I love being a freelance writer, the flexible work schedule and ability to work from home in my pajamas are attractive perks in favor of this career; but, being self employed and working in the comfort of my own home presents some unique challenges. Before you consider bidding adieu to your 9-5 for the greener pastures of freelance, you should know the truth about working from home.
Working from home is nice, but it can also give rise to procrastination. The ability to roll out of bed at my own leisure was the career that I dreamed about every morning at 7 am; however you would be wise to know that editors and contractors are working at 8 am, and they are expecting you to be as well. Initially, when I was still in the honeymoon phase during my early days of working at home, I would notice that emails requiring prompt replies or job opportunities would come through my inbox during the morning hours; and by the time I got to them, the contents were pressing. This looks incredibly negligent and unprofessional to employers, and the nature of the business is trust; editors trust you to be professional and engaged. Today, I wake up with the rest of the working world promptly at 8am; and then comes the beauty of this line of work, I get to do it all in my pajamas!
Organization is key- in life and in work; but as a freelancer this is paramount. Staying on top of projects is beyond important when you are a self employed freelancer; incomplete or late projects can translate very easily into no pay. Juggling several different clients and multiple projects WILL become exceedingly overwhelming if you aren’t organized. I employ a hard copy calendar as well as a Google calendar to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.
Taxes are a part of everyone’s life; when you work in a corporate culture they pay you the luxury of taking care of taxes in an automated fashion. Not so for the freelancer. As self employed professionals the liability falls upon us to make sure we stay in good standing with the tax man; rest assured he will find you and make you pay. Keep every business related receipt and start a very detailed filing system; and find yourself an adequate bookkeeper or accountant, this will save you time and potentially money in the long run. If there were to be an integral rule to becoming a freelancer it would be to track your spending and pay your taxes.
The life of a self employed freelancer has many advantages; such as flexibility and a lifestyle that is dictated by you. But self employment is not all long lunches and late wake ups; to be a successful self employed writer, coder, photographer-whatever; you need self discipline and organization. So before you take the leap, be sure to ask yourself, are you ready for this?
Bianca is a professionally trained natural foods chef and freelance health writer; she writes about diets for skincare. She struck out into the freelance world 6 months ago and hasn’t looked back!