Freelancing is really having its moment right now.
All across the internet, people are talking about how fantastic freelancing is, how it allows you to chase your passion and work with more freedom and flexibility than ever.
They aren’t wrong. Freelancing can be an absolutely amazing career move for almost anyone. Who doesn’t want to take their schedule and financial compensation into their own hands?
But just because freelancing has a host of benefits doesn’t mean it’s simple or easy. There are plenty of hurdles you face when you decide to start working for yourself.
Too many people start freelancing without the proper preparation, which is why this article will explore the 3 biggest things you need to know before you launch your own freelance career.
1: Your Taxes Change
One of the biggest changes of the freelance lifestyle is a pretty substantial change in taxes.
When you work for someone else, your employer pays the employer portion of your taxes. This means you’re only responsible for the employee wage taxes.
What’s more, you probably have these taxes automatically taken out of your paycheck, meaning you don’t even have to worry about filing those taxes yourself.
By contrast, freelancers are responsible for their entire income tax. They have to pay both the employer and the employee taxes, meaning they often pay double what a traditional employee would on the same income.
They also have to file their taxes themselves, as they aren’t having their taxes taken out of each paycheck.
A surprising number of new freelancers don’t know this. They don’t plan properly for tax season, and when they see what they owe, they freak out.
You don’t want this to be you. Understand from the start that you’ll be responsible for paying your own taxes, and set aside money out of each paycheck in advance.
A good rule of thumb is to plan to pay 20 to 25 percent of your income in taxes. You may wind up paying less, but the air is on the side of safety. Your future self will thank you.
2: You Often End Up Working More
People love to talk about the freedom that comes with freelancing. While it is true that you get to set your own schedule, that doesn’t mean you’re working less.
In fact, you often end up working more hours per week than you would in a traditional position.
See, when you’re freelancing, you only get paid for the work you do for clients. That work isn’t the only work you have to do though.
On top of your deliverables, you also need to take time to create and maintain social profiles, websites, portfolios, and other public-facing profiles you can use to showcase your services.
Additionally, you are directly responsible for reaching out to potential clients and marketing yourself. These things end up getting you paid, but no one is going to pay you for marketing yourself.
Finally, you have to handle all the logistics of running your own business. You have to handle your accounting, your client communication, and things like registering an LLC if that applies to you.
You do have freedom as far as choosing when you work, but the actual workload often increases compared to working a 9 to 5.
3: You Need to Practice Self Care
When you get into freelancing, there’s no one to tell you when to clock out. You can theoretically work all day and all night.
Because of this, it’s absolutely crucial that you learn to manage your stress and maintain a proper work-life balance.
Practicing mindfulness at work, taking breaks, establishing a solid routine, and making a point to do non-work activities are critical components of freelancing success.
You need to learn to manage your time so you don’t wind up burning out. If you don’t, you’ll wind up miserable and unmotivated.
Successful freelancers know how to place boundaries on their work, keeping them level and able to bring their best week after week.
Freelancing can be a wonderful career move. It can help you find joy in your work, make more money, and create a schedule that works with your life.
Before jumping in though, it’s important that you prepare. The freelance life requires you to be responsible for your taxes, your business, and your own well-being.
Knowing this, create a plan. Ensure you have strategies in place for all three of the above-mentioned items, and you’ll be ready to handle them as you start your new self-driven career.