7 Most Important Things to Do Before You Quit Your Job to Freelance.
- Have a financial plan before you quit.
Freelancers should have a deep look into their finances. Before quitting the job, you need to write down a detailed plan that will include client acquisition strategy, average income in your field, as well as how you plan to manage your money. Freelancers often don't understand the economic realities of per diem employment. If you don't save enough money when you have a steady income, you leave yourself susceptible in the event of an industry-wide downturn or a personal emergency.
Some experts recommend putting aside a significant portion of your income for at least half a year period prior to switching to freelancing. Also, a freelancer will benefit from having good health insurance so that your medical emergency does not become a financial cataclysm.
- Turn your home into an office.
Working from home probably seems like a great idea, but it can also be a massive distraction. You are your own boss, you can plan your time now, however, you have no one to tell you that it is probably not the best time to chat with your relatives at 11 AM. Freelancers need to sit down and establish rules of their new home office. It is necessary to limit the time spent for non-work related correspondence, social media, phone calls and keep in mind that it is better to have a TV in another room. Also freelancers need to tell their family and friends that they are not constantly on-call just because they are working from home.
- Know that being your own boss is not as simple as it sounds.
As a freelancer you handle client negotiations and communications yourself. In other words, you are dealing with difficult clients and fanning out the flames that your manager used to handle. And also you do not have co-workers to vent to or ask for advice.
Moreover, freelancers need to be able to recognize a job well-done. In a corporate structure, that is done by co-workers and superiors, however, now you have to do it yourself..
- Consider yourself a business owner.
Freelancers are not just experts for hire; they are the proprietors of their own brand. Not only do you need to be marketing yourself as such, you also should be taking steps to turn a one-person enterprise into a credible small business. Learn to talk about yourself as the CEO of your freelance company, not just a freelancer. Client will take you more seriously knowing that you take yourself seriously. To legitimize your business, you should register as a sole proprietor or LLC. You should also set up a business bank account and learn about taxes.
On the marketing side, you need to be scouring online and offline networks to find new clients. As a freelancer you need to be comfortable talking about yourself and your skills, as well as to keep a stack of business cards and register on freelance marketplaces.
- Know that fair bid is better than a cheap bid.
While it might seem beneficial to undercut your competition's bid in an attempt to win a gig, most bids are won by freelancers who offer a fair price for their services and can clearly explain why they are the best person for the job. Clients are looking for high quality work as opposed to the lowest price. They are willing to pay more for a service provider who has a great reputation and has done exceptional work. Therefore, it is important to plan your hourly or flat rate long before a client poses the question.
- Become competent in billing and invoicing.
One of the most difficult aspects of the freelance transition is the unpredictable nature of payments. Moreover, most corporate employees are not used to calling and inquiring about their paycheck as they are used to receiving them every month as scheduled. Freelancers, however, are often forced to repeatedly invoice and call to ask about their payment. Take into consideration, that client can delay payment, especially when you need the money the most. There is no need to be afraid when those invoices lag, you have to pick up the phone and find out why you have not been paid in a timely manner.
- Understanding your industry inside and out.
Whether you are a freelance programmer, graphic designer or writer, you need to constantly improve your skills and learn about peers in your industry. Take courses, attend seminars and visit big annual conferences in your industry. You should do this even as a full-time employee, but as a freelancer it is vital that you are constantly growing and improving your skills.
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