So why would someone in their right mind ever want to even attempt becoming a freelancer? What perks does it add to your life and does it really make a difference? So personally I enjoy freelancing simply because it gives me some extra revenue streams. This is a slightly odd way since many freelancers are full-time freelancers. I have never been comfortable sticking it out on my own full-time. I have been able to use the money from my 1099 jobs to help pay for a semester of college as well as just use it for some fun things. Often times my W2 income gets eaten up in bills and expenses and very little is used for doing something fun. Having the 1099 income allows me to spend some money on fun categories. Hopefully throughout this post I can answer some of the basic freelancing questions many people have.
What about Taxes?
Yes, taxes are a thing, and yes you have to pay them. Learn it. Live it. Deal with it. My biggest suggestion from the beginning is to look into an accounting solution. I enjoy And.Co and you can read my post about them: Here. As far as quarterly estimated taxes go that gets a little more tricky. And.Co does offer an excellent estimator robot to help with this the issue is that this assumes you can actually estimate your freelance income for the year. If you can then great do that and never look back, but in reality for the people like me my 1099 income is unknown to me until I start getting paid. Typically what I do is the moment I get a check I take 30% straight out and set it aside. This is excessive, but I would rather be sitting with a little too much than way too little. Overall if you are unsure go talk to an accountant and they can tell you exactly what you should do. (Seriously go talk to an accountant if you have questions. I am by no means an expert at this topic).
What about getting clients?
So just like that interesting UPS commercial where the new businesses open, but then have no customers you do not want to mimic that. Obviously you can’t just say one day you are a freelancer and have 20 people lined up wanting to hire you. This is why I prefer the W2 and 1099 approach. I am able to market myself and try to get people to hire me, but if there is a downtime I still have steady income. Typically the best bet is to start working for people you know. While you may have to go a little cheaper than you would like to charge you can get the references, and they can refer you out. I have one client currently that has referred me out so much I have had to start a waiting list for some of my Web Development and SEO services.
But what of the unknown?
This is the biggest thing I have found. That weird feeling deep in the back of your mind that is screaming at the top of its lungs, “Don’t do it!” Kick that little voice away and don’t let it come back. Try freelancing. Keep your W2 job and just do some things at night. If you enjoy it keep it up. If not then let it go and don’t look back. Just because it has become the new fad simply does not mean it is for everyone.
I always tell people to go try and do something. You really won’t know if you enjoy it until you just go for it. Quit worrying about what others will think and do what you want to do. In the end they are not the ones who are living your life you are. Make sure you are comfortable living your life.