Who is a Freelancer?
In lucid words, a freelancer is a self-employed professional. He works on a short-term or long-term basis depending on the client and the project. For instance, he may be hired by many clients for short-term projects or he may freelance for a company on a big project. Even though the term is generally applied to professionals from the arts faculty, freelancers are found in nearly every line of work: freelance programmers, writers, bookkeepers, designers, musicians, accountants, et al.
To succeed as a freelancer, a rich and sound knowledge of the nitty-gritty of your profession is a prerequisite. Either you can learn them on your own or join a professional course for it. Freelancing, in essence, being a one man band requires you to know the other side of the coin: how to manage other resources and raw materials that make a successful pro – the stationary, communication technology and so on.
Those starting out as freelancers do not usually hire an accountant or a secretary – it eats into the profit. If you can, that’s great. If not, it is needed that you learn the basics: paying professional taxes (if applicable to you), acquiring professional licenses required to operate, the knowledge of taxes you should include in your invoices, preparing an invoice, maintaining the ledger and so on. This may turn off most, but that is what separates the freelancer: he dares.
Being a freelancer teaches you how to manage money and resources well – which most employees do not learn as long they are getting their regular paychecks. A freelancer must know that every buck matters.
“How much to charge?” is really a vague question. You begin somewhere around what is charged in the industry. In books sounding similar to “… Ways of Becoming a Great Freelancer”, advice is given on charging. It is better to follow the uncommon common sense. You create an image by what you charge. The best way is to treat every project uniquely: avoid ‘packaged’ solutions. Every problem requires a rare solution. In a pill, be genuine.
Successful freelancing involves great responsibility. You cannot afford to take a day off due to the aftermath of eating too many ice-creams – it shows careless on your part. Your body and mind equals your lab and studio.
Being a freelancer involves relevant and responsible communication: talking to prospects, making a pitch, after sales communication and so on. Connect with other freelancers in the industry: social media can save time. Attend module designed courses exclusively for freelancers – again, they save time. Here’s the key: regular communication and involvement. You never know where your next client can come from.
A freelancer doesn’t live in an ivory tower. Those who do so trap themselves. An outstanding freelancer is not a freelancer because he cannot cope with his colleagues in an office or wants to have the whole pie. He freelances as he has discovered his potential creative genius. When you discover it you have to walk your own path and not drive on the readymade freeways.
Have you discovered yours? Read it in Why you could never awaken your creative genius?
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