Is A Freelance Career For You? How To Turn It Full Time [2021]

While anyone can attempt to start freelancing, knowing what it takes to make it more than just a hobby will set you on the right path.

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Working as a freelancer is something that generates more interest every day, for that reason, there are currently approximately 1.1 billion freelancers around the world. 

There are many benefits that are heard about working from home, managing your own clients and the most popular: being your own boss. 

However, there are still people who prefer to dedicate themselves to a job in a company where they have to meet a schedule since it also brings many benefits. 

For that reason, you may have some doubts as to whether having a freelance career is something that suits you. 

Because of that, you should evaluate everything that this way of working entails and see if it suits what you are looking for professionally, but in summary, it is an excellent job option that gives you flexibility.

What Does A Freelance Career Involve 

 

You will know that a freelancer career is for you if you would like to have a flexible schedule, work from home, and above all, boost your own business. 

Leading a freelancer career means attending different areas yourself in order to grow professionally.

A freelancer is a self-employed person, they work without a dependency relationship and can do so for several clients who hire their professional services. 

The work areas in which a freelancer can perform can widely vary from projects that can be done online such as programming, graphic designer, web design, translation, or management of social networks. 

But also face-to-face work such as photography, sales, private classes, event organization, and much more.

A freelancer can work part or full time and since they are not permanent employees, they can carry out their work at their own pace as long as the client’s requirements and the established deadline are met. This allows them more freedom than the average employee. However, nothing is as easy as it sounds, if you want to be a successful freelancer you must meet some requirements.

To Start Your Freelance Business You Will Need

 

1. Discover Your Ideal Client

 

You have a general idea of the services you are going to offer, so you should familiarize yourself with your ideal client first. 

Know the type of client you want to attract. Man or woman? How old are you? What is your financial situation? What is going to make me trust you? What is your biggest frustration or need right now? How are you going to solve those needs? 

Answering these kind of questions will help you know where to aim. It is easier to try to satisfy a specific group of people than everyone.

2. Define Your Services

 

What is your job? Every time you hear this question, understand that what it really means is, “What can you do to make my life easier or better?” Write down everything you like to do and also write what people expect of you.

Then, within that list, select the things that will bring you an amount of income that satisfies you. This way you will find the balance between what you like to do and what would be profitable for you. 

Source: freelancermap.com

3. Develop Your Brand Identity

 

It is time to create a visual identity that matches all the decisions you have made above. If you are a designer, enjoy the whole process as if you were your own client. 

If you are not a designer you can hire a freelance professional who will translate the personality of your brand into a design, or take the initiative and use apps like Canva to make your own designs for free.

4. Create A Good Portfolio

 

You do not need to include everything you have done in your portfolio. You just have to include the best projects. Very few people are going to scroll through your 103 designs or articles. 

However, if you have seven projects that attract your ideal client and respond to the quality they expect, you will have all the work done.

5. Your Contracts And Other Documents

 

It is recommended that you always prepare a contract for each client (even with your friends) and for this, you can use AND.CO

In any case, it is about clearly stating what the other person can expect of you and protecting you from people adding services that they thought were implicit. 

Do not forget to develop documents such as a price sheet, a PDF of the process you are going to develop, and any other information that can be communicated regularly.

6. Decide On Your Billing And Payment System

 

Among the things that a freelance business requires, the billing and payment system is something crucial to set, especially if you will be working with clients who may not be in the same location as you. 

You have to define what is the best way to bill and whether you will accept payments online. 

A Typical Day Of A Freelancer

 

If you have worked in an office or for someone your whole life, you will surely be intrigued by how a freelancer works. 

The reality is that it is a very personal process as it depends on the productivity level and the availability of each person. 

However, in general, they all follow a similar structure, and while you cannot necessarily prepare for it, knowing it will help you understand how it works and how you could adapt.

On a workday a freelancer should usually:

– Send emails.
– Chase payments.
– Have a meeting.
– Get in touch with their customers.
– Deliver projects or tasks.
– Plan things to do.
– Evaluate the performance of their day.

Here is an example of how you can prepare your workday and what to do each day: 

Start By Planning Your Day

 

To start the day, the idea is that you make a to-do list and order the tasks in order of priority. 

So you will know where to start, taking into account the date and time of delivery and the complexity of each task. 

Having an agenda or using apps that help you remember all the things you have to do is excellent to be responsible with all your clients and so that your work does not accumulate. 

Some apps you can use are Asana, Trello, and Monday. This way you will also avoid the stress of the overload of work.

Pro Tip: While working as a freelancer means that you need to manage your time more efficiently, it also means that you will have more flexibility to learn new skills. It is the perfect opportunity to improve your knowledge through online courses and include that in your daily goals. At the end of the day, it is an investment that you will make in your business.

Communicate With Clients

If it‘s necessary to carry out your work for the day, you should get in touch with your clients. 

