Ahhh, the freelance life. Pajamas, coffee, laundry at leisure, and noon mimosas. Okay, so we might be glamourizing it just a bit but if you have found a way to go freelance, more power to you. Some of us are truly not designed for work in an office under a boss that micromanages. Of course, the freelance life can come with its own set of challenges, including chasing down paychecks, figuring out taxes, and landing the jobs to pay the bills. If you’re prepared, however, this can be a wonderful way of life. If you’re thinking about trying to make this work, we can help. Read on for tips on what every freelancer needs to succeed.
An Office or Quiet Place to Work
We know that not everyone has the luxury of having an extra room where they live to use as an office, but you at least need to have a designated area to work. It’s kind of like how Deepak Chopra has said that for optimal sleep one should only use the bedroom for sleep and sex. Don’t watch TV or even read in the bedroom, as your brain needs to associate it with the day coming to a close. Along the same vein, your office should be associated with working. And for optimal concentration, close any computers windows to distraction sites like Facebook. We all know how easy it is to go down the rabbit hole. Find a setup that lends itself to your productivity and go with it.
Top Notch Equipment
You might read that and think, “Cha-ching.” This will cost you up front but if you plan on making it in the freelance world, you need premium equipment in whatever field you’re freelancing in. Without it, you likely won’t succeed, as it’s hard to hit deadlines when things are breaking down or simply not up to speed. And while you’re paying a lot up front, having quality equipment will likely last you longer. Going freelance is also one of the many reasons to own an all-in-one computer. An AiO computer is quite simply one that is one unit as opposed to the monitor and tower. It has a smaller profile, takes up less space, and still functions the same as other desktops.
A Thriving Network
While this isn’t a tangible item, it’s likely the most important thing you need as a freelancer in order to succeed. The hardest part of going freelance is bringing in a steady workload (unless you’ve secured something long term freelance). In order to do this on a regular basis, you need to rub some elbows—whether it’s in person or through online networking. Create partnerships with other businesses that complement your own so you can get a referral system going. When someone gets asked about knowing someone with your skill set, you want this person to automatically think of you. As Huffington Post contributor and online marketing guru John Rampton has said, “My network is definitely the most valuable part of my business, and without my fellow entrepreneur friends I wouldn’t be nearly as far as I am today.”
Again, you are your business when you freelance, so you don’t have an accounting department that’s sending you your tax forms during tax season. It’s imperative that you keep track of your hours, payments, and taxes. As this article by Zapier.com notes, “Neglect to track your business income and expenses—or fail to make the required tax payments—and your freelancing career could be over. A disorganized approach to bookkeeping is almost always followed by the hard lesson of heavy tax penalties or lost income.” If you don’t trust yourself to handle this, you might even consider outsourcing this to a qualified accountant who has experience in handling freelancers, particularly if you’re bringing in a lot of work and money. This will help free you to get your projects done by their deadlines.
As with anything in life, there are benefits and drawbacks to freelancing. Make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row with the things mentioned in this article and you could have a long and prosperous career as your own boss.