Going freelance? Here’s what you need to know

Going freelance? Here's what you need to knowThinking of going freelance? What’s one of the first things that comes to mind?

Most people think of things like finally getting to be their own boss. Managing their own time. Choosing the jobs they want, and so on.

But what many don’t realize, is that going freelance is much like starting up your own business.

Money, money, money

Before you take the plunge, make sure you’ve got your finances in order.

As a freelancer, taxes, social security, healthcare and retirement plans are down to you.

Remember all the office supplies you used free of charge as an employee? Now you’ll be responsible for them. And that includes things like paying for your own business licenses, marketing, promotions and events, plus gas mileage.

You’ll also want to have a safety net of money for times when work may slow down.

Self-discipline

Look back at how you’ve performed at certain jobs or other responsibilities when you were working for someone else. Do you tend to procrastinate? Are you easily distracted?

Be honest with yourself and figure out if  you truly have the discipline to  work a certain number of hours every day.

Try to find ways to avoid being distracted early on.

Shooting for the stars

Be honest with yourself about what the future could hold. Most freelancers either don’t aim high enough and come out with poor results, or aim too high too fast and get discouraged.

If you make goals for yourself you’ll give yourself the chance to exceed your own expectations. And that’s good for your confidence as well as for business.

Create a timeline outlining your goals. Adjust it as time goes on when you see changes.

Location, location, location

Choose where you’re going to actually do your work before going freelance.

A coffee shop? A home office? A library? Pick a place you’ll feel comfortable, free of distractions, and can work efficiently, without interruption.

If you’ve got a couple of toddlers running around, your home may not be the best place to work!

The legal bits

If you’re going to be a freelancer, odds are you’ll be doing something that produces unique work for a client. Like if you’re a writer, a graphic designer, or website developer, for example.

If that’s the case, you need to know all the ins and outs of the laws governing your work.

Make sure you understand copyright laws, business laws for the self-employed, laws that govern financial components, tax law, liability issues, and so on.

And get covered too. Errors and omissions insurance will help protect your business if a client sues you for a mistake you’ve made.

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