However, this is not mandatory and it is good that you do it only when necessary, since your client is likely to be busy with tasks. 

Although there are some clients who like to be in constant communication, you will see that it will depend on the personality and needs of each one. 

Some will tell you every day what you have to do and others will give you a weekly plan depending on everything they need.

Source: freelancermap.com

Carry Out Your Tasks

Every day you must fulfill your tasks, complete your pending issues, and do everything you have to do. 

It is essential that you have a schedule to know when to start and finish, just like any other job. 

This is something that famous entrepreneurs do, like Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey. It is a mistake not to establish a schedule in which you can freely develop your work activities. 

You could incur serious failures, such as missing delivery deadlines, or working so many hours that you neglect our personal lives. 

To be efficient workers and enjoy the benefits that it brings, it is necessary to set a work schedule according to your needs and lifestyle. 

It is also good that each day you propose to meet your daily goals, that you avoid procrastination, and thus you can get the best out of each working day.

Rest And Take Time Off

 

When you are a freelancer it is likely that sometimes work will distract you from everything else and that you forget to rest for a few minutes. 

Working as a freelancer is demanding like any other job and that is why you should take small breaks in your day. 

If you work using a computer, it is also good that you do stretching so that your body does not remain tense and so that you take care of your joints.

It is essential to set a point of separation between work and personal life. It is necessary so that matters related to one do not interfere with the proper development of the other. 

For a freelancer, this task becomes even more important if they carry out their work activities from home. 

You must be able to find the motivation to do your job, without compromising your personal life. 

It is important to keep in touch with the other members of the household. Limits must be respected, and work must not interfere with family or social dynamics either.

Steps To Turning It Full Time

 

If you want to work as a full-time freelancer, you must prepare for it. Achieving it is completely possible, but the more forecasts you take the better. 

What you should keep in mind is that becoming a successful freelancer is something that takes time and effort, so you do not necessarily have to go through all these steps to finally start working full time, but you must make the decision and start working pro to it.

1. Get Clients

 

Before starting to become a full-time freelancer, it is ideal that you gradually test what it is like to work as a freelancer. 

That is, you should start part-time, or even working in your free time, in order to start getting your first clients or contacts. 

There is no need to rush to get to work full time, as this requires preparation and caution. 

Once you have several job opportunities that look promising and are safe, you can have the stability to start dedicating your entire workday to this. 

In case you do not have clients but you do have a savings or financial sustainability fund, that would not be an impediment to start working full time. 

However, it is most recommended that you start working when you have some job security and thus you can avoid inconveniences.

Pro Tip: Spend half an hour a day looking at the job offers available on the web and send your resume, portfolio, or proposal. If every day you propose to apply for vacancies, that means that every day you will have a new job opportunity.

2. Prepare An Economic Support

 

Many freelancers begin to offer their services in a somewhat improvised way and usually, the first clients arrive by recommendation and often without having a clear intention of starting a business. 

But if you have decided to turn it from a side gig to full time, you need an economic forecast to be able to maintain yourself in the medium and long term, even in times of few projects.

That is why it is advisable to have saved about 6-12 months of expenses to survive, which will help you to face any unforeseen or shortage of clients. 

If you do not have this, you might as well save or work part-time elsewhere until you can start your freelance career and make the full transition from employee to entrepreneur. 

Analyze what your professional and personal expenses will be and do your best to save that monthly sum multiplied by at least 6 (or any other figure you think will give you security), before starting. While also minimizing your expenses as much as possible.

3. Choose Your Legal Structure

 

As a freelancer, the two most popular forms of organization are: working as a sole proprietor or as a limited liability company. What is the difference?

An individual or self-employed entrepreneur is personally responsible for their entire business, including bills, debts, and lawsuits. 

This is the biggest disadvantage since it assumes that if your business is in financial trouble, all your possessions are at stake. 

The positive side is that it has a reduced administrative burden, compared to limited liability companies.

If you want to be a limited liability company, an independent legal entity is created and therefore you can shift all legal and financial burden to your company. 

The downside is that this involves a lot more paperwork. You must fulfill all responsibilities as a director, as there are severe penalties if you neglect your duties.

It is not necessary that you start with this step since at the beginning you will only be alone, but it is something that will be necessary if in the future you want to work together with more people.

4. Evaluate Your Income And Expenses

 

If you are going to work as a full-time freelance, that means that this activity should generate the necessary income to cover all your expenses, save and have a little extra. 

You must determine what your monthly expenses are so that you can see what is the minimum you must earn each month, and based on that determine how much work you must do each month and how many clients you must have to cover your expenses. 

Having that clear will help you set a work goal and exceed that goal in order to obtain extra benefits.

5. Create A Workspace

 

For most freelancers, home becomes the base of operations for their work, which is why they decide that they can work from whatever space they consider comfortable. 

It’s very tempting to choose to work from the sofa or bed, but this is a mistake. 

