When you are a freelancer, you have absolute control over when and where you work. To how many of you does that sound like a dream come true?
Come on. Be honest. You don't like getting up two hours earlier than you would by choice to drive to an office where a micro manager dictates everything you do.
Working remotely by your rules is tantamount to winning the lottery. It's you calling shots over how most of your work week goes. But there are some matters you will need to address when looking into freelancing jobs for beginners.
1. Calculate your 'freedom number.'
The freedom number is how much income you'll need to make to replace income and benefits.
You'll want to run your business as lean as possible, but at the same time account for heavy lifting the soon-to-be former employer is doing.
Examples: retirement matching contributions, half employment taxes, and health insurance will be up for consideration.
A good rule of thumb is to take your current take-home pay (THP) and divide it by your gross. The answer will probably be a long decimal, but for simplicity, use 0.54 (as in your THP is 54% of gross). That means you've lost 46% (or 0.46) of your salary to payroll deductions.
To duplicate benefits on your own, go back to THP and divide it by 0.46. You'll notice the resulting number is higher than your current gross. That's how much you'll need to earn to match quality-of-life.
So, $5,000 as an employee results in a THP of $2,700. To replicate things identically as a freelancer, expect your freedom number to be around $5,869.
2. Target a daily minimum.
Once you know what it takes, divide monthly income (in the example, $5,869) by the number of days you plan to work each month. Taking one day off a week, call the number 24 days. You'll need to earn about $244.54 each workday to stay afloat.
3. Know where to find work.
There are many freelance jobs online for beginners including some you will find at a more deep-drill site like fieldengineer.com. While Field Engineer tends to be a haven for established pros in the engineering and online computer networking jobs space, it can also be a great place to cut teeth as an independent professional.
Your best bet at finding the types of jobs that will put you on the fast track to full-time status is to focus on a sector and go after it. Forget the Monsters and CareerBuilders. If desiring a job in the information technology field, look into a freelance website for IT. In the niches lie the riches!
4. Be open to working for free.
Simmer! This does not mean work for free all the time. How stupid would that be? No, instead use "the power of free" to establish connections that will lead to paid opportunities -- an especially important tactic before you're established in a certain space. And don't be afraid to use the web for this either.
The online networking jobs in US cities can lead you to industry events and conferences previously unfamiliar to you, which in turn can lead to new freelance opportunities.
5. If possible, start by freelancing on the side.
Downsizing can dash a freelancer's best laid plans, but if you have relative job security, plan out your escape with one or two jobs. Not only is the extra money welcomed, but also you get to take baby steps into the business administration aspects. This allows you to figure out your processes and policies on someone else's dime.
6. Don't get overextended.
If the freelance life is what you really want, be careful not to put all your eggs into one basket. It can be tempting to do so especially when you're just taking off. But the smaller a client list, the more in danger you become of reverting back to employee.
For freelancers, true job security comes from ensuring no one client can sink your entire business. Focus on generating multiple streams of income and finding a balance among them all.
Hopefully this primer will get you started working remotely while avoiding the frequent pitfalls. Now full steam ahead!
William Harper (Field Engineer) is a good telecom engineer and knows the benefit of working freelance. Also advises search the ideal platform to showcase your skills directly to businesses that are actively seeking contractors.