6 Things to Know About a Freelance Career

Freelancing gives you great career flexibility whether you are a consultant, a writer, a photographer or whatever else your career passion may be. It can give you wonderful opportunities to use your talents and to express yourself. You can also pick and choose which freelance jobs you want to do, while passing up on others. All of these things are a plus, but there are some other things you should know about freelance careers.

Home Sweet Home

Freelancing may mean you get to work from home; however, you need to plan your finances carefully so that you do not fall behind in mortgage or rent payments. Renting can be more difficult, as the landlord will want to know you are employed full-time. Some may even refuse to rent to you, or your rental agreement can change. I figured I had until the end of the summer to decide whether I will move from CA, but with a new property management company comes new decisions this spring. A year-long lease is safer when freelancing because it is more difficult to be evicted should there be problems. Month-to-month leases are more flexible, yet you can find yourself without a place to live or work should problems arise.

Go-To Person

You are “IT” when you work at home. This means that unless you set some boundaries from the beginning, people who are at home, kids, spouses, whomever, will take it upon themselves to interrupt you at every opportunity just because you are there. Your family or neighbors will call you to pick up their sick kids, pick up their mail, pick up their overdue dry cleaning, you name it, you’ll get a call for it. You need to figure out what your boundaries are and stick with them. My phone is set to outgoing calls only, which drives people crazy, but my work gets done. That may not work for you. However, you can set up different ring tones on your cell phone for calls you absolutely must take and let the others go to voicemail if your phone has that technology.

Crowd Sourcing

So if working from home can be a distraction, what about writing at a cafe? Ever hear how loud those frappe machines are? Cafe music, screaming babies and rude people on cell phones are all a part of that cafe scene, so if you are desperate to get out of the house to get some work done, source out a quiet cafe. Public libraries may be another option, but their internet may be slower, and you leave your laptop to run to the bathroom at your own risk.

Procrastination

It is easy to put off doing your work until the deadline or the bills come due. There is always another chore you could be doing, another website to browse, another sale at the store. And there is a fine line between creativity and procrastination. Sometimes, I DO have to do other things while I let an article form in the back of my mind. Writing when I am not ready leads to bad writing.

Tablets – You Said it Would Work. You Said!

New technology becomes an issue if your freelance career relies on some means of connecting to the internet. Tablets are one of the newest forms of internet connecting technology. Make sure the tablet of your choice works with the software you need and does everything you need it to do before you fall in love with it and have to buy it. Need flash? Forget an iPad 2. Need to use an ethernet connection? Ditto. Need to dock the tablet horizontally? Ditto. Test it before you buy it. Writing for 12 hours on a computer is very different from doing the same on a tablet even if it does have a longer battery life.

Tax Matters, Task Masters

Find a really good tax person, and let her do what she does best: your taxes. An accountant or bookkeeper who knows the laws on freelancing will free you up to do what you do best: freelance. The cost is worth it, as she can find you deductions you would never dream of and can keep you out of tax trouble.

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