How to Make a Career as a Freelancer

The pandemic shaped the new world. Remote work options, and communicating via online channels have become the new normal in the world. It is safe to say that a copious amount of employees lost their jobs last year, but as they say, when a door closes, a window of opportunity always opens up.

In this context, the window is freelancing work. The option to freelance always existed, but from the past decade, it has been skyrocketing. 

Opting for freelancing as a career gives you freedom and independence. Freelancers are often self-employed and provide services to businesses and clients. Freelancing gives individuals the freedom to provide these services to multiple clients at a time.

Freelancers can work in a variety of industries like marketing, social media marketing, copy-writing, publicity, writing, web programming and design, bookkeeping, financial support, and even creative work like graphic design.

Freelancing not only gives you freedom but also provides flexibility. A freelancer is free to work according to their schedule. They can set their own hours, decide to work full-time or part-time, and even choose the projects and clients they want to work with. All these aspects set a freelancer apart from a 9 to 5 employee.

A freelancer is more like an independent contractor who is offering services and can control how the work is to be done. This distinction is important to note, as this is taken into account when paying taxes. The Income-tax Department views employees and independent contractors differently, and thus the taxes for both are different.

Freelancers also have the opportunity to set their own prices for the services they render to different clients. This price is often higher than an employee would make working at an office.

The industry determines the length of a relationship between a freelancer and a client. As the regularity of work in freelancing can vary. Some freelancers like web design freelancers are often hired for a project, like developing a website.

And when the website is up and running the contract is over and so is the working relationship between client and freelancers. While others like, freelance writers can have the same clients for a long period depending upon their requirements.

They might hire a freelance writer for an ongoing project that requires submission of 1-2 articles every week. So they can have a working relationship with the client as long as the project is running.

There are many benefits when a person decides to go freelance, and some of them are:

#1- Flexibility- The joy of working solo

We are not against a 9 to 5 routine, but the generation has changed, and so are their preferences. Today, more people have spontaneous bursts of energy at any given time of the day, and they prefer to work like a beast in this period.

But our system does not allow them. The main benefit of going freelance is you can work according to your schedule as long as you deliver the project on time and this is the kind of freedom most employees crave.

Along with the option to work on their own hours, freelancing allows them to work from anywhere, from home, cafe, or any other place. This freedom dulls the geographical boundaries and freelancers can take on projects from anywhere in the world, as long as they have a stable internet connection. 

#2- Variety of Projects

If you are someone who gets bored from the repetition of work, then freelancing may be the best fit for you.

Freelancing allows you to take a dive into the pool of opportunities. A freelancer can work with clients from different industries and choose the projects that appeal to them. Freelancing helps you build an extensive portfolio with different badges on it.

You can have an opportunity to learn from all the new challenges and grow with them. It truly gives you exposure in your field, making you a jack of all trades. Say goodbye to getting bored sitting on your desk and doing the same repetitive task for the millionth time.

When you decide to go freelance, you will have plenty of options to keep you engaged.

#3- Choose your Clients

Let’s admit it, we have all had clients who drove us crazy and we would have given anything to get rid of them. But our job didn’t let us, so we felt stuck and had to serve their bizarre demands while putting on a smiley face.

Well, that will not happen in freelancing, not only you get to choose your own projects but also, the people you want to work with. There will be no compulsion to serve a client because your Team Leader told you to.

You will have an option to say “NO” and save yourself from days of bickering and nitpicking. You will not have to work with people who go against your moral objectives and simply do not value your work. You can deny them and keep looking for better clients. 

#4 – Valuing your Work

We all know that freelancing doesn’t provide financial security as a full-time job. We constantly have to give our 100% to every project to get paid, while in a full-time job, we sometimes let loose and let it affect our performance.

Even though freelancing can be a bit challenging and keep us on our toes it makes us understand the value of our work. We don’t just let fate decide anything for us, but we get up to perform well and earn recognition and money via our skills and talents.

The constant rush makes us aware of the uncertainty of the market, and we tend to have multiple backup plans “just in case”. This actually makes us better at understanding the value of financial security and what working hard means. 

#5- You will same some extra expenses

Although this is not the best perk of freelancing, it is a perk nonetheless — working as a freelancer allows you to save some expenses like the cost of commuting.

If you used your car, your petrol, diesel money would be saved, and if you travelled via public transport then no more fares. Also, freelancing saves you some other expenses that come while we work a full-time job like food expenses, if you organize your work smartly at home, you will get some spare time to cook your meals.

Freelancing will also save you the money you had to spend on dressing well when you work in an office. But at home, you can work in your PJs or loungewear.

