Freelancing can be a great option whether you’re looking for more flexibility or control over your work. Working on your own schedule can allow you to stay at home to look after kids, or travel the world while working. These freedoms, however, often come with a few downsides.
The irregularity in freelance schedules means that income can be unpredictable, and you’ll often have to spend more time marketing yourself than ever before. That’s why it’s important to consider your strengths and interests before switching over to the freelance lifestyle.
To ensure success on your freelance journey, it’s a good idea to prepare for a few major changes. Financially, you’ll be responsible for many more expenses than with a traditional employer. Your payments for healthcare will be larger, and you’ll be responsible for paying all of your employment taxes. These expenses are usually covered by a company. To account for this and time spent marketing yourself, you’ll generally want to set your hourly rate at double what you want to actually bring home.
Many freelancers discover that working without an office or set hours can cause their work to overrun their lives. To maintain a healthy work-life balance, do your best to set regular hours and define a space to get your work done. Working fewer hours more efficiently will be incredibly beneficial to the quality of your work and your mental health.
The life a freelancer won’t always be easy, but it will definitely be rewarding. For more advice on how to survive life as a freelancer, check out this infographic by Fundera:
How to survive life as a freelancer
Your survival kit
On average you’ll pay US$397 per month on health insurance, so eat health and exercise to mitigate effects of high stress.
Have at least 3-6 months living expenses on hand to give yourself a buffer while you build up your income.
Set goals on how much you want to make each month and you’ll be 10 times as likely to reach your desired income.
Put out fires one at a time, no matter how busy you are, as juggling multiple tasks can reduce your productivity by 40 percent.
The secret weapon
If you’re in a design slump or writer’s block, take a walk or call on your support network for a brainstorm session.
Define your workspace to help you focus, or try a co-working space, where 89 percent of freelancers report feeling happier.
Find a mentor
70 percent of businesses that receive mentoring survive 5 years or more.
Find a niche to reduce your competition and become more familiar with your client’s needs.
31 percent of freelancers say they can find work online in less than 24 hours, so send cold pitch emails and join freelance sites.
Manage your time
Set boundaries around working hours and track how you spend your time to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Ask for adequate compensation for your services by pricing based on the value you create, rather than hours.
Find your community
Join freelance design or writing forums to find people that inspire and support you.
A graduate from The University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Communication Studies, Brigid is currently a Junior Content Marketing Specialist at Siege Media.