Life as a freelancer – working as an employer’s freelancer or as a freelance mini-employer (control of the work you do, but without the employer – so pay a lot less) – can be super lucrative. Let’s take a look at some of the best strategies to make this work.
Document your work
Many freelancers pay careful attention to their expenses, including invoices and receipts, and carefully track and schedule their work. This granular detail can help you when you’re looking for a client to confirm you have done a good job and your work is worth more than $20 an hour. Ideally, you’ll keep these records in a journal with the goal of preserving all documents long after you leave your current employer.
I have been advising clients to try for a business loan since 2010, when I had my first solo venture. We found that banks were reluctant to work with us, and I was lucky enough to get an AAUBO loan to support my other projects. A lot of people are enthusiastic about finding a loan but unable to qualify for one. One recommendation I made to my client was that to get a loan, they needed to be able to prove they have sufficient revenue to repay the loan. They now support my work and know I have the resources to cover my expenses.
Demand more control
Hiring people isn’t the only way to take on clients. If your income can’t keep up with expenses, you may want to consider a contract. Many high-volume freelancers don’t manage their own accounts, so they need a way to track invoices, track and track, so they can spot extra cash. MERSee offers services like compiling invoices and allocating mileage – on the new team it offers cutting-edge software to monitor client and transactions, providing an average of 30 percent more time for each account.
Frequent outsourced services
Businesses are happy to pay for basic services like accounting, invoicing and website maintenance or hosting. Companies are still reluctant to pay a high, separate fee for work that they don’t have to do themselves, so you need to meet the client’s business standards. At ICOMI, a publishing company in New York, I started outsourcing more work to the freelance desk. They could add the extra work and stay focused on their main goal: building great content.
A recent study showed that the online and office provider VMWare had a higher return on investment than the number of employees on the company’s payroll. Isolated spending can happen because you have much smaller clients or you only sell about a few services a month, so you can negotiate on price. And if you have a great product, you can get access to the strongest distribution channels like networks and agencies. These networks are usually not able to make connections as easily as you, so they’ll probably pay you top-notch rates to connect you with them.
The freelancer’s art is to have control of your own destiny, both on how to spend your money and what work you can offer. This requires organization and dedication – we’ll be doing this for a long time, so don’t stop now.
Monica Sula is a freelance writer, public speaker and teach who specializes in business development and marketing.