Some people dream of being self-employed. You can set your own hours, work from home and invest in your future. Unfortunately, the freelance lifestyle is far from rainbows and butterflies. It’s challenging to manage your own workload and be your own boss. You are responsible for your own business, and if something goes wrong – it’s on you.
There’s no office gossip, annual leave or any kind of employee benefits for that matter. You are on your own, and it’s time to get your head down. Follow this quick guide to prepare yourself for self-employment.
Make a plan
Organisation is the freelancer’s best friend. You need to sit down and plan what the next month will look like. You may have an ongoing project with one company and a few pieces of work from another. Make a list of tasks for each project and block out time in your calendar to complete them. Think about your deadlines and how long each task will take. You should leave a little wiggle room in case a project takes longer than expected. Make a rough plan for each day so you can meet all your deadlines on time.
You can set your own working hours. You can work early in the morning or late at night. You can take a holiday midweek and work through the weekend to make up for it. You have a lot of flexibility as a freelancer, and you should utilise it.
You can decide what projects you want to work on. If you want to focus on one area more than another, go for it. Just remember that you have to make enough money to cover your bills and living expenses. Find a balance between work you love, and work that pays the bills. The best projects do both.
Many freelancers battle with the work-life balance. It’s difficult to switch off at the end of the day when you are working from home. It’s even harder to put down your work when you are responsible for the paycheck at the end of the month. You should get your equipment insured just in case there’s an accident and something breaks. You need to have a safety net.
You don’t get annual leave, bank holidays or sick pay as a freelancer. You can take unlimited time off, but your paycheck will be significantly smaller. It’s important to have an emergency fund on standby in case you can’t work for an extended period of time. A loved one might pass away, or you could come down with an illness. You never know what’s around the corner.
Freelancers can feel lonely and isolated, without any colleagues to fall back on. You may miss the camaraderie of an office environment.
Freelancing is rewarding, challenging and incredibly fulfilling. You need to be prepared for the hurdles along the way.