For far too long the idea of a dream job has been a “choose two” scenario between flexible schedule, work you love and being your own boss. However, a new option has emerged as businesses turn more each day to rely on the internet and outside help: freelancing.
Now anyone with a basic internet connection, desire for ultimate freedom in the workplace and a connection for finding work, whether it’s through networking connections or staffing pros specialized in helping freelancers (such as ourselves), can be their own boss.
The catch? Running your own business is surprisingly complex.
Whether you’re looking to be a part-time freelancer looking to score extra rent money or leaving office life behind for full-time contracting, here are some common mistakes newcomers face.
Lay it out, write it out.
All too often a project can go off the rails. One small task becomes a 10 hour time sink or a client asks for things outside of the project’s original scope. No matter how far it gets out hand, you’re either coming up in final deliverables or payment.
Get started on the right foot by scoping out a project. Take time to speak with your client and draw out a step by step plan which will allow you to more accurately gauge the hours you’ll be putting in. Once it’s written out, draw up an agreement and have both parties sign it.
Paperwork is never fun, especially if it’s one of the reasons you left a desk job. However, documentation ensures both parties get exactly what they want, whether it’s your pay or their completed project.
Know your rate.
How valuable is your time and skill? Pricing is a relentless issue often resulting in freelancers being underpaid or business owners turning down expensive proposals.
Knowing how to balance the value you provide with whatever expenses are knocking at the door can be a daunting task, but online research can help you compare your experience with those of active freelancers and their current rates. Alternatively, staffing agencies like Monikl remove the guesswork. Employers post gigs with information on how much they’ll pay, putting the ball in your court to select who you’d like to work with.
Get ready for tax season.
The moment your first check clears, you may be in debt to Uncle Sam. As most freelancers establish themselves as independent contractors, taxes won’t be deducted like a regular paycheck.
Knowing how much of each paycheck to save for taxes is a tricky game. Save too much, and you may struggle for most of the year. Save too little, and you’ll come out of pocket while filing. This issue can be solved with the help of an accountant, also an out of pocket expense, or by working through an agency that deducts taxes.
Want to freelance without all of the hurdles? Join Monikl today.