Before you dive anywhere near the world of freelancing, you have a lot to make sure you do and try in order to ensure your success. As a gig worker, you may go from full-time to part-time and still make the same amount you did as a full-time 9 to 5 employee.
Surprising right? I didn’t think that could happen either, but it did. Speaking from experience, these are the top ten things that you want to know and be prepared for before you switch to working only as a freelancer.
- Be Prepared for the Mental Hoops
You won’t be prepared enough for this one…ever. As a society we are taught that we are to work during set hours and live during set hours. At some point of the day we are owned by a company and we owe them our time for wages.
Now let’s flip that on its head. Instead, you are now going to have to work to find contracts, work with a multitude of people that you may never meet, discover what time you work best with, and do your own taxes.
- Set Up Your Space
Don’t wait on this one! Whatever your niche is, you need to have your space set up and ready to go before you even begin the transition process. If you don’t have a designated space, then it will be hard to transition from work mode to life mode.
- Parse Down Your Supplies
No, you don’t need the twenty highlighters strewn about your office, nor do you need the bulk pack of 100 pens anymore. Instead, be more intentional and parse down what you are going to actually need.
And yes, the collection of pushpins now goes in the junk drawer and not your desk. It’s okay.
- It Can Take a Year
It doesn’t matter if freelancing is the job that you have always dreamed of or not: it will take time to adjust to freelancing, some of the uncertainties, doing your own taxes and many other aspects of the job. Be gracious with yourself and let it take the year that it is going to take to fully adjust to a new way of working.
- You Will Need Support
Meet up with work besties, reach out to friends, whatever you have to do in order to make sure you have a support system. There will be endless changes and knowing your support group is going to help with those transitions.
Another note on this, don’t be afraid to reach out. There will be rough days that make you question all of your choices. More than likely, you will be at home trying to work when one of these days hits … or several of them. No matter how hard it is, reach out to those that care about you. Sometimes, all that’s needed is a caring voice on the other side of the line.
- Find Your Niche First
IF you have a niche, it’s best to start working ahead of time to figure out what it is that you do best in your field. You want to be prepared with the knowledge of your niche, the current changes, future changes, and maybe even sign-up for a few free conferences.
- There’s Always a Website
As you build up your clout, it will be easier to transition to Indeed and other companies that are more freeform connection rather than full fledged application processes.
- Don’t Ignore Niche Help
One of my favorite sites that is designed to help the freelancer or gig worker, is Selfgood. Not only are they there to help with insurance, but they have endless guides, how-to’s, and encouraging material that can boost your success.
- Reach Out to More Experienced Freelancers
One of my very first experiences as a freelancer was working with a freelancer! I mustered up the courage to talk to them and ask a few questions. You know what? They didn’t bite my head off! Instead they almost firehosed me with so much information on how to maneuver through the freelance world.
Be vulnerable enough to ask those questions and admit when you need help!
- Keep a Schedule
Not everyone’s favorite subject, but keeping a schedule is one of the best ways to keep yourself sane when working and living out of the same area. Try to incorporate additional locations into your work schedule (like libraries!) and don’t work beyond the hours that you have set.
Working as a freelancer can be intimidating, terrifying, and financially mortifying if you aren’t ready for the fees and taxes that can sneak in. You have to save money on the side to pay the IRS, and then there’s a constant pressure of making sure you have enough to live off of.
It’s going to take time to adjust to these new pressures, expectations, and federal guidelines that you will have to be familiar with. Give yourself the time and follow these ten steps to give you the best chance of success. You can do it!