Dec 8, 04:34 PM: The Freelance Life, Part 4

I’ve covered the basics, public relations, and financial management, and to be frank, I’m pretty tired right about now. Apparently midnight isn’t the best time to begin a 5 part series. Yeah, that’s right; I started this series on a Saturday night right at midnight. Well, part 4 is going to be pretty simple. I’m going to give you a few tips from my own personal experience and then break everything down into a ten step action list that will have you freelancing in no time at all.

My first tip, get yourself a business license. There are two huge benefits of getting a valid business license you should know right away. First, all business related purchases are tax deductible. This means whenever you need to purchase new computers, programs, etc you get a tax write-off for your purchase, which should save you a little bit extra when tax season rolls around. Another major benefit is having a business representation. Many freelancers will register their business under their own name, but if you can shell out a few extra bucks for a Fictional Name license then you become eligible to hire other employees under you in the future. This also means that you get more exposure right off the bat. Your business is automatically listed with your county’s tax service (and often is placed on their website) and more companies will come to you before they go to a business registered under somebody’s real name. Think of it, if you were looking for somebody to design a website for you would you rather hire (just throwing out an example here) “Blue Flavor” or “Joe Fry the Designer Guy?”

Another good bit of advice; get your business listed on freelance design websites, like Xemion.com, Freelance.com, etc. This gets your name out quickly and allows you to choose the jobs you want to take on.

Now for the ten step action list I was telling you about. It’s very simple, and very quick, but will get you going on the right track in any situation.

  1. Planning, PR, and pitching – Who are you going to be working for next year? Always be on the lookout for new clients, but choose carefully. Make sure you get your name out to the people you want to see it.
  2. Develop a thick skin – People are always going to criticize your work. Some may even call it ugly. Just take it all in and learn for your next project. Remember; don’t let everyone else get the best of you. Major companies won’t look twice at those who can’t take the heat.
  3. Keep up personal work – make sure you do off-hours work as well. Fine tone your skills when you have some off time, but take breaks every now and then too.
  4. Perfect every project – do your best on every bit of work you create. A company employee can get away with a sloppy job, but nobody will rehire a freelancer who lets them down.
  5. Invest in relationships – building good client relationships is very important. You don’t have to be best friends with the people you work for, but it’s good to know how they think and stay on their good side.
  6. Legal and aware – you need to do as much legal research as you can before you start freelancing. Learn about taxes and all of the legal implications that go along with starting a new business.
  7. Build an online portfolio – having your work easily accessible to large audiences is vital to your success. Invest in a solid web host and promote your work online as well as in the physical world.
  8. Keep being inspired – go to exhibits, study your surroundings, and take inspiration from everything you see. Never let your work go stale and change your style if the situation calls for it (but don’t forget who you are as a person!) I constantly find myself studying billboards and other works of art around our city, analyzing the layout, logo, etc.
  9. Control your budget – as a freelancer you probably won’t be paid on a regular basis, so you can only buy what you absolutely need. Make sure you set aside a personal fund so you can still support yourself if things fall through.
  10. Enjoy your freedom – keep in shape, spend time with your family, and enjoy the flexibility working for yourself offers. Remember you’re not a corporate slug anymore.

Almost done, folks. The next installment will be the final, and I can finally put a wrap on this project. I’ll be offering some last minute advice and a large list full of links that will help you manage, well, just about anything you want.

Comment [7]

Comments made

  1. I simply wanted to thank you for this series of articles. I have no freelancing experience, but that is where I am aiming myself, and I have certainly learned something in the 10 minutes or so it took to read these 4 articles (with comments… I feel for ya). Thanks again, and good luck going forward.

    Dec 9, 12:12 AM
  2. Another interesting article. Yep, still not freelancing, but it’s an aim for the new year!

    Thanks for your work.

    Dec 9, 05:24 AM
  3. Thanks for the comments. There’ve been 1031 unique views of this article and only two comments. I’m kind of dissapointed to be honest.

    as I mentioned there’s only one article left (many sites say there will be six, but I decided to cut it short), and I probably wont launch the final for about two weeks.

    Dec 9, 12:51 PM
  4. Zeerus – fantastic series, don’t take it personally about the number of comments… it is a good thing you’ve done, and very informative.

    Dec 9, 01:34 PM
  5. Steven, wasn’t really taking it personally, I was just surprised because the other articles in the series received about 10 comments each at this point

    btw, greats ite you have there, I love the design

    Dec 9, 03:16 PM
  6. this is a great series of articles (also linked from my blog):


    Dec 9, 05:02 PM
  7. Baldo, thanks for the link, I saw it a few weeks ago when you originally posted it. glad you’re enjoying the series

    Dec 10, 04:37 PM

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