I know what you’re thinking. “You get to work whenever and wherever you want.” “You get to take 2 hour naps in the middle of the day.” “You can go to the gym when it’s nice and empty.” Well my friend, I hate to disappoint you but the Freelance Life is nothing like that. If anything, it’s way more work than your regular 9 to 5 job that you just told to fuck off.
But don’t fret, it’s all worth it. Plus, looking at the trends this is the way it’s going. There’s a name for it and I’m sure you’ve heard of it before…they call it The Gig Economy.
“The trend toward a gig economy has begun as a study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors.”TechTarget.com
Before You Jump
Congratulations! You’ve finally made that decision to go solo and try the Freelance Life. It wasn’t an easy decision to make so kudos to you for finding that courage. Buckle down cuz it’s going to get bumpy from here on out. But before you go into your boss’ office right this second and tell them to take this job and shove it, here’s a few tips you should do first:
Take an Audit of Your Current Expenses
First, take an audit of your current expenses. Get that down to an exact number. Eliminate those frivolous expenses like eating out, getting your daily dose of Starbucks coffee, disconnect your cable, switch to the lower tier plan for your phone, etc. Basically, get your expenses to a minimum. Now you know your monthly minimum that you will need to make from your freelancing business.
Build Up a Nest Egg
Now that you know your monthly minimum that you need to make from your freelancing, you’ll need to build up a nest egg. This can vary…some say to save up to last you 3 months, others say 1 year. 1 year seems a little excessive to me. I like to recommend 6 months. This gives you enough time to get your business off the ground and at the same time, motivates you to avoid procrastinating because you have a limited amount of time.
Get the legalities of having your own business out of the way. Start with registering a DBA. What’s a DBA? It’s an acronym for Doing Business As. If your name is anywhere in your business name, you do not need to file a DBA. If you are not using your name, then it’s best to file a DBA.
Also, select a business type…meaning, decide if you want to be Sole Proprieter, an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation), Incorporated, S Corp, etc. Since you’re starting out as a freelancer, I’d recommend choosing Sole Proprieter. You can always get liability insurance to cover yourself and your business.
Of course, do your own research to figure out what’s best for yourself and your business, as well as what you’ll need for your location. Visit your local Chamber of Commerce and the SBA (Small Business Association) to get more information. They usually have workshops and/or offer mentorships.
Create an Online Presence
There’s no better and faster way to network than with an online presence. I’m talking about your website. They are fairly inexpensive these days and if you don’t know anything about creating a website, there are many resources available. If you want to create a blog-style or portfolio website, take a look at WordPress.com. However, if you have products to sell and need an e-commerce website, I’d recommend Shopify.com. You’ll have to pay $29/mo for Shopify but you can easily get started and check things out with a free 14 day trial. And if you need some help or advice, that’s what I’m here for. Just send me a note through my homepage contact form.
Let’s not forget your social media accounts. Signing up for a social media account is free, so sign up if you haven’t already, start posting your work on them and use them to network.
Once you got your expenses sorted, saved up some money and created an online presence, go out there and network. Let your friends and family know that you are freelancing. Create a post on your website and social media announcing you’ll rule the world.
Join meetup.com and see if there are any opportunities there. You can join groups that are similar to your business to get insights and tips. But don’t forget to also join groups that you think would be your target audience.
Check out your local Chamber of Commerce…they usually have regular networking events.
These are just some basic but necessary tips to get the most out of the Freelance Life. If you would like me to go more in depth or if you have any questions, leave a note in the comment section below.