Whether you’re thinking of taking your side hustle full-time or leaving a corporate job to strike out on your own, becoming a full-time freelancer is an exciting endeavor. But becoming your own boss is about more than setting your own hours and working from home. It also means taking on a new set of responsibilities that your employer is no longer there to provide.
When you’re freelancing, managing your business’s finances is a new and possibly complex responsibility, especially if finance isn’t your thing. Billing and collecting money from clients, as well as managing the business’s expenses, is an important part of being a good business owner. In addition to the business’s finances, you now have additional personal financial responsibility, as there’s no employer to take taxes out of your pay. Are you disciplined enough to set aside money for your yearly income tax bill? If all of this sounds uncomfortable, setting up some systems for handling your finances, paying appropriate taxes, and invoicing and billing clients should be handled before you make the leap.
Insurance and other freelance benefits
As a freelancer, you’ll now be responsible for your own health insurance and other benefits. Make sure that you build in enough room in your pricing to account for the cost of health insurance and the loss of fringe benefits you’ll no longer be receiving. For example, if your employer used to cover the cost of your Internet or provided paid time off, you’ll need to account for that change in your budget. When you’re considering how much you need to make to be able to cover all your expenses and make a profit, don’t forget to add those expenses.
Build up your clientele
In most corporate jobs, your clients are handed to you. When you have to find your own clients to keep your business afloat, you need a good understanding of sales and marketing. It’s important to have a solid customer acquisition strategy before you make the shift to freelancing. Whether you are building your online presence, running advertising, or creating sales collateral, you’re the one who is responsible for closing the deal. Of course, you can outsource some of these items, but you still need to have a working knowledge of sales and marketing to work effectively with contractors.
When you work for a corporation, you usually have a team of peers and managers who you can go to for support, bounce ideas off, and share the load. Regardless of where you work, that community is important to your success. Where will you get that support when you leave your job? Communities like IAW offer a supportive community of women and can put you in the company of other business owners with similar goals. The more communities in which you can make meaningful connections, get support, and exchange information, the better.
“IAW networking events are a great way for you to expand your network and tap into a stream of potential clients. Each event offers an opportunity for you to ‘Share Your Ask’ where you can tap into the power of the IAW community to find support for all of your professional goals.” –Megan Bozzuto, President, International Association of Women
When you make the switch to freelancing, your career opportunities are endless. In addition to being able to set your own prices and choose the projects that resonate most with you, you now have new responsibilities as a business owner. Those added responsibilities can be scary to think about, but doing your research and having a solid plan will lead you to success in your freelancing career.