Declaring your independence as a freelancer

“Be in business for yourself but not by yourself.”

This is the mantra of every franchisor to each potential franchisee when explaining the opportunity to own their own business.  Owning your own business means having employees, payroll, and many other overhead costs and headaches.

Being a business owner / consultant / freelancer is different, however, and is more about the freedom to control your career and your future. As a freelancer, you don’t need to worry about payroll taxes, and withholding money for the IRS for employees, nor do you need to worry about expanding your office space, equipment projections, or other time-consuming items.

While there are many benefits to being a freelancer, when you are in business by yourself, there is no company-funded healthcare or retirement plan or life insurance or disability insurance, in addition to many other safety nets that can be in place for full-time salaried employees. These safety nets are just some of the reasons why it’s important that you take the steps to set yourself up for success as a freelancer.

Being in business for yourself brings its challenges, but with the right resources and the motivations, the freedom provided can be life changing.  These five steps can guide you to  the resources necessary for career independence. 

  1. Take on freelance projects in your spare time to be completed outside your full-time job.  Work a few of these projects to get a feel for the opportunities and the process.
  2. Make sure you have at least 6-12 months worth of savings available for expenses before going full time.  This creates a safety net for you and keeps the panic away while you build your brand and locate the best projects for you.
  3. Build your personal brand and market yourself.  This will establish the work you want and the projects that make the most sense for you.   
  4. Do the math. Most freelancers earn 30% more per hour than traditional employees, but they also include other benefits such as xxx.  Determine your pay requirements and the value of your skills by searching job boards for current pay rates for your skills.  Here is an article with tips on getting paid.   
  5. Get your health insurance, tax preparation, and retirement planning ready for a transition. Being independent means you need to ensure you have your own safety net in place.

Considering becoming your own boss can be scary, but with the right preparation and right resources, it can bring both professional and personal rewards. You can be successful in business for yourself and have the freedom to be in control. One great way to start is by joining a community like CareerGig that connects freelance talent with the best employers of contractors and independent workers.

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