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Many people in the workplace have considered freelancing at least once or twice in their working life. Who wouldn’t want to be their own boss? When I heard the word freelancing, the first thing that came to mind was all the free time I might have. There would be no more sitting in traffic and I could have control over my own schedule. However, there is a lot more to freelancing that I hadn’t considered. There is a lot of work and preparation involved in freelancing. So, before you leave your permanent position, make sure you understand what freelancing means and what it takes to succeed.
What is Freelancing?
Freelancing is defined as the process of doing pieces of work for different organisations instead of working for one organisation all the time. Simply put this means that you are self-employed, and you are the owner of your own business.
Most of the services needed by businesses can be provided by a freelancer. The most common freelance opportunities include Accounting/Bookkeeping, Graphic Design, Marketing, Project Management, Social Media Manager, Teaching/Tutoring, Virtual Assistant, Web Design/Development, Writing and Video editing.
Freelance income depends on the skills offered, your experience, and the market you’re targeting. Skills that require formal education or experience, such as accounting or website coding, generally pay more than skills that don’t require any formal education.
You can freelance full time or part-time it really depends on what you want. There are a lot of online platforms that provide you with the necessary tools to promote your services as a freelancer. When you start freelancing you only need to know what you are good at and improve it along the way. You also need to decide what you want to specialise in and focus on that.
Understanding your business
From my personal experience, understanding the business side of freelancing is as important as understanding your skills. You need to understand all the skills and services that you are providing to your clients and the value of those skills and services. Invoicing and budgeting are necessary components that you will need to learn as a freelancer to help you survive financially. This way of work needs to be treated like a business, you need to understand the pros and cons of freelancing.
The most basic component that I feel every freelancer needs to understand is invoicing. Invoicing means that you must create a document that outlines the service you have delivered to your client. In order to get this right, make sure that you have agreed on the deliverables and the rates beforehand. If you aren’t on the same page, then the client might reject your invoices and you might not get paid.
The same as any other business, you need to invest in your business for the first few months. You also need to keep track of your expenses and bills and keep receipts safe. These first couple of months are not easy, as it is a learning curve, but once you get to grips with things, you will start realising that there are a lot of benefits to freelancing.
Benefits of Freelancing
As a freelancer, I have learnt that you get a lot of freedom and a chance to steer forward without restrictions. Here are more benefits of freelancing:
Choose your working hours.
Freelancing allows you to be flexible. You can choose to work full time or part-time on projects of your choice.
Choose where you want to work.
You can choose the location you want to work from. Freelancing is a great opportunity for those who want to have more control.
Be independent and in control of your work.
Clients can set specifications for the work they want to be done, as a freelancer you are an independent contractor, not an employee, so you can accept the project or walk away. You can also control how and when the work is completed. Remember though, if your clients are not satisfied with the final product, you might find yourself out of the gig economy very quickly.
Earn what you’re worth.
Freelancing allows you to set the price for your services, and it’s usually higher than what you would make as an employee doing the same job. You need to charge enough to cover your overheads and to compensate you fairly for the time it will take you to do the work.
If you can provide a certain service, you most likely already have the equipment or software you need to deliver it. You shouldn’t face steep start-up costs.
High demand for freelancers.
The freelance marketplace is very competitive, the need for quality, reliable freelancers is growing. Most businesses don’t have employees these days. They rely upon freelancers instead. This way of work is growing because there is less risk for companies. Freelancers are hired when there is work only, meaning the company saves the cost of a salary being paid each month for non-productive employees.
Increased work/life balance.
When you can choose what you want to do and when you want to do it, as well as what you’re paid and who you work with, you feel happier and more in control of your life.
I have also learnt that throughout your freelancing journey you will learn a lot. You need to understand that you are your own brand and you need to work hard for your brand. You must fight for your brand so that it can grow, and you can get more clients. This is a world of competition; you need to be determined and work hard.
Good luck on your freelancing journey!