Going freelance was to me like becoming vegetarian:
I’d always been thinking about it, for so many years, for somany reasons, personal working attitude and personal work ethic, but I had to wait to be really (REALLY REALLY) ready and sure of it before taking this decision: if I hadn’t waited for my total awareness of what I was doing and going to face, this would have resulted in a huge failure.
I started working as a freelance (translator at the beginning, then I gradually increased my activity as ‘double language blogger’) after I worked for 10 years as an employee.
A HAPPY employee, actually. That’s an important poit: I didn’t go freelance because I was tired of bosses and colleagues, working hours, duties etc.
I loved my job, my colleagues, my life.
But I had other ideas in mind, I had other projects that I wanted to give an opportunity to despite the financial crisis and the Italian high taxation level (Ehm… yes, I decided to quit my full time job and to go freelance in Italy).
Awareness was the first step to take. Awareness of initial (economical and mental) difficulties, of the level of taxation in your country, of what you have to do in order not to pay fines and not to make financial mistakes.
Now I’ll tell you about 3 important steps and things to do that will help you to increase gradually your freelance activity. At least, they were useful to me.
1 – Find a good accountant
It’s not banal at all!
You should find an accountant that is able to cope with your specific business need and peculiarities or at least very eager to learn more about it.
Mainly if you are a creative freelance belonging to the very recent category of digital nomadism (blogger, graphic designer, copy editor, writer, and also translators belong to this category)
You’ll work differently than a psychologist or an engineer, you’ll work at home (mainly), so you can deduct different things than other professionals, such as part of your rent and bills if registered with your name, trips etc. Moreover, you’ll be more likely to receive payments from abroad, via paypal, and your accountatn must consider it and tell you how to declare these payments.
So, as you choose your accoountant, tell her/him as many info as possibile about your particolar job so that he/she can tell you if he/she’s ready to work for you or can suggest you another colleague more suitable for your necessities.
2 – Increase your reputation and visibility
No matter what you do, if you are a freelancer, being known is important. Even more so if you are a digital nomad so, as definitition, a wanderer worker, in need to make new networks.
Create your own website, with a blog to be updated regularly. Even once a week is good.
You can write tips for your colleagues or for your clients and send them periodical updates.
This will increase your reputation and web visibiliy, i.e. your potential clients.
Then, be social! Join facebook groups related to your profession and share ideas, problems and your post with them. It’s not just a matter of being social with your colleagues but also a way to increase your readers and your popularity in your field of competence.
Use twitter, over than facebook. (And Stumbleupon and pinterest as much as you can)
Freelancing can look like freedom, I must admit.
But keep in mind that freelancing also means responsibilities and, more than everything, working alone in 90% cases.
The possibility to laugh with a colleague about the job’s issues and frustrations is a good medicine against demotivation. If you become a freelancer you must create your moments and spaces of sociality.
Sometimes, mainly if you make a creative work, solitude can be frustrating.
I’d suggest you to work at least twice o 3 times a week in a co-wo space. For me, even when I didn’t interact with anybody, just seeing people around helped me not to feel isolated and alone.
It’s an expense that you can deduct and there are places where you can even go and work for free.
Co-workings are places where you can meet new people and join new projects with your colleagues and even with competitors, exchanging ideas and professional tips.
Joining groups on social media is fine, as long as you can also work with people that you meet in the place(s) where you live.
Are you thinking about going freelance? What scares you more? Write in comments.