Taking the Plunge: Tips to Kick-starting Your Freelance Career
All too many people are unhappy with their career path. Worse still, a large percentage of the adult population has given up on a dream career in order to dedicate themselves to doing what they feel will earn them a steadier income. And it certainly is true that a career spent freelancing is a career spent aware that money can fluctuate greatly from month to month. So how can you take a chance on your dream job, freelancing and yet taking all the right steps?
Budgeting is key to a happy, financially healthy career as a contractor. As your income will be irregular, you’ll need to be absolutely sure you can stretch what comes. Make a spreadsheet of your monthly outgoings, and rate them in order of importance. If you get more money than expected one month, set aside the extra for a rainy day; they are far more likely to come when you can’t count on a salaried pay. It can be very tempting to spend extras on something nice, but it is a better idea to ensure you have some cushion in the form of savings.
Make sure you get any benefits you’re entitled to. For many people in two-income families, these will be limited due to their partner’s income, but if you’re on your own or your partner doesn’t earn very much you can count on some help from the government. Don’t turn this down; if you qualify then that’s another bit of money you can count on on a regular basis.
Invest in a page-a-day diary and use it! Many people buy these and never make use of them, or use only online calendars, but what if your internet service provider has an issue and you can’t get online for a few days? You’ll still need to know what’s on your to-do list, so a pen-and-paper diary will help you keep track of your workload even in such situations. Don’t combine your work diary with the family’s; you need one place where everything is purely work-oriented.
Business cards may seem overblown, but they can make a huge difference. Buy some; Vistaprint does not offer the greatest quality, but they do have some excellent deals to help you save money. Paying a designer a bit of money to design a professional-looking logo is well worth the money, too, and you should certainly use this logo on your business cards. A website, again, is a must even if your work is not digitally relevant. Many people look for plumbers, carpenters, and any other type of freelancer online and you can expect a website to benefit you in terms of finding and retaining work, too.
Freelancing seems like an impossible venture, but if you’re prepared to put in some long hours while you get going, you have a reasonable chance of achieving everything you dreamed of!