Quitting your day job and setting yourself up as a freelancer is deceptively easy. In fact, you have to wonder if many people would consider this as a viable income option if they new how difficult it was to make a living as a freelancer compared to the ease of setting it up. Newbie freelancers soon learn the pitfalls of not having a steady job. If you don’t secure any work, you don’t get paid. If you take a sick day or go on holiday, you don’t get paid. If you don’t earn enough to pay all your expenses each month, you’re in serious trouble. That said, nobody would be a freelancer at all if the hard work didn’t eventually pay off. It’s just a matter of surviving the transition, so here are a few survival tips to get you through your first year.
Understand that you are a business
All businesses have brands, the employees dress appropriately, and there are always deadlines to be met. It should be no different when you’re a freelancer. Although it might be tempting to burn all your work outfits and just go about your business in your pajamas, this will kill your motivation and productivity dead. No one wants to hire someone who works in their pajamas, because they give them impression that they don’t take their job seriously. As a freelancer, you are a business, and only you represent your brand. Set yourself some work hours, get dressed, and don’t stop working until office hours are over.
You need protection
When you first become a freelancer, you’ll sign a lot of contracts with new clients; these are designed to protect your client’s interests, but as you are your own business, you also need protection in case a client forgets to pay you for your work. Therefore, there are two things you need to protect your fledgling business (i.e. yourself); you need a PI insurance quote and a lawyer. PI or Professional Indemnity insurance protects you when a client accuses you of providing inadequate services or designs; it covers the legal costs and expenses in defending the claim, as well as compensation payable to your client to rectify the mistake. A lawyer will not only defend you from these accusations, but they can also read over contracts before you sign them, and chase clients who don’t pay you for completed work.
You won’t be an overnight millionaire
The truth is, you might start losing a lot of money before you start making money, which is why it’s best not to quit your day job until you’re sure you have a sizeable safety net in place. It will take a lot of time and marketing of your services before you’ve secured enough clients to earn your previous annual salary. If you’re lucky, eventually you could be earning more than ever, or at least you’ll earn a decent income with fewer hours.