jobs, but don’t have enough space to store them in your home or garage, you may consider renting an equipment trailer. This will ensure that your likely expensive tools are safe and protected when you’re not using them for work.
Sometimes there are tools you’ll need to complete a job that you can’t keep at home. For example, if part of your work consists of moving heavy items or lots of items at once, you may consider a forklift rental to get your jobs done. If so, make sure you find a reliable rental company to work with so you can be guaranteed your machinery whenever you need it.
A big part of being a freelance worker consists of sending materials via the postal service. Whether its contracts for clients or actual finished products, you want to be guaranteed that they will always reach their destination in a timely manner. This is why investing in insurance and guaranteed service refunds are important for freelancers. If your products ever don’t arrive in time or arrive damaged, you want to make sure to be compensated for the loss and mailing insurance will allow you to get that.
Finding work is arguable one of the most difficult things you learn as you figure out how to be a freelance worker. Finding work for freelancers really depends on the type of work you’re doing. For example, if you write content for business sites, you’ll likely be able to find a lot of potential job listings on freelance websites. If you offer a crane service for landscaping and moving large objects, freelance job sites may not be your best bet. Here are some of the top freelance job sites you can count on to find job opportunities.
- People Per Hour
You may not consider transportation an important thing to consider when preparing to launch your freelance career. However, when you’re learning how to be a freelance worker, you’ll find that transportation is extremely important. You’ll likely be traveling to have meetings with potential clients, running errands to pick up equipment or tools, and even traveling to complete jobs.
While you may not make enough to have your own personal private jet charter, there may be times where you have to travel longer distances by plane for meetings. For trips like this, make sure to keep track of money spend on plane tickets and other purchases that could be considered business write-offs for your taxes.
For more local travel, you’ll want to have a reliable mode of transportation. If you have an older car, you’ll want to make sure to keep it up to date on maintenance checkups. Find some of the local auto parts stores near you so if you have to do some work on your car, you’ll be able to quickly grab the parts you need and get your car back to working condition.
If your car is having a lot of issues and you find yourself traveling often for work, it may be time to consider a new car or more reliable mode of transportation. The last thing you want as a freelancer is to be consistently late for meetings or work due to your car.
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