by Travis Fleming | Feb 14, 2020
Freelancing is a great way to supplement your income and make some extra money on the side. However, many contractors take it one step further and decide to make freelancing their full-time career.
Most professionals have likely considered becoming a full-time freelancer at one point or another. But it can be a bit intimidating to strike out on your own and leave behind the security of a corporate job and a regular paycheque. That being said, there a number of skilled individuals who are freelancing full-time and doing extremely well.
So, just how do you become a full-time freelancer? Here are seven tips to help you transition from an office job to running your own freelance business.
Start by Freelancing Part-Time
If you haven’t started freelancing already, the first step is to begin doing it part-time. The great thing about freelance work is that you can do it whenever you like and as often as you like. You can pick up projects when you have time and make some extra money while you continue to work at your 9-5 job.
Not only will this help you get comfortable doing freelance work, but it will also allow you to build up your contacts, portfolio, and recommendations. That way, when you’re finally ready to go full-time you’ll have a solid foundation to build off of.
Secure Some Recurring Clients
The hardest part of becoming a full-time freelancer is getting regular work. Unlike when you work for an employer, you can’t always depend on a steady income. Some months you may have more work than you know what to do with, while other months might be relatively quiet.
One way to ensure you always get enough hours is to secure some recurring clients. These are clients who want to have an ongoing relationship with you and will continue to give you work each month.
These types of clients will be the foundation of your business, so search for opportunities that offer recurring work. But don’t be afraid to take on-off jobs either. Oftentimes, short-term contracts can turn into long-term working relationships if you do exceptional work.
If you can build up a few recurring clients you’ll be in a much better position when you decide to start freelancing full-time.
Save Some Money Before Making the Transition
As we just talked about, a freelancer’s income isn’t always steady. Your work hours will fluctuate throughout the year, with some months being slower than others.
One way to protect yourself against this is to have some savings set aside before becoming a full-time freelancer. This will give you some money to fall back on during those leaner months. It will also help support you during the early stages when you’re still building up your business.
It’s a good idea to have some money set aside for expenses before you decide to start freelancing full-time.
Photo by Alexander Mils from Pexels.
If you’re thinking of transitioning into freelancing full-time it’s a good idea to have three months’ worth of expenses saved up.
Consider Health Insurance
If you currently work for a larger company you probably have health insurance through your employer. However, once you quit your job to become a full-time freelancer you’ll be responsible for all of your own medical bills.
So, before you take the plunge into freelancing you’re going to want to think about health insurance. Luckily, there are a number of insurance options for those who are self-employed.
The first thing you should look into is whether you’re covered under your spouse or partner’s health insurance plan. Or you can see if you’re able to convert your current health insurance from a group plan to an individual plan. The Freelancers Union also offers health insurance options for freelancers.
Health insurance can be pricey, so if you’re not covered under your spouse or partner’s plan make sure to leave room in your monthly budget for it.
Quit Your Job When You’re Ready
If your goal is to become a full-time freelancer then at some point you’re going to have to take the leap and quit your job. Make sure to wait until you’ve built up your freelance business and have enough savings in place before taking this step.
There’s no shame in taking your time. Some people might make the transition in a few months while others may wait years. You may also decide to do it in stages, reducing your hours with your employer while you gradually build up your freelancer clientele. Do whatever feels right to you.
Make sure to leave your job on good terms so you don’t burn any bridges.
Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels.
Finally, make sure to leave your job on good terms. If you’ve done good work for your employer they can be a reference for you in the future. It’s also not uncommon for a previous employer to offer you freelance work down the road, so be sure not to damage the relationship when you leave.
Set Money Aside for Taxes
Another thing you have to think about once you’re self-employed is taxes. When you work for an employer they automatically deduct a certain percentage off each paycheque and put it towards your taxes. However, once you work for yourself it’s up to you to make sure you have enough money set aside for taxes.
It’s a good idea to set aside a certain percentage of each payment you receive. How much you’ll have to pay will depend on your yearly earnings, so research your local tax laws to determine how much you’ll potentially owe.
