To start as a Freelancer is very easy but working as one is not as easy. Just because you are working for yourself doesn’t mean that you are out of obligation to pay income tax. In fact, being a Freelancer takes more discipline because you have to put percentage amount of money aside so you can pay Uncle Sam or in other countries simply just say “income tax.” Juanita Stevenson (reporter for KFSN-TV ABC-30) asked me this question, “What does it take to be a Freelancer?” To tell you the honest truth, I didn’t really want to be a Freelancer to begin with. But when I was in college working for a degree, I had my first job at Central Valley Seventh-day Adventist Conference as an “Independent Contractor.” I had my own office, a secretary, and also I could take my work at home. It was a 40-hours a week job. Well, I thought that was a real blessing.
Really, what does it take to be a Freelancer? I had to think twice on this one when Juanita Stevenson asked me the question. Being a Freelancer is something that just dropped on my lap. I wanted to work as a full time employee. But after working for Panorama Productions as a full time employee, I was one of the people that got laid off just because they didn’t have enough fund to support the Graphic Arts department. OUCH!!!! So, I struggled. Then one day, I was hired at Apple Computer as an “Independent Contractor.” I worked 40-50 hours a week. Depending on how long it will take me to finish a project. I had my own office in their building but I didn’t have to stay there, I could take my work at home too. So that was SUPER!!!! And I was also in the project team, so they treated me like a regular employee.
The only difference there was, is my income tax return.
The good thing about being a Freelance is, I could also work for different companies such as NASA, GNL Advertising, LSI Logic, and so forth. So besides working my 40-hours full time job, I was also moonlighting. It was my great pleasure being chosen as one of the vendor at NASA, I was absolutely flabbergasted when he hired me. Jobs then wasn’t that hard to get specially being a Freelancer; employers loved it because they didn’t have to put you in their employee’s payroll or bother including you in their 401K. And so since then, I didn’t mind working as a Freelancer.
I could choose my own hours. I could choose my own client. I can get a cheaper medical insurance than what most regular employees pay. And as far as 401K, I don’t have to have this. I can create my own savings. Charge the client from between $40-$250 an hour!
What is a Freelancer? A freelancer is someone who offers services for a fee. He/She works independently without any expectation of a permanent or long-term relationship with an employer. Becoming a freelancer is a way to work at home and be independent without the necessity to start an actual business. So long as you operate under your real name you do not need to register to start an actual business. This makes it possible to start as a Freelancer overnight without the hassle and with the least amount of expense. (EDIT: This is not true in every country depends on where you at. Check your local city hall.)
What you need as a Freelancer?
- you need an impressive resume and you can create one for FREE. I really think that visualcv creates impressive resumes because you can include your portfolio here!
- you need a business card that says your name, phone number, and what you have to offer. You can get it for FREE @ VistaPrint. Or for a low cost of about $14.99 for the first 250, that’s plenty to pass around for the time being. You can always print more later if you need to. But to start go ahead get the free one or the low cost budget.
- you need to start advertising yourself on the Internet. Create a page about you as a freelancer on places like Elance, Freelancer, PeoplePerHour, just to name a few.
- create a profile on Linkedin or Google+.
- and of course, you need your portfolio!
Create a website for yourself. If you have the knowledge to create a website for yourself, I would encourage you to do that. Because your website can also be your resume. It tells more about you. Plus, you can create a menu on top that says RESUME and your prospect client or employer can print your PDF. Instead of sending it the old fashion way, you can get your resume available online. Whoever needs it can just print it via PDF. It’s faster that way.
If you don’t know how to create a website, you can hire someone at a reasonable fee. I would recommend for you to create it in WordPress because it is the most popular of all the format. Once your designer created the site for you, you can update this yourself. In fact, you don’t need a designer if you create a website via WordPress. But if you don’t know anything about WordPress, go ahead and hire someone and let him/her show you how to manage your own site.
Once your site created in WordPress, there are various of plugins you can use to keep yourself from spammers and hackers. Just make sure that when you create a username, NEVER ever use the “admin” name. Make it harder like include a number & character along with upper & lower case alphabet letters. When you create your password make sure it is hard and it’s about 12-16 characters long including: upper & lower case alphabet letters, numbers, and characters.
Also another pointers, NEVER use the “free” WordPress but instead get the paid theme. Why paid theme? Because free themes gets more hacked and it could be a real mess! There are paid WordPress theme, you can google them. However, I highly recommend to start on Genesis (advance WordPress). You get the Genesis frame for $59 (one time charge) and the child theme can cost from between $18-40, depends on what you get and make sure it is a “responsive” theme. Meaning, you can view your site on mobile phones, smart phones, iPads, tablets, and so forth.
NOTE: If this is confusing for you, you can ask me questions here. I know that this can be very confusing. I have experience designing websites before and I was confused. Let alone a person who’s never done web design or interact with facebook, twitter, or youtube; everything can be confusing. So do not hesitate to ask me a question. Ask away! The only stupid question there is, is the question you didn’t ask. So please use the comment window below.