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If you are considering leaving your 9-5 job to become a freelancer, it is best you get yourself abreast of the information and resources you need to thrive in this mode of work. The American freelance market which is made up of about 57 million Americans contributes to 5% of the country’s GDP – which is more than the contribution of industries like transportation and construction.
It is also interesting to note that a little over half of these Americans claim that they would never take up a traditional 9-5 job – no matter the pay. All these statistics were compiled by the Freelancers Union in conjunction with the freelance platform giant, Upwork.
Planning for the “Big Move”
The benefit of this mode of work is the flexibility it affords the freelancers. The kind of lifestyle they want or location they want to be in at any particular point in time cannot be hindered by their job as opposed to their 9-5 counterparts. Asides this, the comfort of working for yourself and on your own terms is really liberating.
However, as a freelancer or someone looking to become one, it is important to know that the job/business comes with a great deal of planning. This is not limited to just the net profit to be made at the end of a job or a season.
The planning should span across things like the number of clients, networking goals, amount of time put into work per day or week, how fast the business should grow, amongst others. For example, a person might prefer working long hours with fewer clients but for a higher pay per job than someone who works fewer hours with more clients for low pay but in the end, sums up to a lot. It really boils down to preference.
Tools to Assist with Planning and Implementation
To assist with this planning and its implementation, several tools that can help freelancers save time and resources have sprung up over the last couple of years. Asides the specific tools needed for the creation and delivery of the intended service, the following category of tools will help freelancers achieve their goals.
- Finance Tools: Handling finances is about the most tedious thing freelancers have to do because of its criticality and importance to the business. Finance handling stretches beyond the processing of income and expenses. It includes tax processing, invoice generation, and payment of other freelancers employed (if necessary). Special applications such as Bonsai and Wave help integrate invoicing and payment onto one platform so the freelancer can have easier control of things. What’s more? These applications provide analytics solution and they also accept different payment options, affording the freelancers, and clients better flexibility.
- Security Tools: One of the major advantages freelancers have is the ability to work from anywhere and at any time. This however comes with its disadvantages. You often see people pull out their devices in public places such as airports, parks, coffee shops and connect to free WiFi so they can save some mobile data while accessing the Internet. For freelancers, this could be risky as many forms of attacks such as spoofing and man-in-the-middle attacks are perpetrated under the blanket of public WiFi. For those who are concerned about their safety on the Internet, it is advisable to connect your devices to a VPN for additional security. This would ensure the safety of your personal data and the works being done for your clients.
- Timing Tools: Because of the absence of actual boundaries with respect to working hours, several freelancers, especially newbies, work for long hours trying to get clients, complete jobs on time but eventually experience some burn-out along the line. Timing applications such as Calendly, Clockify, and Tracking Doctor helps you keep track of time, log working hours, and even schedule meetings. This way, maximum productivity is attained.
It is important to note that there are several other tools available on the Internet for use. While some are free and others are not, be sure to check for a tool that suits your needs and would be beneficial to you after running your cost-benefit analysis of paying for its use.