In 2019, around 35% of U.S workers were freelancers.
We often imagine freelancers tapping away at a computer by the beach or a similar idyllic location. While freelancing has its perks, there are some not-so-great aspects of the job. Perhaps you’re embarking on your freelancing career and you want to know what it’s really like.
Sound familiar? If yes, you’ve come to the right place. Here are nine things you may not know about freelance work.
1. Flexible Routine
A major perk of becoming a digital nomad is that you curate your daily routine. To make your days productive, it’s important to wake up, get ready, and start work at the same time on workdays so your body becomes attuned to it.
But working remotely also gives you flexibility. For instance, if you have a bad night’s sleep you can reorganize your workday so you can lie in. You can also head to the coffee shop to switch it up or work outside when the weather’s fantastic.
2. Must Strike the Perfect Work-Life Balance
When you’re working from home, the line between work and play is blurred which becomes problematic. Because of this, you should start at a specific time and even if you haven’t finished everything, finish at the same time each day. If not, you’ll end up working into the night and you won’t have time to properly relax.
Finding the perfect balance takes time but aim to achieve your work tasks by the weekend so you can spend time with your loved ones and visit new places.
3. Legal Research is Crucial
A downside of remote work is making sure you’re properly doing taxes and following your state’s employment legislation requirements. For instance, check whether you need a registered address for your remote office or if you need a business license.
Researching your state’s tax requirements is crucial because you don’t want any penalties. Find out whether you must pay monthly or quarterly and if you’re working abroad, check what you’re liable to pay because you don’t want any nasty surprises later on.
4. Understand What You Offer
Freelancers are essentially a small business so like you would with a company, figure out what makes you unique and which skills you can capitalize on.
Start by figuring out who your target audience is and how you can benefit them. You should also research the market to ensure your skills are in demand along with the average rates so you know what to charge. This stage is crucial because it’ll give you an idea of how much you’ll make in a year and if pursuing a freelance career full-time is feasible.
5. Develop Productive Systems
How productive you are will make or break your business because if you slack, you won’t be able to pay the bills. It’s important to consider the logistics of your workweek like where you’ll set up the office or how many hours you’ll work each day.
You should also start with an accounting system so you can refer back to invoices, a lifesaver when it’s time to file your taxes. Plus, invest in time-management tools and find out your optimal productivity time.
Further, it’s crucial to remember that you’re the boss so you can turn down projects that don’t interest you especially if you have too much going on. If not, you’ll become burned out and unmotivated. As a general rule, set out your business hours and stick to them so clients know when to contact you.
6. Community is Essential
Many freelancers thrive around other people so find other digital nomads as they’ll offer valuable advice while keeping you company. Check out local coworking spaces or freelancer Facebook groups as they’ll become an essential support system during your freelancing career.
Further, freelancers will also help you emotionally. You may feel frustrated by a client’s unreasonable remand or rejection so it’s important to have several people you can vent to because they’ve likely been in similar situations.
7. You Must Learn to Work With Clients
Unless you’ve had the experience, it’s tricky navigating the world of clients when you’re a newbie. You must quickly learn how to negotiate reasonable freelancing rates and deal with a client’s demands.
Don’t be afraid to start at a low rate as long you steadily increase it once you’ve gained more experience.
8. Can Be Lonely
Nearly 64% of freelancers say they feel lonely compared to 29% of office workers.
You’ll likely have the house to yourself on weekdays apart so get used to long hours alone. Freelancing is often ideal for introverts but if you thrive in a lively office environment then consider this before starting your freelance career.
9. You Must Hold Yourself Accountable
There’s no one monitoring your productivity or whether you’re developing new skills, only you’re responsible for meeting deadlines and producing high-quality work. Regularly check-in with yourself to see which areas you’re struggling with or where you could be more productive. Once you’re accountable, you’ll improve your craft and see an increase in revenue.
That’s Everything About Freelance Work
Now you know the truth about freelance work and how it’s not always perfect.
Before starting your freelancing career, figure out tax requirements, whether there’s a demand for your skillset, and where you’ll find clients. There’s no perfect time but as long as you constantly monitor your progress, practice self-discipline, and find a robust support system, freelancing will be an exciting venture. Good luck!
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