Considering Becoming a Freelancer? Learn What to Expect

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CAREER PATH

Deciding a career path can often be difficult, and finding a company you love to work for can further add to that difficulty. Some people prefer to work for a company, be a part of a team and earn a steady paycheck while others simply can’t handle putting their talent and skill on the line for someone else.

If you don’t want to work for someone else, you’re not out of luck. Depending on your skill set and talent, you can always take your chance at becoming a freelancer. Being a freelancer means that you work for yourself, and you don’t have to answer to a boss.

Being a freelancer can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be extremely stressful. Before you quit your day job to become a freelancer, it’s extremely important that you first have a solid understanding of what to expect.

There’s No Guarantee of Steady Income

The very first thing you need to understand about becoming a freelancer is that you may not have a steady stream of income. When you work as an employee, you likely receive a paycheck every two weeks or so, ensuring that you always have income on a regular basis. When you are a freelancer, your income comes when you gain clients and when you complete projects. There may be times when you’re rolling in the dough, and there may be times when you’re pinching pennies to make ends meet. It’s very important that you understand this major aspect of being a freelancer so that you don’t find yourself financially struggling.

There’s No Guarantee of Steady Work

As a freelancer, it’s your responsibility to find clients and projects to work on. If you don’t have luck selling your services, you may find yourself without work to do, which in turn means there’s no income coming in. Because of this, many freelancers find themselves taking on part-time jobs in order to keep money coming in.

You’ll Need to Know How to Manage Your Time

One of the biggest perks of freelancing is being able to create your own schedule. Many freelancers enjoy being able to work when necessary and still have time to spend with their family, run errands or tend to other personal issues without having to take time off work. While this is a great benefit, it’s very important that you understand how important it is to manage your time. Often freelancers may push projects back in order to tend to personal issues and then find themselves struggling to complete the project before the deadline. Others don’t know how to separate their work from their daily life, so they allow their work to flow into their personal lives. Make sure that you know how to schedule your time appropriately so that you can complete all your projects in a timely fashion.

You’ll Need to Have the Right Price

Setting your pricing is often a challenge for most freelancers. You want to make sure that you’re choosing a fee that is competitive with other freelancers and complimentary to your talents. If your price is too low, you’ll have too many people taking advantage of you. If it’s too high, you may have trouble finding work. Do your research to determine the right pricing structure for your services. This is the best way to ensure that you’ll have luck finding some clients.

You’ll Need to Know How to File Your Taxes

Most freelancers work with a 1099 form instead of a W2. A 1099 form is made for individuals that are considered contractors, which means that your client will pay you without taking out any taxes. It is your responsibility to learnhow to file your taxes as a 1099 employee and to also put part of your payment aside in order to pay your taxes. If you were used to getting a tax return, you will no longer have that perk. Instead, you will likely owe money to the IRS, so it’s important to put about 20% of every payment aside in order to pay your taxes. As a contractor, you may also be required to file and pay your taxes on a quarterly basis instead of an annual basis.

You should also start learning to save your receipts, as you can write off a variety of purchases. Items for your business, such as computers, printers or any other equipment you need can be written off. You can also write off part of your mortgage if you work out of your home and part of your health insurance if you pay for your own. There are plenty of items you can write off if you’re a freelancer, so be sure to do your research before you file your taxes.

You’ll Want to Make sure There’s a Market.

There are plenty of things that freelancers can do to provide services to their clients, but it’s very important to ensure there is a market for your services. Certain careers, such as writing, photography, transcription or graphic design, are hot careers that use freelancers on a regular basis. If you are skilled in a craft that people want, you will likely find success as a freelancer. On the other hand, if your skills or talents are not something that many people will need, then you may want to rethink your decision to become a freelancer, as it may be harder for you to find success.

Gerald Jacobs is a Professional career coach who also offers great tips and advice for freelance writers.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/53272102@N06/8618916280/

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