Becoming self-employed brings equal feelings of excitement and anxiety. On one hand, you’re the boss and largely, the master of your own fate. Not only that, but there’s a certain pride in being self-employed. You really are a self-made individual and you’re taking the world head-on.
But it can also be quite an anxious time in your life. The next few steps are often filled with uncertainty and a bit of nervousness. Even though you could have all your homework, you are somewhat jumping into the unknown and there’s no shame in feeling a little worried about the process.
You’d be joining roughly 10 million people who are self-employed, so you don’t have to feel completely alone. Nonetheless, here are some tips to help you get off the ground.
Freelance vs. Self-Employment
Before we begin our tips, a common question is what is the difference between freelance and self-employed. The way you’re legally seen, there’s no real difference. Many people simply don’t like the word freelancer as it makes it seem like you’re hopping from gig to gig without any steady job. Self-employed sounds more stable and more commendable in a way.
It could boil down to your type of work, but there isn’t any real difference between the two.
Map Out Your Finances
Before you start your career, you need to have a very clear picture of your finances. When you move onto self-employment, there might be a period of time where you’re not earning any money. This could be because you’re still setting up your business, building clientele, both or a whole other laundry list of things you have to do.
You’ll need to become a budgeting pro as well as learning how to manage cash flow and potential payroll.
You’ll want to make sure you can survive the lull of income you may experience as well as being able to properly build up your business and career.
While being frugal may initially seem like always choosing the cheaper option when it comes to buying items, but it can also be applied to lifestyle choices in your life.
Instead of eating out once or twice a week, start eating at home more often to cut back on bills. Look over your whole financial picture and see which of your expenses are essential (like a good self employed health insurance plan) and what you just cannot live without.
Now that you’re self-employed, your personal life and work life are going to become more and more intertwined as the year goes on. What you do in one is going to have a big effect on what is going to happen in the other.
Focus on Your Passion
You’re probably not going freelance in an area that you don’t care about. If you’re choosing to become a freelance tax accountant, you have some interest in taxes. That means you should be following your passion when it comes to your self-employment career as well.
Pursue something you know you will love and you know that you will enjoy doing because hopefully, you will continue working through this job for quite a long time. Focusing on your passion will also help you stay positive when the bad times come and they will come eventually.
When you start out, you’re going to be looking for work wherever. In fact, looking for projects or jobs maybe your work for the first few months of this new adventure.
Eventually, you’re going to reach a point where your schedule is full but people still come knocking on the door. When it comes to this point, don’t be afraid to say no with certain projects. You don’t want to overload yourself at the beginning and end up burning yourself at early.
This also comes with the communication aspect. As a freelancer, you might feel tempted to answer every call, every email and every message no matter what time it is. After all, your clients are how you pay your bills. But you don’t have to be the person that answers the call at every hour. You have a life and you should have boundaries. Don’t put all the pressure on yourself to be a superwoman.