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.
ANDREW PANIELLO FEBRUARY 5, 2019 in www.bankrate.com
As the world becomes more globalized and traveling to distant places has become widely accessible, an increased number of Americans are finding themselves with opportunities to work abroad. However, while these new opportunities can often be quite exciting and rewarding, they all still require a large amount of preparation.
Many expatriates tend to overlook the financial planning process of their overseas adventure. In addition to creating a well thought out budget for the trip, there are many other essential details that will need to be accounted for.
Fortunately, we have created a detailed guide to help anyone going abroad prepare themselves financially. By making an effort to assure that your finances are well-kept, you will be able to have the life-changing experience that you’re hoping for.
Recognizing your initial expenses
When it comes to the average annual cost of living, the United States is on the higher end of the spectrum. This means that, depending on where in the world you are traveling to, you may actually be able to save money while living abroad if you can keep your expenses under control.
Regardless, there are still some paramount expenses to be prepared for:
Preparing your bank accounts
Even once you have created a financial plan for working abroad, you will also need to make sure that your money is actually accessible. Ideally, you will be able to use a bank that has branches (or associate branches) in both the United States and the country you will be living in. Many banks have arrangements with partner banks in other countries, which is why it will be important to confirm the global reach of the one you currently use.
When comparing possible foreign bank accounts, there are several important details that you should pay attention to:
Evaluating your wallet
Now that you have your budget and your bank setup out of the way, the next thing you will need to evaluate is the items you are carrying in your wallet. It is important to recognize the cards and payment options you already own prior to traveling because some cards could have foreign transaction fees or other negative financial implications when used overseas. Do a thorough look at the cards you already have and research any new ones you should get for your travel endeavor.
Fortunately, there are many quality travel credit cards available for you to choose from. Though the card that is right for you will largely depend on your personal preferences, you should keep an eye out for these key features:
Pay attention to exchange rates
It will be important for you to pay attention to exchange rates. Exchange rates are constantly changing, meaning that the amount of Euros (or any currency) you can buy with a United States Dollar may be considerably different by this same time tomorrow. As your departure date continues to approach, it will be a good idea to monitor changes in exchange rate and make the actual exchange at a point when the dollar (USD) is relatively strong:
Credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards offer some of the lowest currency exchange rates. Do your research to see how the payment methods you use abroad will be affected by exchange rates.
Purchasing travel insurance
If you are abroad for a long period of time, there will likely be at least one issue that emerges that you are not initially prepared for. Though traveling is certainly much easier than it was decades ago, there are still many issues you can run into. In order to protect yourself from the risk of the unknown, you will likely need to purchase travel insurance.
The cost of traveler’s insurance will vary depending on your provider, the things that are covered, the length of coverage needed, and the countries that you will be visiting. All things considered, travel insurance is a fairly comprehensive form of insurance that is likely available for much less than you’d initially assume.
Expenses that travel insurance typically covers:
Expenses that travel insurance most likely will not cover:
In order to know your exact exposure to risk, you should read the fine print before committing to any policies. Travel insurance can be highly customizable—costs will vary depending on how many types of coverage you hope to include.
Other things to consider
Once you have a rough financial plan for your trip, there will just be a few essential details that you will want to be aware of. For your financial and legal security, for example, you will need to be sure of foreign tax status.
Due to the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and Foreign Tax Credit programs, United States citizens can be protected from double taxation while living abroad. However, you will need to file a tax return in the United States (1040 and possibly others) and pay taxes to the federal government. Variables that can influence your tax situation will include the company you are working for, your intended length of stay, the existence of a work visa, and various others.
Lastly, it is important to be aware of scams. Tourists are prime targets for scams abroad. Do your research ahead of time before booking any extracurricular trips, and always trust your gut. Common scamming techniques include pick-pocketing, asking for money upfront with the promise of returning later, using children (often as a distraction) to sell products, unverified currency exchanges, and many others. When navigating a new country, it is also better to be cautious. Taking measures such as wearing a money belt, leaving jewelry and outward valuables at home, and planning your travel routes in advance can all pay off in the long-run.
The bottom line
As you can see, there are many important financial considerations to take into account when preparing for an extended trip abroad. There are many events you will simply not be able to plan for, but keeping these three things in mind will be quite helpful:
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