Self-employment and having your own business are the new black when it comes to dream jobs. More than 57 million people freelance in the US alone. And, by 2027 freelancers will make the majority of the American workforce.
Yet, being your own boss doesn’t always mean things are smooth as silk. So, take some time to research what’s this all about before quitting your full-time job. Otherwise, you risk losing your living standards and ending up looking for a new job sooner than you think. Let’s take a closer look.
Getting Rich Overnight? It Isn’t Going to Happen
If your first thought about freelancing is never-ending piles of money, then this isn’t the right path for you. In the beginning, it’s more about finding clients for your new business or job opportunities. It’s a time of trial and error when you learn how to make things the right way.
Finding the right niche where you can practice your skills, building a relevant portfolio, pitching clients; it’s a lot of stuff to learn and you need time to master your skills in these areas.
The lack of income stability is the top reason why most freelancers choose to keep their day jobs long after they started freelancing. Ideally, you should do them both – freelancing and job – until you manage to make around 75 percent of what you need to pay your expenses from freelance jobs.
Procrastination Is Your Worst Enemy
Here’s the ugly truth: getting work done in time is difficult as a freelancer. Being your own boss puts less pressure on your shoulders when it comes to deadlines. You feel tempted to leave important tasks for later and focus on less relevant activities.
Procrastination is common among beginners, but many experienced freelancers confess they deal with this issue as well, especially during long and boring projects.
Learning to prioritize is essential when self-employed. Anything but that, and you’ll end up with tons of tight deadlines, stress and no sleep. This can have negative effects on the quality of your work, leaving you with unsatisfied clients, missed deadlines and smaller revenues.
Discipline is the key to get your financial freedom. Organize your daily activities, set realistic milestones, and alternate boring tasks with activities that keep you motivated.
You Must Become an Expert in Time Management
Flexibility is a significant advantage as a freelancer. But, too much of it can make you waste time. You must make a schedule and stick to it. There’s plenty of apps and techniques to help you keep track of your working hours. Find the one that suits better your needs and use it to make the most of each working hour.
This also means you should choose your clients wisely. Projects that bring in low income can be a good starting point. But, if you waste too much time with administrative tasks – invoicing, communications and setup – you risk to lose yourself in details and miss the bigger image.
As self-employed you need to make sure your business makes a profit. For example, if you run a trucking business and are looking for ways to expand – you may consider looking into title loans on trucks. If you decide to work extra hours to cover expenses – this typically isn’t an affordable solution in the long run. Calculate how much you need to earn to make a living (in line with your skills and expertise) and charge your clients the fair price.
Failing is Part of the Progress
On the way from the first client to a successful business, you have many ups and downs. Failing – to respect deadlines, to organize daily activities, to keep clear records about your working history – comes mostly from the lack of experience.
As you go on in this business, every error helps you become better at what you do. You improve your skills and learn new ones, to adapt your business to the demand. Failing, you learn how to follow your intuition and invest your energy to get better jobs and increase your income. It’s part of the process and makes you a better boss for yourself.
You’ll Learn Everything about Taxes The Hard Way
Being your own boss means you get rid of office hours, annoying coworkers and your manager. One thing you can’t skip: taxes. You need to start keeping a record of all your earnings and expenses. If you don’t keep track of your money, you’ll have difficulties with filing for tax returns.
At the end of each year, you have to pay income taxes and, if you make more than $400 a year, self-employment taxes. Whether you decide to hire an accountant or do the job yourself, make sure all your data is accurate, to avoid legal issues.
The Burnout Syndrome Is Real!
Freelancers are more likely to experience the burnout syndrome than office workers. Too many clients, perfectionism, administrative tasks, less sleep and permanent stress can bring you to exhaustion.
Don’t let yourself caught up in this vicious circle. Eat well, sleep enough and exercise. Being your own boss is about finding the work/life balance you don’t have working from 9 to 5. Most freelancers tend to forget about this essential element.
The burnout syndrome has many symptoms, such as:
- You neglect your family and friends;
- You feel hyperactive and don’t accept failure as part of your professional life;
- You can’t sleep well;
- You lose focus while working;
- You experience headaches and backache often;
- You lose your appetite;
- You miss deadlines and don’t feel motivated to finish projects;
- You feel tired most of the day and tend to spend more time doing nothing.
If you find yourself in most of these symptoms, it’s time take a break and recharge yourself.
Money Makes More Money
You can’t have a successful business without an investment. Whether you’re a freelance writer or a small restaurant owner, you need tools to do your job. They’re going to make you more productive, which means satisfied clients and higher income. Even better, investing in your business tells potential clients you believe in what you do.
Furthermore, you need to invest in your education. Permanent learning is essential for freelancers and entrepreneurs, as it allows them to improve skills and become better professionals.
Being your own boss is a lot about taking the right decisions at the right time. And this is something you learn, failing, working harder and studying. It has bad days and good days. And it’s awesome once you learn to live it the right way.