Are You Ready for the Many Roles You’ll Have as a Freelancer?

Perhaps you are particularly talented with a camera and you’ve got some great skills in making those pictures shine. Maybe you’re really good with code and you’ve got a real knack for mobile app development. You might even be a fantastic writer, able to craft together some fantastic stories to share with the world at large. While it may be great that you are gifted in photography, coding or writing, this may not necessarily mean that you would make a great freelance photographer, app developer or freelance writer.

This is one of the subjects that I discuss in my book, Beyond the Margins. Meant as an “indispensable guide” for people who are considering a career in freelancing or for people who are just getting started with running their own home-based business, Beyond the Margins explores many of the questions and challenges that you may face when you decide to go into business for yourself. And one of these challenges is recognizing the variety of roles and responsibilities you’ll have when you work for yourself.

Home Office by Sean MacEntee (Flickr)

Image credit: Sean MacEntee (Flickr)

Are You An Effective Marketer?

You might be the best website developer on the planet, but that doesn’t matter if no one knows who you are and what you’re able to do. You need to attract the right kinds of clients who are willing to pay top dollar for your work. Whereas some other companies might have a marketing department to handle that side of the business, when you are a freelancer with an employee count of one, you are the marketing department. You’ll need to come up with how you’re going to market your business, as well as how to implement that plan and how to track its performance.

Do You Know Your Numbers?

Even if you plan on hiring a professional accountant to do your taxes each year, you still need to be responsible for your accounting the rest of the year. You have to understand how to “manage your books” when it comes to tracking those online invoices, keeping tabs on your expenses, and ensuring that you maintain a positive cash flow. You are your own accounting department, so it is in your best interest to be as organized as possible for all twelve months of the year. Your accountant will hate you if you simply give them a shoebox full of random scraps of paper.

Can You Manage Your Website?

Most of us would agree that every business, regardless of whether it’s traditional brick-and-mortar or it’s online-only, should have a website of some sort. I have one for my freelance writing services and you should have one for your freelance business too. While tools like WordPress, Wix and Squarespace have made it easier to build a website, there can still be a substantial learning curve that you’ll need to overcome. Some of the website management tasks can be outsourced, of course, but you should at least have a rudimentary understanding of how to manage and update your website. This includes the content, as well as domain registration, web hosting, search engine optimization, database management and more.

The Many Lessons of Freelancing

Beyond the Margins, by Michael KwanIt’s easy to go in with the assumption that freelancing is the easy life. While freelancing certainly offers its perks, it also has its fair share of challenges and frustrations.

How are you going to handle the possibility of an inconsistent revenue stream? Do you know how to set realistic goals for your business that will help guide your actions? What do you need to consider when setting up your home office? Should your hourly rate as a freelancer be the same as what you’re currently earning at your 9-to-5 job?

These are the kinds of questions that I endeavor to answer in Beyond the Margins. Pick up a copy today in your choice of Kindle or paperback.


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