To make sure you always file your taxes correctly it’s a good idea to hire a professional accountant. They can review your income, deductions, and other important information every year to ensure you always follow the proper procedures.
Raise Your Rates as Demand for Your Services Grows
As a full-time freelancer, you’re in charge of giving yourself a raise, so don’t short-change yourself. Keep raising your rates as your business grows to ensure you’re valuing your time correctly and maximizing your profits.
If you’ve been working for a client for a while and have consistently delivered high-quality work there’s nothing wrong with asking for a higher rate. This is especially true if you’re receiving better offers from other clients.
And if you get to the point where you’re receiving so much work you’re having to turn some of it down it’s a good sign it’s time to increase your rates. Some of those offers will likely go away, but the clients you’re left with will be the ones that value your time the most.
Start Your Freelance Journey on Work for Impact
Work for Impact is a new freelance platform that offers jobs solely from socially and environmentally responsible organizations, and nonprofits. We give freelancers access to a wide range of impactful clients from around the world, making it the perfect place to start your freelance journey.
Article originally published at Work for Impact blog.
Find Meaningful Freelance Projects
Today I received an invitation from Tristan and the Work for Impact team to be part of the initial group of Freelancers to make up the group that gets early access to the platform and a look at the first round of jobs. I would love you to be part of it.
Besides being another great channel for Independent Consultants and Freelancers to grow their pipeline, the platform has a purpose, they partner with Non-profits for projects that really make the difference in the world.
So far Amnesty International, Sea Shepherd, World Bicycle Relief, Plastic Oceans, along with hundreds of others are on-board for launch. This is your chance to work for some of the biggest charities in the sector!
Work for Impact is a platform that seeks to connect skilled individuals with jobs solely from socially and environmentally responsible organizations, and nonprofits.
All the jobs posted on Work for Impact will provide opportunities to work with ethical businesses and help contribute to a number of amazing causes around the world!
Why would you use Work for Impact?
A new way of working to change the world
The way people are working is changing. Thanks to technology, geography is no longer a barrier that determines who you can and can’t work with. As a result, over a third of the world’s workforce is now freelancing, and this number is continually growing.
The opportunities for today’s workforce are endless, and more and more people are taking advantage of this new economy in order to pursue their interests and find projects they’re passionate about around the globe
© 2019 WFI® Inc.
Are you ready to start taking your freelance writing career more seriously?
With so many websites, magazines, and competitions to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. And the thought of having to sort through all of them to find the ones that pay, and that you’re actually interested in, can be enough to put you off.
So, to make it easier for you to find freelance writing jobs, Alexandr Timofeev has put together a comprehensive list of 300+ websites that pay freelance writers.
Other posts by Alexandr Timofeev
About Referral Key
No matter what the industry, more professional relationships mean more business — and the biggest boost to a business comes from trusted acquaintances that know your work and advocate for you. This is what we call your "business network". Referral Key helps you leverage your existing business network to generate highly qualified referral leads — and allows you to easily expand your professional network to establish new referral relationships that support ongoing growth of your business.
With Referral Key, you can quickly and easily build a business network of referral colleagues who know and trust you, inviting them to exchange referrals with you. Once your colleagues accept your invitations to exchange referrals, they will begin sending you solid leads.
The result is a web-enabled closed loop that provides a steady stream of timely, qualified leads from your trusted colleagues -- and a much higher probability of converting these leads into actual revenue. Every step of the referral marketing process, from initiating a referral to following up is automatically tracked within Referral Key.
Referral Key also makes it easy to expand your referral network by allowing you to tap into your colleagues' business network. Each member indicates which colleagues in their business network can be browsed by others. You can then proactively approach these business professionals about establishing a new referral relationship. Other features let you track referrals to ensure your relationships are reciprocal and the ability to set up promotional campaigns to reward your most profitable referral partners and customers.
When you sign up for Referral Key, you're also invited to add your business profile to the Referral Key on-line Member Directory. This valuable benefit lets you showcase your unique business offering to other professionals seeking to establish new referral relationships — as well as to potential prospects seeking the products and services you provide.
