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Over the past few years, many people who never thought they would be the work-from-home type have felt like giving up the daily commute. They can now come to their computer from home to carry out their professional tasks.
According to Research bench, 60% of people currently working from home would like to continue working from home in the future. And based on my conversations with people in my consulting work, I know many would love to transition from working remotely for someone else to working freelance for clients.
Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to become a profitable freelancer. Between the big freelance platforms and the many companies that want to hire freelancers with specific expertise, there are plenty of lucrative opportunities ready to be tapped.
Here are some tricks I’ve used myself. I’ve also given them to my clients to help them transition from working remotely to working as a freelancer.
Understand your value
If you’ve worked remotely, chances are you have a marketable skill set as a freelancer. Whether you’re an accountant, engineer, support staff, or SEO expert, many companies are willing to pay a premium for your services.
Skilled freelancers can generally charge much higher hourly rates than traditional workers; one of the reasons why freelancing is so appealing to people.
Related: Why digital freelancing is the future of work
The initial balance
As you transition from remote to freelance work, you’ll need to find a way to get new clients while maintaining your current workload. For most people, that means maintaining your regular work schedule for a while while you learn how to acquire new clients. Typically, this means focusing on customer acquisition and freelance gigs in the early mornings, evenings, and weekends.
It’s a lot of hard work, but in the end, it can make the transition much easier. Once you’ve lined up enough client work to cover your basic bills (and saved yourself six months of living expenses) and are adept at attracting new clients, that’s when I generally advise my clients that it is time to make the transition.
Master your schedule
One of the hardest things for people to do when they start freelancing instead of working on the clock is to take control of their own schedule. I find letting the calendar be my boss works best. Other people focus on to-do lists. The most important thing is that you own your schedule. When you say you are going to work, then work.
Most freelance jobs have deadlines and you want to make sure you meet them in order to earn and maintain a great reputation.
Integrated acquisition of new customers
Even if you currently have a full list of customers, you want to make sure that you build time into your schedule for new customer acquisition. When you are self-employed, there is always a risk that a client will drop out. You must be able to replace this client if and when this happens.
By keeping your customer acquisition skills up to date, you can help mitigate this risk.
Understand your tax obligations
Taxes is another area where I see freelancers really struggling to transition from working remotely as an employee to self-employment.
As a self-employed person, you are 100% responsible for eliminating taxes on your income. You need to work with a good accountant early on to make sure you’re doing it right.
Related: The profession of freelancing: an increasingly popular and very viable activity…
Health insurance management
When you transition to self-employment, you usually have to start covering your own health insurance. It can be a big expense, so it’s something you need to assess before quitting your traditional job. In the United States, you can purchase health insurance from a broker, or you can use Healthcare.gov to find a policy that’s right for you.
Make sure you understand the rules about qualifying events and when you can buy health insurance and how much it costs.
Enjoy your freedom of time
In my opinion, the biggest advantage of freelance work over traditional remote work is control over your time. You may need to show up to meetings at a specific time. But most freelance jobs allow you to work on your projects whenever you want, as long as you get the job done.
This gives you the freedom to hit the gym mid-day or go out for lunch whenever you want. For me, the freedom of time is one of the things I value the most and it’s one of the main reasons why I work for myself.
If you’re considering making the switch from remote to freelancing, these tips can help set you up for success. Additionally, since freelancers typically have multiple clients, freelancing may actually be safer than working at a job.
Related: 6 Steps to Becoming a Successful Freelancer