Sometimes leaving your 9-5 and freelancing can feel very similar to working for the man.
Yes, freelancing provides more freedom and flexibility but as you get settled into a routine and realize it’s not all about sleeping in and working whenever you want, you can start to feel like you’re working for all your clients instead of with them.
If you want to freelance and still be your own boss by running things like a business, here are a few things you can do.
Determine Your Minimum Rate Early On
One of the biggest perks of being a freelancer is having the ability to set your own rates. Yet and still, this can be difficult if you have no idea what you should be earning. Be sure to set standard rates for yourself early on so you’re not caught off guard when a client asks you or shares their budget.
Calculate how much you wish to earn each month given the hours you can work and divide it into an hourly rate. Increase that amount by accounting for taxes, retirement savings, and medical expenses which are benefits you won’t receive as a contractor.
Come up with a rate you feel comfortable with as your absolute minimum, that way, you can only accept jobs that are willing to pay you that much. Plus, you won’t feel like someone else is in control of how much you make.
Stop Working on Projects You Don’t Enjoy With Clients You Don’t Like
There are so many freelance opportunities available these days that it makes no sense to work on projects that don’t align with your interest or values. It’s also important to make sure you have a good relationship with your client and communicate well.
If you tend to work on freelance projects you don’t enjoy for clients you don’t see eye to eye with, your workday can start to feel similar to those days at that traditional job you hated.
Be sure to network in your niche and keep a handful client leads stored away so you don’t have to feel like you need to take any opportunity just to make money. Be sure to interview clients as much as they interview you during the beginning stages to find out if you’ll work well together.
Create Your Own Invoicing Terms
Controlling how and when you get paid is very important. Some clients will readily have efficient payment systems in place that you’ll have to accept, but others will simply go off your payment terms and preferences.
Be sure to include how and when you’re like to invoice clients in your contract and include a fee structure for late payments to ensure you get paid on time and consistently.
Set Client Expectations Early On
If you’re going to run a business and not just be a contractor for someone else, you need to communicate well and set clear expectations early on.
Let clients and any team members you have know exactly what they can expect from you on a day-to-day basis. Be sure to set your own work hours and share them with others so clients aren’t expecting you to respond quickly to emails they send at 6 pm. When I need to take time off or go on vacation, I let me clients know and see if I can work ahead so I don’t have to meet deadlines or deal with email while I’m away.
When you take on the role of a freelancer, it can often feel like you are working for someone else. Be sure to regain control be getting organized and creating your own systems that work well for you and your clients. Make sure to align yourself with clients whose vision and mission you truly stand behind. That can make it more of a partnership vs. an employee-boss situation.