With our Free Membership you can join today, spend a few minutes setting up your referral network and begin exchanging referrals in no time. Take the quick Referral Key Tour to learn more!
Whether you’re looking for another way to pay the bills, seeking more professional development opportunities or just love the freedom that freelancing offers, there’s no question that millions of people have discovered the benefits of professional freelancing. As trends like the digital nomad lifestyle grow in popularity, the number of freelance resources out there has increased as well.
There are plenty of guides for striking out on your own, but as a freelancer, getting higher-paying gigs isn’t just a matter of signing up on popular platforms. You’ll have to branch out, establish a great portfolio of past work and maybe even prove yourself through tests that showcase your skills. Here’s a list of the 15 best sites to find work as a freelancer.
With over 1.5 million clients, Upwork (previously oDesk) offers something for every type of freelancer. It accommodates both short- and long-term projects, hourly or per-project work and expert-level and entry-level engagements. Regardless of where you are in your career, Upwork is likely to have something for you.
With a distinctly different approach than the other services on this list, Toptal is for seasoned, talented freelancers. Passing Toptal's screening process gives you unparalleled access to meaningful projects with great clients (JPMorgan, Zendesk, Airbnb, etc.) and fair compensation (no low-bid contests). You’ll also be able to join the Toptal community for frequent meetups and tech events.
Elance removes a lot of the hassle that comes with freelancing. You’ll be able to make a profile right away without jumping through any hoops, enjoy payment protection to ensure you’re always paid for the hours you work and more.
Editor's note: Elance has joined Upwork since the publish date of this article.
Related: Hacking Elance: How to Make Money Freelancing
Unlike most other platforms, in addition to offering millions of projects, Freelancer allows you to compete with other freelancers in contests to prove your skills. If you’re competitive and confident in your expertise, it’s a great way to showcase your abilities and attract more clients.
Although most people see Craigslist as just a platform for buying and selling miscellaneous things, it’s actually a great source of freelance jobs. You can easily browse for local offerings if you prefer something in-office, or you can search by major cities if you prefer working remotely.
This site lets you easily showcase your past work experience and offers a daily job-matching feature to make sure you don’t miss out on any good opportunities. The Guru Work Room lets you easily manage all your work.
A platform for freelance designers, 99designs lets you compete in design contests and get feedback as clients choose the best ones. It’s a great way for talented designers to prove their talents.
This is a great platform, focusing on freelancing for web projects. If you’re a designer, web developer, SEO specialist, etc., peopleperhour is definitely worth checking out.
9. Freelance Writing Gigs
Whether you’re a writer, editor, blogger, publisher or any combination of those, Freelance Writing Gigs is a great option for freelancers who have a way with words.
10. Demand Media
Demand Media is a platform for creative types, including writers, filmmakers, producers, photographers and more. You work with the site to create unique content, engage audiences and promote your talents.
11. College Recruiter
As the name might suggest, College Recruiter is for college students or recent graduates looking for freelance jobs of any type. In addition to being a source for part-time work, it can be a great way to jumpstart your career.
This site is for freelance writers, web designers and programmers -- exactly what small businesses need to get a website idea off the ground. GetACoder offers millions of smaller-scale projects to choose from.
This platform accommodates some of the usual suspects of the freelancing world (writers, editors, coders, etc.) but also features freelance marketers as well. Unlike other sites, iFreelance lets you keep 100 percent of your earnings.
With hundreds of project categories, Project4hire makes it easy to identify jobs that suit your skillset, without scanning through large volumes of posts. It’s great for coders, consultants, designers and more.
With a wider range than most other freelance platforms offer, SimplyHired is perfect for everyone from salespeople to construction workers. It includes a blog with hiring tips, a company directory and location-based search.
Whether you’re a programmer, designer, expert, college student or something in between, there’s a freelance platform out there for you. Check out the sites above to get started today!
UpWork - Online workspace service
According to their Website:
"Our story begins with two leading pioneers in online work: Elance and oDesk. Each had created thriving global communities with separate paths to success. In 2014 we realized that we could do more together and merged to form Elance-oDesk, combining ideas, technology and resources.
