The world of employment is changing and not everyone is opting to be tied down to a company anymore. Instead, there are plenty of individuals who are now choosing to transition to freelance careers.
Becoming a freelancer though is a lot more difficult without the preparation or knowledge of how freelancing works. If it were easy, more people would be doing it.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the tips that are most helpful in transitioning from being employed. There are also plenty of benefits that come with freelancing and that are also worth mentioning.
The freelance market as of 2021
How has the freelance market changed over the years and where does it stand as of 2021? In 2020, there were 59 million people doing freelance work in the US alone. There has been a growing increase over the years with only 53 million people freelancing back in 2014.
The same goes for businesses and their preferences when it comes to hiring. According to small and medium-sized businesses, freelancers are proving to be game-changers for these organizations. 70% of SMBs in the US have worked with freelancers at least once and 81% of these companies plan to hire freelancers again.
Four tips for transition from employed to freelance
If you’ve considered making the change and transitioning to a freelance way of life, then knowing what you need is essential.
Before you consider the transition, it’s important to identify the industry you want to work in and its popularity for freelancers. Whilst a freelance career might sound exciting, your hopes might be dashed if the industry doesn’t really cater to it.
1. Sort out your finances
Even though freelancing can be limitless in the money you make, there’s also a lot of uncertainty. With that said, it’s beneficial to sort out your finances first. There are going to be months where you don’t earn so much and of course, there are certain benefits that being employed by a company permanently, bring.
If you struggle to maintain your finances and expenditures, then this is something you’ll want to refine and work on before leaving your current role. There are plenty of money management apps and methods that you can apply to your finances.
If you need something fairly basic, then Google Sheets is a perfect online tool to make use of. It also comes in an app form for money management on the go. It’s also free, making it the perfect tool for freelancers who are on a budget.
If you’re looking for something a little more advanced, then Quickbooks is a great option. The platform offers more than just management of your money but it can also help with invoicing and expenses.
It’s always worth having savings so that you can lean back on these when you have the odd month that’s not so financially positive.
2. Create an online presence
When becoming a freelancer, success doesn’t come overnight. It can take a while to build up a regular client list. It’s always good to create an online presence if you’ve not got one already.
As a freelancer, you may want to start by creating a website or a place to display your portfolio of work. You also want to put yourself on various platforms that are going to help you secure more work. For example, LinkedIn is a great place to network and to show that you’re available for work.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are good places to find work too, so it’s worth establishing profiles on these too.
3. Have knowledge of contracts and rates of pay.
Having knowledge of certain processes is beneficial for your freelance career. For example, you may be responsible for drafting up contracts on behalf of clients. Not every client may be able to create contracts and so sometimes the responsibility may land on you.
Contracts are important because they ensure fairness between both parties and to protect you from anything untoward happening as a result of no contract in place. So whether it’s a modeling management contract or a contract to be a wedding photographer, having knowledge of contracts can be good to have.
Rates of pay are also something to consider as most freelancers will often go off what other freelancers would typically charge. However, it can vary from industry to industry so it’s good to price up your services before selling them. You should always charge your worth and what you believe is the right amount for your skills and experience.
It can be hard to navigate a freelancing career, especially as you become responsible for everything you do. However, with practice, you’ll soon get the hang of it
4. Set boundaries to better your work-life balance.
Boundaries are important for any job, even if you’re a workaholic. Setting boundaries are even more essential when you’re a freelancer. The reason for this is that freelancing can often mean you’re working from home or working hours that aren’t necessarily 9-5.
There are tips that can help ensure you separate your personal life from your work life when working from home.
Keep a separate space for work
You should still separate your workspace from your personal space, even as a freelancer. With that in mind, you should try to find a room in your home that becomes your workspace.
The rest of the home should be your personal domain that you don’t bring any of your work life into. That way, you create a more harmonious environment for yourself.
Have set working times
Freelancers can end up working all hours of the day in order to cater to their clients. However, it’s important to set working times so that you can switch on and switch off. These set times might not be exactly the same every day but ultimately, you should make sure you have a start time and a finish time.
Know when to say no
It’s very easy to say yes but saying no is more difficult. We can often feel guilty for rejecting an offer of work, especially when you’re a freelancer. However, if you’re burning yourself out by taking on too much then it’s going to affect the quality of your work.
What are the benefits of becoming a freelancer?
There are a lot of benefits that come from being a freelancer. It’s worth knowing this when it comes to making a decision to take the plunge or not. Freelancing sounds like a dream scenario for many but it doesn’t always pan out that way, so it’s good to take these benefits with a pinch of salt.
With a full-time job, you have set hours and typically you’d get a lunch break. As a freelancer, the hours you do aren’t always going to be the same every day. However, there is a lot more flexibility on offer than that of permanent employment. You can set your own hours according to the needs of your clients and how many hours are required in order for you to get the work done.
With flexibility, you get the freedom to take time off when you need to and that can come in handy when you have other commitments and responsibilities, like a family for example.
No limit on the money you earn
When it comes to earning money, a set paycheck is the security net you receive when fully employed. However, when you’re a freelancer you can earn any amount you set your mind to. That means there’s no limit and some individuals can thrive with this financial opportunity.
Everyone would love the option of earning more and whilst full-time employment comes with the occasional pay rise or bonus, it’s not quite what freelancing can provide. However, the downside to freelancing is that you’re not guaranteed to earn the same amount every month.
Be your own boss
Being your own boss is something that many people like the sound of but the reality means you have to be highly organized and strict with yourself. However, that can work for many of those who don’t like having a boss or manager to deal with on a daily basis.
When there’s no one above you but the expectations of your client, it can be quite a liberating experience in comparison to other jobs you may have had previously.
Run a business that’s yours
As a freelancer, you do effectively have a business, whether that’s an officially registered one or not. You are the owner of yourself as a freelancer, meaning you have the decision-making powers every time. It can also be a great way of establishing a reputation when the business is something that’s well-known.
Transitioning from employed to freelance isn’t always easy, so it’s good to have this knowledge before you go quitting your job for greener pastures. Preparation is key and if you’ve got the drive and talent, success is likely to follow.