What you wish you knew before you started – 4 freelancing tips
Freelancing – the much lauded bastion of freedom! It is not without its perils though and the new freedom may come with even more burden than you had before.
So what can you do to make sure this venture works out? How can you give yourself the best chance of success?
1) Know your finances
Your potential earnings will dictate how this freelance adventure will go. How do you charge? Will you have enough work? Do you have mortgages and regular payments that need critical servicing?
The boring bit is budgeting and forecasting and that is what you need to do now before anything else.
Sit down and do a basic income vs expenditure budget by plugging in your proposed rate of pay next to a reasonable prediction of work and compare it against your budgeted expenses.
What did you get? Is it viable? A close shave? Or totally manageable? There’s no point exposing yourself if your rent won’t get paid.
Keep in mind you will also be paying your own taxes! So be sure to look at the accounting software you will need and factor in your tax bill when forecasting your earnings. You should certainly also chat to a bookkeeper before making the leap to understand your new tax position better – they will have all the answers.
It may feel natural to some and alien to others but self promotion is the key to success in freelancing – you are selling yourself and your skills after all.
So don’t sell yourself short, make sure to put together a great profile promoting your experience, skills and superior services.
Don’t lie but certainly don’t downplay your value – make yourself shine.
Make sure to create a really impressive portfolio which only contains your best work with zero filler – its quality not quantity your clients want to see. You also can’t hope to snag many clients without impressive prior work to show. Would you hire someone without an impressive resume and proof of valuable work?
3) Get yourself out there
Freelancers must push their services and make themselves as visible as possible to ensure steady valuable work.
To do this you need to spread your net wide and maintain its integrity.
Start with a website with all of your portfolios, contact details, specialties and service promises. Now add as many business social accounts as you think you can handle and will actually use. Add yourself to groups in places like LinkedIn and start to build a presence. Consider a small ad budget for LinkedIn or Facebook.
You may find you need more than active social function though and will need to cold call and email various companies to offer your services.
You may find a job board site that suits you and can give you constant exposure and job offers. You should b using as many methods as possible to reach out to prospective clients and make sure you have a professional web presence when they find you.
4) Make it real
Have you completed a budget, talked to a bookkeeper, setup your web presence, attracted clients and put yourself out there? OK, it’s time to get real because you are committed!
Get the equipment you will need for freelancing first – do you need a new laptop? A mobile or tablet? New software? A desk? New WiFi routers or home office supplies?
Think about intangible things too like a business bank account and credit card to keep your business expenses separate for tax time.
Are you able to setup at home or do you need a co-working space or rental? Will you need vehicles or tools?
Also think to more mundane things like setting up your ABN and self managed super fund. What about GST? Find out if GST applies to you.
Last but not least – go and quit that job you have been grinding at and dive into the fresh world of freelancing.