As we formed a shared vision, we saw that our impact would be even greater if we focused on building one great workplace. With the oDesk platform as the foundation, we kept the best of both legacies and added new innovations. In 2015 we re-launched the company as Upwork, representing a renewed vision and commitment to creating the world’s best online workplace – for existing and future customers alike.
Today, Upwork is the premier platform for top companies to hire and work with the world’s most talented independent professionals. We’re creating a world of unmatched talent and opportunity, where global teammates who are thousands of miles apart can work together seamlessly."
(*upwork.com About Us page)
How they explain their services:
What kind of work can I get done?
Anything that can be done on a computer – from web and mobile programming to graphic design – can be done on Upwork. Freelance experts can tackle a range of projects:
Big or small
Short or ongoing
Individual or team-based
Whether you need a writer to knock out a 500-word blog post or a full-fledged software development team to support your business, our tools and the expert freelancers in our marketplace can accommodate.
How do I hire the right freelancer?
Start by writing a clear and concise job post. Each freelancer submits a cover letter and link to their Upwork profile covering:
Skills, experience and portfolios
Language and communication skills
You'll get applications from independent professionals and receive our personalized recommendations within minutes. From there, just interview your strongest candidates and hire your favorite.
How do payments work?
Pay your freelancer per hour or per project, whichever you choose. For hourly projects, the freelancer bills you once a week, and we'll send a secure payment to your freelancer. For fixed-price projects, we'll release funds to your freelancer after they meet pre-set milestones. In either case, you're covered by Upwork Payment Protection, assuring that you only pay for work you approve.
All payments go through our secure system. Choose from the following billing methods:
How do I know I'm protected?
Enjoy peace of mind with systems designed to provide a safe and trusted workplace, including:
Payment Protection. Upwork Payment Protection assures you that you pay only for work you've approved.
Dispute Resolution. If an issue ever should arise, we have programs to help fix the situation.
(* upwork.com How it Works page)
DevelopmentAid is a leading, innovative membership organisation offering services for the international developmental sector. According to their site, they bring together donors, consultancy firms, NGOs and experts working for international development.
They help development professionals raise the efficiency of international development aid by providing timely, reliable and relevant information.
Their principle is: information about the development sector should be accessible, accurate and comprehensive.
DevelopmentAid are constantly perfecting our services and are adding more value for our partners. For this purpose, we have a team of over 100 employees ready to support you with all your queries. For questions or feedback, contact them.
(* developmentaid.org About page)
So how does it work?
DevelopmentAid is a tool - or a collection of tools - presented through their Web site where the Professional of different areas (they call "sectors") within the Government Public Sector where Funding Agencies (World Bank, European Union Commission) are providing grants for large scale development projects.
The Professional can register and choose free or paid subscription. The service provides access to hundreds of open and awarded bids where they can participate directly as individual or applying for the projects with the winning consortiums.
Projects are offered everywhere in the planet and it is a great option to build your pipeline of projects.
New app for freelancers!
A nice post by Carl Dickson, from the Freelance Consulting, Independent Consultants, & Professional Services Management & Marketing group on LinkedIn moderated by CapturePlanning.com.
==> New app for freelancers
There is a new app for Android devices for you to try that will help you maximize your billability by filling your calendar. Actually there are two apps. Gig Pipeline is for consultants and Get Help Winning for companies that use them. Companies use the Get Proposal Help app to search for consultants and get in touch with them directly.
You can find out more about both here:
Gig Pipeline - For business development and proposal consultants
Get Help Winning - To help companies find consultants and resources for winning
At launch we’re providing support for consultants who help companies win business, including marketing, sales, business development, capture, and proposal consultants. We’re focusing on the US Government contracting market, because that’s what we know best. The platform we’re building has far, far more potential applicability. But we want to fine tune it before taking on the world.
Good things can come from simple beginnings.
Please take a moment today to post something in one of our groups and start a discussion. A simple question, comment, or observation is all it takes to be networking instead of lurking. Thanks for all your insights!
I dedicate my life to science, technology, music and to bringing people together. And I do it my way.