This article is written by Quin Hoskins. Having studied law and several science-related subjects at degree level, this has provided him with the perfect foundation to cover an eclectic range of topics in his freelance writing career. From the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs to countless travel sites, he is proud to be associated with companies and organizations that are definitely at the top of their game. The flexibility of his freelance writing business allows him to devote a significant proportion of his time to study and is finishing his last course – out of 6 – towards his LLB (Hons) this year. He is also an avid traveler and has proudly visited 40 other countries to date, with much more planned for the future.
When you first consider entering the world of a freelancer, there are a good number of factors that will need to be considered. Foremost amongst these will be whether or not you will be working full-time or part-time. Of course, this will primarily depend on the level of income you need to abstract from your new business; however, there are a few other important considerations that I would like to share with you at this time. Here are some things to consider when deciding a full-time or part-time freelancing career.
Deciding on the Level of Income Required
If you have just left a high-powered, 6-figure salary job for working as a freelancer, there can only be one reaction to your decision here: GULP! Seriously, though, at this time it is important to be completely realistic with your expectations from this endeavor. After all, you are starting off a brand new business, and everything will take some time to build.
It is all very welcoming into freelancing with goals and income expectations; however, if I am completely honest with you, this will prove to be pretty futile, especially at first. The best way of determining the level of income you should expect to receive would be to hope for around $250.00 within the first month. It is because your reputation is brand new and you are likely to struggle to secure jobs at first. Any that you are lucky enough to win will predominantly be quite lowly-paid, while you try your best to build your reputation and employability in the future.
If your work is excellent, you will find that you acquire those all-important repeat clients along the way. Regular customers are the bread and butter of any freelancing business. These clients already love what you do and are happy to continue placing orders with you. Therefore, you should expect to see an increase in your income level in the second month. In fact, target around $450.00 in this month. After that, you should expect to see your salary level increase by a couple of hundred dollars per month, at least.
If you can only commit to working part-time in your freelancing business, it won’t prove to be a problem for you. However, it will always be better for you to devote a certain number of hours to your business every day, rather than a set number of days per week. It is imperative you check your e-mails and inquiries from prospective clients every day; never procrastinate replying or following up on their requests, and leave an unacceptable gap in communications.
At first, you are most likely to find that you are only able to secure enough work to be considered part-time. Occasionally, clients may be ready to manipulate starters by offering them copious amounts of work at a very low rate of pay. Of course, such a poor newcomer will plow and slog their way through the mountain of work just to make sure they secure that all-important 5-star rating (you will notice the client will state that they will give you a top score in their job proposal to entice you!). When you start out in the industry, look at the amount of work you are being offered in any project and never overcommit yourself.
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Working as a Freelancer as a Second Job
If you already have another full-time role of employment elsewhere, there is nothing to prevent you from working as a freelancer as a second job. In fact, if I am 100% truthful with you, this is the safest way to enter this industry. At least this way you will have far less to lose if things do not work out for you. You can build up your reputation at your pace over the months and see if the endeavor will prove to be fruitful as your primary role of employment in the future.
If this idea appeals to you, make sure you can log-in to your e-mails on a daily basis. Also, be prepared to spend at least a couple of hours on projects per day (or night) and to devote your entire weekends to your clients’ work.
If you are securing enough work to be considered full-time, you really should pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself on your success! Clearly, your clients appreciate what you are doing, and you are not encountering too many difficulties in securing work. Obviously, it is when you are working to this full capacity that you will be able to earn the level of income you need to enjoy a high enough standard of living.
There is one word of caution that needs to be acknowledged when you reach this level of capacity, however. Make sure you do not overcommit yourself and take too much on. If you like to work around 35 to 40 hours per week, carefully consider all of the work that is secured to ensure you do not go too far over your preferred number of hours per week. It's become a balancing act: one that you will learn to juggle with experience. In the meantime, while you find your feet in this industry, do be prepared to spend some extra hours on your work some weeks – alas, everything in life is a learning exercise.
Personally, I started working as a freelancer in the hope that I would always be able to work full-time. It took me many months to reach that level, but I certainly did get there in the end. I have also come to appreciate that it doesn’t take too long to wind things down. Even if you go on a week’s holiday, be prepared to have to build things back up each and every time you return.
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