NB: I am currently on hiatus throughout May so will not be responding to comments until June.
This is a collaborative content post
The glorious and golden path to professional independence is paved with obstacles and self-doubts; Freelancers can have a hard time to make ends meets at first. And still, the appeal to become your own boss is growing all over the country.
The truth is that not all freelancers manage to match their employee income. In fact, 80% of freelancers leave in income poverty, earning a lot less than they would if they were employed by a company.
But, don’t let this worrying figure stop you. Your independent career is not doomed to fail. On the contrary, many freelancers are highly skilled.
They often have the necessary experience and background to appeal to companies in need of an expert consultant. The reason why many of them struggle is that freelancers fail to think of themselves as a business.
Yes, you need to take IT checks seriously
The typical freelancing workplace could be anywhere. Many independent professionals enjoy working from coffee shops in town, surrounded by an extra large matcha latte and a cinnamon bun.
Others are happy working from their sofa, while the most organized group stays in an improvised home office that consists of a desk and a chair in an empty nook at home. But they all share one standard accessory; a laptop. Your personal laptop is your first go-to equipment piece when you start freelancing.
As a result, many take their tech device for granted. The laptop ends up becoming a storage spot for your holiday photos and your work projects, which can lead to a disharmonious mix of data.
But, more importantly, the fact that it is readily available at the start of your freelancing career can make you forget to run professional computer checks. Remember; you run a business. You can’t afford viruses and insecure data.
So, I’ve got this Excel spreadsheet for my invoices
The best thing about having new clients is to work on new projects. The worst thing about that is that you need to prepare invoices for your work and then record payments.
You might even have to chase clients to ensure payment occurs on time – or to remind those who have forgotten to pay you as quickly as possible.
Additionally, you are likely to need to buy further equipment and stationery, which means that you need to record these expenses accordingly. For a solo-entrepreneur, it’s a lot of work to keep your books updated and get everything ready for your taxes.
Let’s be realistic; you won’t manage using your beloved excel sheet, even if you can use the relevant functions to make automatic calculations. You need a tool that can keep track of everything while following the appropriate accounting regulations and policies.
Unfortunately, Excel doesn’t have a clue about these. But a professional cloud accounting software tool for self-employed individuals can be a game changer. It will give your accounts the business look and feel they need.
Your identity is your business brand
Your latest post on Twitter introduces your followers to your new kitten, Felix. You took a selfie with the kitten half asleep on your lap, for the occasion.
On Facebook, you launch into a written rant against your neighbors who play music very loud until the middle of the night.
Now you’re preparing your next post for Twitter. You’re going to share the latest blog article you’ve written to promote your work, proudly using a photo taken during last year’s Halloween party as your profile picture.
Stop right now. You’re doing it wrong. As a freelancer, you are your own brand online. Therefore you need to pay close attention to what your social media posts say about you.
Your customers expect the most authentic version of yourself, but at the same time, they also want to benefit from your account. Photos of kittens and angry complaints are not going to promote your expertise.
Instead, join an online community to enhance your networking reach and share valuable information.
Businesses have work hours and so should you
You’re a freelancer. You can work whenever you want. Most individuals who embrace freelancing value the flexibility they find in their new career. For new parents, it’s the best option to ally work and family.
But behind the advantage of the flexibility hides the risk of too much time-related freedom. From distractions to failure to stick to a schedule, freelancers can leave their clients wondering when is a good time to get in touch.
If you want to be competitive in the market, you need to define your working hours in the same way any business does. While you may not need to stick to the 9 to 5 routine, creating a schedule will improve your productivity and reduce interruptions.
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In conclusion, if you want your clients to take your activities seriously, you need to prove that you can be as reliable as a freelancer as companies are. Raise your expectations on yourself and your business. Your professionalism will make a significant difference!
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