Essential guide to becoming a freelancer
Working for yourself can be extremely rewarding. How do you go about becoming a freelancer and being your own boss? Read on to find out.
Freelancing is becoming a major force in the world of work. Nearly 40 percent of the US workforce is now freelance, up from 36 percent in 2021, and this increase is showing no signs of slowing down. Depending on your industry, you might find that being your own boss is the right step for you to take.
Most freelancers in the US are providing “knowledge services”, which encompasses specialist fields like marketing, IT, business consulting and similar professions. However, there are all sorts of people engaged in the freelance market, and you will be able to find a place no matter your profession.
So how do you go about becoming a freelancer? The simple answer is that you find some clients, charge whatever price you think is fair and start working as your own boss. Structure is a vital key to staying on top of being your own boss. However, there are plenty of other steps to consider. Here are the main things you’ll need to know when you become self-employed.
Getting hold of clients is easier said than done. You can cold call businesses who might be interested, but this is time consuming and not the most effective option. It might be worthwhile finding a platform that allows you to find work online, matching you up with potential clients.
There are plenty of options for you, including:
- People Per Hour
- Flex Jobs
All of these have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s worth doing your research to find which one is right for you. Then it’s just a matter of signing up and finding gigs through the platform.
Staying on top of your finances
Perhaps the most important thing as a freelancer is making sure you are financially stable. This means you will have to keep detailed books and make sure you know where all your money is going. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; you can claim a lot of expenses on your taxes as a freelancer, meaning you will pay less tax the more you spend on the business.
However, in order to do this, you will need to keep your receipts and make sure you are filling out everything correctly. Doing your taxes can sometimes be a challenge for freelancers, but there are plenty of resources available such as pre-printed kits that can help you manage everything.
Remember that you will likely have to pay for some services – such as work platforms or accounting software – that are essential for your job. Factor these into your monthly expenses and you should find it’s much easier to stay on top of things.
Becoming a freelancer can be a great step for your career. Although your income will likely be less consistent, you will be able to charge a higher rate than you would be earning as a waged employee. There’s also the freedom that comes with being in control of your own career. Just make sure you’re taking the right steps to secure your finances and you will likely find freelancing to be extremely rewarding.
Working out your rates
Pricing your work is difficult for many freelancers at first. How much should you be charging for a job? The answer will depend on a lot of things, including any materials you will need to buy, the complexity of the work and the overall prices in your industry, so you will need to do a bit of research. However, the most important thing to bear in mind is time.
Charging per hour is often the best way for freelancers to ensure they are getting a fair price for their labor. Worldwide, the average freelance rate is $28 per hour according to the Pioneer 2022 Global Freelancer Income Report. In North America the average is higher, at $44 per hour. You can use this to roughly work out how much you should be charging to get a fair wage.