5 Things to think about when going freelance

Many people dream of setting up their own business where they can put good use to those skills and talents that mean something to them, whether that’s freelance photography or creating and selling crafts. But while deciding to become a freelancer can be an exciting move, it isn’t easy, and there’s a lot to think about to ensure you’re fully prepared before you go it alone. With this in mind, here are five things to think about when going freelance to help make sure your freelancing business gets off to a good start.

Supporting yourself

Making sure you have a good amount of money to support yourself is essential when going freelancing. Yes, your decision to go it alone might well pay dividends, eventually, but it probably won’t happen overnight. You’ll also have those peaks and troughs, not to mention those not-so-good days, weeks, and even months when very little work is coming in. So it’s a good idea to have about six months of cash in the bank to help you get by for when your freelancing stint begins. Applying for a loan or a cash advance from a bank or a business service provider can help give you the support you need. This can help reduce any unnecessary stress, while allowing you to focus on getting your freelancing off the ground.

Sorting out the legal stuff

Going freelance means that you’re the person who will need to sort out all the considerably boring, but necessary, legal paperwork. Things like admin, accounts, taxes and insurance. You should think about spending time researching areas like insurance to ensure you make decisions that are right for your freelancing business. For instance, if you’re creating and selling toys and crafts for children, you should consider purchasing product liability insurance. This would help protect you if one of your customers made a claim against you about the safety of your products. It’s wise to also think about paying an accountant to sort out your yearly taxes for you, especially if you’re not feeling too confident about doing them yourself.

Building a portfolio

Having a strong and impressive portfolio is crucial as a freelancer. It enables you to showcase your work at every opportunity, which helps to promote you and keep work coming in. This could include a well-crafted collection of your best photos if you’re looking into becoming a freelance photographer, or your most impressive illustrations if you’re hoping to become a freelance graphic designer. A portfolio is something you should be prepared to build and adapt over time to keep it current and reflect your different skills. It’s important to also make your portfolio accessible, so it can be viewed on your website or quickly emailed when a potential client gets in touch.

Not being choosy about work

Your dreams of becoming a successful freelancer might involve you designing some exciting branding for a trendy high-street retailer, or doing a photoshoot for a popular fashion magazine. But, while you might have a clear vision of where you want to go, this doesn’t mean you should turn away those opportunities that are, let’s say, less appealing. When you’re new to freelancing, you can’t afford to be picky and choosy about the work you do. You should instead be prepared to do any work that comes your way, no matter how dry, dull and mundane. Not only will this help keep money coming in. It will also help build up your skills, experience, your list of contacts and your reputation.

Being your own boss

Finally, it’s important to consider that when you’re a freelancer you are your own boss. While not having to answer to anyone can sound like bliss, it also has its disadvantages. For instance, when you’re employed, your manager can give you that much-needed kick up the behind if you’re not pulling your weight or feeling less motivated. But in freelancing, you need to be prepared to do this yourself. From planning your monthly work goals to setting your own deadlines and daily working hours, you need to be disciplined to make sure work gets done, get done well and on time, and clients and customers are kept happy. Only then can your freelancing business have the chance of becoming a real success.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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