Perhaps there’s never been a better time to start that freelance career. I’ve been on that path for 2 years now. It’s not easy at all but at times of reflection, it truly can be free. Numerous companies outsource their work every day to save cost on their end. Now’s the time to take advantage of that and be your own boss.
Fundamentals of Freelance
1. As a freelancer, you have to start really understanding your budget and be able to look ahead 3 to 6 months, as a regular way of doing your business. (Ask yourself, “Will I get paid my 50% up front?” “Will all of my expenses be covered by this project?” What’s my largest priority project?” etc)
2. Competition is crazy, so you have to remain consistent.
(Never stop training! There are thousands of free ways to do this. Ex. If your weakness is color-correction and you edit video, watch a tutorial everyday until you get it.)
3. Understand the risk: No work = no money! No paid sick days either!
4. Marketing 101. In the beginning, it’s just you. Make sure you compile all of your greatest connections together and start marketing yourself to those who already respect you and your work. Everyone needs a beginning so don’t force yourself to start from “square negative 3.”
One rookie mistake I made the first year I freelanced was dealing with my taxes. There were so many expenses that I made going into business for myself and like an idiot, I didn’t do the right amount of research on what I could write-off when tax season came around. Whether you’re a sole-proprietor or are starting a partnership, there are many methods of saving and documenting your cost for end-of-year savings or deductibles and so on.
(Check this link: http://taxes.about.com/od/taxplanning/a/freelance.htm )
Keeping it Real
In reality, there may be some inevitable tough patches and I didn’t “jump in” 100 percent. One method that may allow for some financial stability as you market yourself is landing a contract job with other companies. The benefit of this is you can have somewhat of a stable income while also working on your side projects. It never hurts to have multiple revenues and if you want to get into freelance, you will want to have many multiples to manage.
Sit back and think. Is this for you? If so, next week we will get into building and starting up your clients and strategy.
Written by : Jermaine Fletcher
Photo Credit: Stephanie Maggiore (photos taken at New Museum in NYC)