What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think ‘freelance‘? Lying in bed with a laptop? A few hours of working from a quirky coffee shop? While this isn’t a million miles away from what could become a reality, it’s not that simple. Here are the first things to consider before taking the leap….
An Unsteady Income:
Once you have a regular stream of clients and projects on the go, freelance work can be very fruitful. However, unlike 9-5 jobs, freelance income is not steady, you could have months of earning well and then a quiet patch where the money and projects dry up. Are you in a position where an unsteady income will be possible to live on? Remember you don’t get holiday or sick pay when you work for yourself. Ensure you have some savings that can help you through the early stages building up your client base and a financial safety net to get you through the peaks and troughs of freelancing.
There is no manager breathing down your neck, so you need to ensure you have plenty of self-motivation and discipline when it comes to timeframes and project management. As long as you complete the job, you can work whatever hours suit you (evenings or weekends) however, it’s proven that most freelancers work best when they stick to a timetable/schedule perhaps even keep to a 9-5 working day, whether that be at home or working remotely. This also makes it easier to separate work and free time and prevent you from working around the clock without suitable breaks.
Self-employed or Limited Company
You must decide whether to become self-employed or register as a private limited company. If you are self-employed you will need to go through an umbrella company to take care of your salary and payments when working on temp contracts. However, if you are thinking of a long-term freelance career, then it would be best to become a private limited company. Cogs have a freelance support team that can guide and assist you with this process.
What’s your price?
So your first client asks what your rates are – what do you do? On many occasions freelancers undervalue themselves. Explore the market, and find out what your peers charge for similar projects. You can view our salary benchmarks as a guide (London Salaries, Berlin Salaries, Singapore Salaries) to gauge industry standards in your discipline. Make sure the client understands the value you are adding to their business, don’t udersell yourself. If you are providing them with a great service or job then price yourself accordingly.
Who’s the boss?
You are far more than just a freelancer, you are now CEO of your own business. That means everything from marketing, project management and finance is down to you. Ensure your brand is on point, that you have a professional social media feed and a strong portfolio available to share with clients.
As for staying on top of your finances – check out our top freelance finance apps. Don’t be shy to chase payment for work completed, be professional and stern when necessary.
Before you begin any project make sure all parties involved have signed a contract. The employer may have one for you to sign to cover their back – but what about your own? It is very simple to create a contract and it’s vital to have some sort of agreement signed which protects you incase of any issues/ disagreements.
There are plenty of resources out there to guide you on what needs to be in a contract, but as long as you state the following and it’s signed by both parties, you will be legally covered:
*Pricing / Rates – agree your day rate.
*Payment/ invoicing terms – when will you invoice and what are the payment terms agreed.
*Single Point of Contact – you can specify that you work with one contact so you are not bogged down with 5 different people giving you feedback and amendments.
*Kill Fee – a kill fee clause saves you from being the disadvantaged party in case a project gets axed.
*Revisions / Rewrites – ensure there are terms agreed for the number of rewrites that can be done.
*Deadlines – when will the project need to be complete?
As a full-time freelancer, you need to keep an eye on emerging trends and have the ability to quickly figure out which developments could benefit your freelance business. You also won’t have an employer sending you on courses to ensure your knowledge is up to date, you will have to do so yourself. Meet Up is great for free networking events in your city so you can listen to industry changes and to network. Read as many industry publications and blogs as you can so you are fully up to date with your area and changes in it.
If you are considering taking the leap into the world of freelance Cogs offer a great freelancer platform, with advice and round the clock support. We also offer weekly payment terms and we always pay on time to make it easier for you to manage your finances and budget. There is a simple rebooking system and even some priority selection for the top roles, so if you a considering freelance you can do it stress-free with a little guidance from Cogs.
- Looking for work