Do You Really Want To Freelance?
So many writers or those with journalism or English degrees decide that they want to work for themselves or as independent contractors for other people. Freelancing is a good idea in theory to most people, but it’s not as simple as it all seems. Freelancing provides many people with a source of pride and independence that they crave, but other people find that they feel lonely and overwhelmed and just can’t keep up.
Freelancing is work just like everything else, but when you aren’t working under the supervision of other people it can be very difficult to stay on task and actually make the money you need to support yourself and your lifestyle.
Writers by nature are usually quite independent because you don’t need anyone else to write, you just need an idea and a computer that will allow you to write. For those that don’t care about technology, you don’t even need a computer but most writers have computers these days! Because writing doesn’t actually require anyone else to get the job done, many people just out of school or those that have established careers decide that they don’t want to work for anyone else and they’d rather freelance. The thought process is logical, yet there is more to freelancing than meets the eye.
First, you’ll need to consider whether or not you have the motivation to freelance. It’s not always fun to get up every day and go to work, but when you have a boss and a paycheck you have a lot more incentive to get out of bed because you’ll lose your job if you do not report to work when you are scheduled to do so. When you are employed by someone else you don’t want to let them down and your ability to pay the bills requires that they are happy with your work. When you freelance, often times you will not actually come face to face with clients and you may never even talk to them on the telephone. Because you do not have anyone overseeing your work when you freelance, it’s easy to blow off your work with intentions of getting to it tomorrow. If you don’t have the motivation to drive yourself to do the work, freelancing may not be for you. If you cannot set deadlines and keep them without other people checking in with you, you might want to keep working for someone else and do freelance work on the side to test your ability to meet deadlines.
The second thing you’ll need to consider is cliental. Will you have work when you first start freelancing? Do you already have clients that you know will follow you even if you start working on your own as an independent contractor? If you don’t already have clients, how will you find them? Will you network with people you already know in the business or will you advertise your services and attempt to establish your cliental on your own. The trouble with freelancing is there usually isn’t the same amount of work all the time, sometimes you’ll be swamped with work and other times you’ll not have enough work to keep you occupied. When freelancing you need to find ways to be sure that you’ll have enough work throughout the year to continue to pay your bills and do the things you need and want to do. You’ll also need to learn how to budget your income so that when work does slow down, and it will, you’ll be able to afford to live.
The third thing you’ll need to consider is where you will work. Most writers that freelance do so from home and this can be a good thing and a bad thing. When you just have to go into the next room to work, it’s convenient because you don’t have to get dressed and you don’t have to fight through traffic to get there. But, not having to go to work also has it’s negative considerations because it’s easy to let your workspace become cluttered which will negatively impact your work. You might also decide to just not work as often as you need to, and as we’ve established, that’s not a good thing! If you think you want to work at home when you freelance you’ll want to be sure that you have an area of your home that you can dedicate to your work so that you have a place to go so that you can get in a business frame of mind.
You’ll also need to consider taxes if you are going to freelance. Many people don’t realize it, but people who freelance (in any profession) and are considered independent contractors who have to file taxes quarterly instead of once a year in April.
Uncle Sam doesn’t want to have to wait for his money from those that don’t have taxes taken out of their pay by an employer, so you must prepay your taxes every couple of months. You’ll also need to decide if you’ll file your taxes as an individual or a business, which can impact how much you’ll pay and certain deductions you may be able to take advantage of. Taxes cause a lot of stress for some freelancers, so be sure to consider this and get started the right way when you decide to take the leap into freelancing.
Freelancing is hard work, but it can also be very rewarding work if you have the motivation and the knowledge to do it professionally. If you think you want to try freelancing, you should really think about it, and consider the pros and cons involved. Freelancing is work, but if you know you have the motivation, it can be a career that you can be very proud of!