Working as a Freelancer: What You Need to Know

Making the decision to go from a part- or full-time job to being a freelancer isn’t without its considerations. While the idea of working for yourself and establishing your own clientele can be attractive, there are certain aspects of freelancing that you have to be aware of before you take the plunge. It’s not always an easy experience, but if you know what to expect and plan ahead, you’ll be more successful in the long run.


Finding Your Own Work

Regardless of whether you’re a freelance writer, accountant or designer, you and you alone are responsible for landing your own work and establishing your own client base. While clients may offer your name as a referral to others looking for your services, this isn’t always the norm. The hunt to find clients can be tedious, especially with the sheer number of competitors that you face, but it’s important to stay motivated. In an office, warehouse, or any other onsite job, you’re assigned a workload and specific tasks. With freelance work, you have to accept that some jobs are one-offs and will not lead to a steady income.

Work Ebbs and Flows

Not only do you have to find your own work, but you also have to understand that there will be ebbs and flows. There will be slow months, like around holidays when clients are not chomping at the bit to spend money due to operating budget limitations. In order to prepare ahead of time, it’s necessary to put money aside each month to help you get through the slow times.


You’re Responsible for Your Taxes

When you’re used to employers deducting taxes from your paycheck, it can be nice to see a payday that doesn’t show hundreds of dollars disappearing off the top. The problem, however, lies in the fact that you still have to pay these taxes and Uncle Sam will come collecting after the year’s over. Also, the amount you have to pay may be a shock. To make sure you take advantage of all your deductibles  — and trust us, you will need them — get in touch with one of the tax preparers nearby so you avoid owing the government too much.


Mistakes Are Costly

In your typical job, you learn from your mistakes which are (hopefully) caught by your superiors and easily fixed. If you make a mistake with a client as a freelancer, whether an inaccurate fact in an article or missing a deadline because you wrote down the wrong date, you run the risk of losing that client  — and their payments — to other freelancers. Be very diligent in your organization and recording deadlines, it could very well mean the difference of whether your client stays or goes.

It’s very possible to make a living freelancing, the proof is in the thousands of people who do it every year. However, being prepared is essential for success, especially when it comes to tax time. Knowing what’s involved and especially how to please your clients will take you a long way in reaching your goal of being self-sustaining.