The life of a freelancer is an exciting and stressful one. You have the freedom of controlling your own time, workload, and earnings, but you also have to be your own boss and learn how to run a stable business in order to stay financially afloat. Perhaps you have the entrepreneurial spirit but there’s a lot more to being a freelancer than simply having an innovative idea that you want to sell to clients. You need to figure out how to get your business off the ground and also how to keep it off the ground.
The point is that making money is only part of the equation when it comes to freelancing, as you may have realized if you’ve already gotten started. You need to learn about financial management, marketing, and lead generation, amongst other things. We’ll discuss all of those hot topics and much more throughout this article, so there’s no need to fret any longer. Here are some pieces of advice that could help you better manage life as a freelancer.
Organize your finances.
Being self-employed means that you have to manage not only your personal finances but your business finances. Of course, the two streams of income merge into one and the same thing, so it can be difficult to keep your work and personal life separate. Perhaps you have a small team of people who work with you that you need to pay too; either way, you need to learn to organize your finances in both a business and personal sense in order to avoid going insane (or bankrupt). It’s important to make a budget for home and a budget for work (maybe you already have the former and not the latter or vice versa). You need to look at your stream of income and organize your expenditures so as to ensure you never spend beyond your means.
Budgeting doesn’t mean you should avoid spending money; sometimes, you have to spend more to make more. It just means that you shouldn’t be putting yourself in the red. You need to make sensible investments for your business without spending more than you earn, essentially. You don’t want to have to borrow money to make ends meet because that’s how the debt spiral begins. The key thing is to simply keep your business and personal finances separate; you don’t want the two to merge confusingly. Set aside any income you need for necessities and luxuries and then keep your business bank account separate. If you do end up hiring people to work for you one day, you don’t want to be dipping into your personal savings to pay them.
Find outsourcing agencies.
It can be really hard to get started in the world of freelancing, no matter the industry in which you’re interested. You need to build a client-base, first of all, and you might have no idea where to begin if you’re lacking in experience or contacts. Recruiters can help you in your early days as a self-employed individual by matching you to potential clients that would be interested in your services. Outsourcing agencies will take a cut of your earnings, of course, but it’s worth it to get those early clients; all you need are a few good reviews under your belt and the opportunity to build up a portfolio that you can use to market your services and your brand. That’ll entice future clients, so you won’t need help from outsourcers forever. It’s all about making those first few sales to catapult your career forwards.
Supplement your income.
As discussed above, the early days of this self-started business might be tough in a financial sense. Perhaps you’ll keep your career until the freelancing takes off or perhaps you’ll quit your job so that you can dedicate all your time and energy to your own business. Either way, you might be short of money at first and you likely need finances to help your freelancing take off. It can help to supplement your income with things on the side. Investing in real estate could be a nice way to earn some additional income that you could then pour into your business.
An additional stream of income could help fund the luxuries you’d be putting on hold. Just be smart about the ways in which you make money. If you want to go traveling then you could use sites such as Airbnb to rent out your home whilst you’re away and use that income to fund your stay in some luxury townhouse for rent in an even more luxurious country. The point is that you shouldn’t be putting spending on hold. If money is an issue then invest in other opportunities to help bring in funds. Even if your business is entirely internet-based, you’ll likely need finances to some extent (e.g. buying a website domain or marketing services).
Keep reinventing the plan.
No business ever did well by standing still. If you start to gain clients then keep pushing ahead; think about ways to make your service bigger and better. Don’t stop improving because you feel like you’ve “made it” once you get a few sales. Think about ways in which you can expand your client-base. Do you want to expand your team of one to two or more people? This business might be your pride and joy but you have to screw on your sensible entrepreneurial head; it is going to continue to be a feasible business model as a one-person operation? There’s a chance that you’re holding your business back from its full potential if you stick to the solo route forever. Don’t be hesitant if you have dreams of making your small empire into something more. Keep reinventing the business plan.
At the end of the day, managing life as a freelancer is all about separating your personal life from your business life. Start to see your services as part of your brand and you’ll start to make money. You’re your own boss now, as hard as that might be to believe.