These are some of the benefits of working as a freelancer. If you are intrigued then listed below are some ways you can start freelancing as a career.

Essentials to Start Freelancing as a Career

#1- Have a Set Vision

So you have decided to try your hand at freelancing. The first things first you need to be prepared for. Not just financially but mentally as well.

Like every job, freelancing can also take some time for you to get a hang of. You will not receive clients on your very first day, but you will have to keep trying until you succeed. 

First, you have to make yourself believe that no matter what you can do it. That will only happen when you actually start to look for leads in the market and begin working as a freelancer. Until then, you will have to motivate yourself internally and keep going. 

When the fog of uncertainty and doubt will clear, you will find yourself in a place of sheer excitement where you will be the master of your work.

To determine which path you have to go, just ask yourself some simple questions, like “why are you doing it?”, “will the clients you are targeting favor it?”. This will help you succeed in freelancing. 

#2- Select the structure of the business

Freelancing is not just a hobby that people do on the side to earn some extra money. But it can be a full-fledged and functional working business plan. More and more employees are quitting their jobs to go freelance full time.

The structure of your business depended on your needs. You can have it listed as a legal entity or sole proprietorship, the choice is all yours. Many freelancers choose to establish their business as a limited liability company as it can have many benefits legally.

To figure out which structure you want for your business, sit down and make a business plan. Keep your goals in mind and research thoroughly. You will find out the advantages you will get after registering your business in set structures. List them down and decide on one.

If you are too overwhelmed and you have no clear idea of where to begin, then don’t panic. You do not have to register your company right away. You can do it later once you have some clients and have earned confidence that you can do it.

But we will suggest that you have a tax plan and arrange the accounting of your business as well. 

#3- Design Material for Marketing

After you have a clear vision of your business and you have decided on how to structure it. The next step would be to let people know that you are launching your business in the market. The best way to do so that is through marketing materials. Don’t worry, we are not telling you to buy billboards and run ads on TVs, some small steps would suffice. 

Start by creating a social media account solely for your business, create a website (if you can), and let your website and social media account reach as many people as possible. Order some business cards for your new business and reach out to your family, friends, and connections.

Let them know about your business, ask them to share your website, social media account, and business cards in your circle. It will increase your chance of getting noticed and who knows maybe bring you a ton of business. 

You will be amazed by how fast these networks work. But before they refer you to their connections, make sure you explain to them about your business model and the services you provide. Miscommunication can lead to some awkward interactions.

#4- Create a Kickass Portfolio

We strongly advise you to only launch your freelance business when you have the right experience in providing the services you mentioned while marketing.

If you don’t have enough exposure in the field, then wait and gain some exposure. Create a file of quality samples that you can showcase as you offer those services.

A strong portfolio increases your chances of getting a project. Invest your time and create a portfolio that showcases your talents and skills. If you have successfully completed projects from different industries, it will be a huge selling point.

Since your portfolio is the only tangible item that clients will check before giving you any project. It is of utmost importance that your portfolio is no short of impressive. If you don’t have a strong portfolio, then you should wait while you gain some experience and create a portfolio.

Creating a portfolio is not complicated, but it does take some time and effort to create a portfolio that will get you noticed. A portfolio is a collection of all the impressive work you have done in the past. If you don’t have any work to showcase, then create some samples to showcase to your clients and get a kickstart on freelancing as a career

#5- Build Financial Processes

When starting any business, it is essential to focus on all the finances. Keeping a track of them will help you get a clear idea of how much you are spending and what are your profits.

To be on the safe side create a template of the invoice you are going to send to your clients, set the prices for all the services you are offering, and calculate the taxes.

Keeping track of your finances from the start will keep the mess at bay and help you get a clear idea of your monthly income. You can also keep a record of all the services you rendered and how much you made from each project.

#6- Believe in Yourself

The most important element of running any business and making it profitable is belief. If you keep doubting your abilities, skills, and experience it will be reflected in your work.

The process of success begins when you stop selling yourself short and believe in the quality of services you are providing.

Instead of panicking and doubting your abilities, keep your mind clear and focus on the work. The business will have some ups and downs, don’t lose your heart, keep working dedicatedly, and it will surely show positive results.

Conclusion 

Even though freelancing as a career looks appealing, it comes with its set of challenges. Make sure you are mentally prepared to face these challenges before you leave your job and dive into the world of freelancing.

If you have the right mindset and determination you will make it as a freelancer. Keep the resources, courage, and confidence near to help you when the situation becomes challenging. 

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