Not having a space specially designed for work can lead to unnecessary distractions, body aches, irritation due to failure to meet goals, stress, and even a neural reconfiguration product of a cross between the rest space and the work mode.

It has been shown that the workplace directly affects the development capacity of the worker. 

A pleasant place for the correct performance of work activities can optimize our productivity. 

If they carry out their work from home, they can choose to enable a space that fulfills the function of an office, preferably with a door and away from common areas. 

There are also freelancers who prefer to go for less elaborate methods and work from a coffee shop or any other public place that is comfortable.

Source: websiteplanet.com

6. Create A Web Page

 

It is clear that today every business is expected to have a website, no matter how new or small the business is. 

Even if it Is just a few pages with contact details and professional information, that is better than nothing. 

There are many tools for creating a different web page, the one you choose will largely depend on your knowledge of web programming and the features you want. Some of the most popular are WordPress and Wix.

If you are interested in having something more professional, you should acquire your own domain. It is not only to impress and increase exposure to potential clients but to also for your clients to find you more easily. 

Having your own domain today is affordable and important that can open many doors for you. This website can also be used as a portfolio for your work that is marketing you 24/7. 

Having a website will help you build trust in potential clients and give you the opportunity to introduce your services and capabilities along with a contact point – think of it as your business card. 

7. Develop Your Online Presence

 

This is to let you know. Your portfolio should not just be in a format that can be attached by mail (like a PDF or a slideshow). 

You should also try to have an online presence: Your own blog, a website, an online catalog, or profiles on the main social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, or others. 

It all depends on the nature of your work and your possibilities. In addition, it is important to have a presence on freelance platforms, where clients can rate the work they do with you. 

Making yourself known will increase the chances that potential clients know about your work and want to hire you.

Pro Tip: Go to events and conferences related to your specialty and entrepreneurship. It is a good way to meet other professionals and also to attract clients. Get out of your comfort zone and encourage yourself to meet new people, you will be able to find new job offers and collaborations with other freelancers, which will help you grow as a professional and increase your income.

8. Learn How To Communicate

 

Effective communication is the ability to listen carefully to what the other person expresses, understand what they want to say and respond back clearly.

The key to any client/server relationship is effective communication. If you really understand the importance of communicating well, dealing with your clients will be much easier. 

If you are unsure about your communication skills, you can take a course on a platform like Udemy or Coursera to learn how to do it correctly. That will be useful for when you need to talk to them or send emails.

9. Optimize Your Portfolio

 

For most freelancers, having a good freelance portfolio is the golden ticket to winning jobs and quickly filling the agenda with good clients. 

However, the paradox is that it takes a good portfolio to gain jobs, but it takes jobs to build a portfolio. There are many ways to build a solid portfolio while starting your freelance career. Some options are:

  • Offer free work for friends or family (your future clients do not have to know that this portfolio piece was made for free)

  • Create your own blog to show your work

  • Do guest posts to other more established websites in your field

  • Take on low-paying jobs that may have less competition when pitching

  • Analyze well-known websites and give feedback (for example, redesigning a popular brand’s website is a great way to show your skills and creativity to potential clients)

Show those works that satisfy you the most, that have better quality, and that demonstrate your ability as a professional. Do not show anything that does not convince you or that does not make you proud.

10. Increase Your Organization

 

In order to be freelance, you need to be organized. Now more than ever, time is money and that is why you need a system to be able to stay organized and prioritize your tasks. 

There will be activities that you must do daily or weekly, but each of them has a certain order of priority. Make sure to keep this in mind when creating a work schedule.

Also, make use of technology to make your life easier. Currently, there is a wide variety of tools that help you sign contracts virtually, make invoices and even help you stay organized, like AdobeSign and Google Calendar. 

Analyze in which area you need more help and start using a tool that helps you in those tasks.

11. Do Not Forget About Taxes

 

Like any other commercial activity, if you start working as a freelancer and earn money, you will have to pay your taxes. As a freelancer, you will have to pay the self-employment tax of 15.3%. 

However, if you comply with the procedure of form 1091, you will be able to obtain total or partial compensation from the Internal Revenue Service, in case you have been withheld for any debt you may have, such as unemployment compensation.

It is essential that you be orderly when it comes to your taxes to avoid unexpected problems and expenses. 

Keep in mind that you could also hire the services of an accountant to help you with this. If what you prefer is to save that money, propose to learn everything you need to pay your taxes.

Being A Full-Time Freelance Will Give You Great Benefits 

 

Working as a full-time freelancer is something that is possible for everyone, it only remains to evaluate if you are willing to deal with everything that this way of working entails. 

If you do it in a formal way and have a savings fund, it is an activity that you can carry out without major problems and concerns. 

However, you must bear in mind that like all work, you will need patience, effort, and perseverance to be able to see good results and that they satisfy you. 

Perhaps at first, it will be difficult to find clients or grow professionally, but if you are determined to venture into this mode of work, you can be sure that you will achieve your goal.

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