Did you know that around 35% of the American workforce are freelancers? In the UK, we’re a little behind, but it’s becoming an increasingly attractive option for many workers. It’s thought that by 2020, around half of the workers in the country will be either freelance or self-employed and that traditional means of employment are on the way out. Freelance work appeals for many reasons. It’s a fantastic option for mum’s and dads who need greater flexibility to work around childcare, or even for those without children who care for another adult. It’s a fantastic way to make money for yourself. It gives you a great chance to set your own hours and have the perfect work-life balance. Freelancing also means you can work from anywhere, allowing you to travel and see more of the world without having to take time off and use up your savings.
It can also be much more stable than traditional employment. Freelancers unfortunately still have trouble getting approved for things like mortgages and loans, and their car insurance might even be more expensive. This is because lenders claim that there’s no guaranteed income, that they are a risk. But, anyone can lose a job, at any time. If Toys R Us can go bust, is anyone safe? Employees losing a job have no fallback. A freelancer losing a client finds another one. Freelancers have the skills needed to make money for themselves. This is crucial in modern society.
Despite all of the benefits and appeal, many people are put off freelancing because they just don’t know where to start. They don’t understand how to get work and worry that they don’t have the right qualifications or experience. But, some freelancers start with no experience at all. It’s such a flexible world that you don’t need to worry. Talent and hard work are much more important. Here’s a look at what you need to do to get started.
Before you start, it’s a good idea to take some precautions. First, try to save a little money. Just in case it takes you a while to set up. It can be a good idea to start freelancing around another job until it picks up so that you don’t face a loss of income. You may want to look at physicaladdress.com for a mailbox so that you never need to give out your home address to clients and suppliers, and you should also look at your social media profiles. As a freelancer, your online profiles are how people will find you so tidy up your feeds and watch what you say online.
Prepare a Portfolio
If you’ve got limited to no experience, getting any new job can be hard. Remember trying to get your first employed position with an empty CV? The key to finding work as a new freelancer is having a portfolio. If you want to be a writer, photographer or a graphic designer, it’s easy enough to create some pieces of work to show off your skills. Try to cover different topics to show off everything that you can do. Think of your portfolio as your online CV and add to it every time you do something that you are proud of.
Now it’s time to find work. Don’t be overwhelmed; it’s probably much easier than you think. Eventually, you’ll be able to approach brands and companies that you want to work with. You’ll have experience, references and a huge portfolio of work to show. But, to start with using sites like Upwork.com can be a great option. On these sites, people advertise jobs for freelancers to apply for or bid on. Some jobs will pay very little and won’t be what you really want to be doing. But it can still be a good start. However, if you’ve got a good selection of work samples, try applying for better-paid jobs, you never know. If you are lucky, you could get some long-term clients straight away and move on to bigger things.
Register as Self-Employed
If you want to freelance it’s essential that you register as self-employed and start recording your income straight away. Register and set up tracking spreadsheets before you’ve even got a job so that it’s easy and things don’t get mixed up. As a self-employed individual, you are responsible for declaring your income, filing a tax return and paying any tax and national insurance you owe. It’s important to do this correctly and on time or you’ll face a fine. So, make sure you know what you are doing before you start making money.