Freelancing is unpredictable; changing deadlines, cancelled projects and last-minute changes come with the territory. Not to mention unsteady pay and no benefits other than what you pay for yourself.
Despite the uncertainties of freelance work, there are a lot of perks. You can work your own hours at your own pace, work from home and develop your personal and professional skills, to name a few things.
If you find yourself between jobs, or simply in need of a change of pace from the typical 9-to-5 workday, freelancing can help you pay the bills until you find steady employment. Read on for tips about succeeding at freelance work.
Create a Budget
Because freelancing isn’t guaranteed work, that means your paychecks aren’t guaranteed, either. Prevent a financial emergency by creating a budget that accounts for inconsistent income. The budget should include typical monthly expenses like groceries, utilities, rent and gas, and it should include an emergency fund in case you have a particularly bad month.
When calculating a budget, don’t forget other necessary expenses like car insurance or student loan payments. It’s also important to budget for health insurance that will cover you for as long as you need. You can obtain a policy that’s specific to your state, such as a short-term health insurance policy valid in California.
Show off your Talents
Now is not the time to be shy about your best work — showcase the projects you’re proud of! Use social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn to promote your best work. Always be thinking of creative, eye-catching projects you can do during your downtime. Even if you just draw a few sketches or write a few papers here and there, you’re still building your portfolio.
Use your Networks
Reaching out to friends and professional connections is a great way to discover new freelancing opportunities, or to find a full-time job. Ask your connections for help, whether that involves professional advice, starting a collaborative project or getting information about job opportunities.
Don’t forget that there are other ways to network besides social media. Attend conferences and meet-ups to build professional relationships with others in your field. Even if this doesn’t land you a permanent job, you’ll gain new professional contacts, and maybe even a few freelance leads.
You might have a bad day or two — maybe even a bad month — but don’t let it get you down. Whenever you feel discouraged, take a break and do something that makes you happy. Make plans with friends and family, unwind by doing your favorite exercise activity or spend a relaxing evening at home. After taking some time away from your work, you’ll be much more ready to face whatever tomorrow holds.
Although freelancing can be an unpredictable way to make ends meet, it can also be personally rewarding and help you build valuable experience. Budget wisely while you’re freelancing, and establish professional connections that could lead to full-time work.