Freelancing is a great way to try out working from home if you have never had a full-time remote job before.If you are currently working on location at an organization and would like to explore your work at home options, freelancing can be an excellent way to test the waters. You can start with just one small job and work your way up.
You’ve likely heard of this option before but may not know many details about this remote career path.Below are some fast facts about freelancing — each fact could be considered a pro or a con, depending on what you value.
Fast Facts about Freelancing
You are not an employee
As a freelancer you work as an independent contractor, not an employee.
You don’t have to work for just one organization
Since you’re not an employee at one organization, you can complete work for multiple clients.
You set your own schedule
One of the criteria that the IRS uses to determine if you are an independent contractor is if you are required to work according to a daily schedule provided by the organization.
You use your own equipment and supplies
Again, this is one of the criteria that the IRS uses to determine whether you are really an independent contractor or an employee. When you’re freelancing, you’re expected to supply all the things you will need in order to complete the work. This can include internet access, a computer, software, camera, microphone, etc.
You pay your own taxes
You’re responsible for reporting your income to the IRS and making sure you pay enough taxes. See the IRS website for details and get a CPA to help you file your taxes if you need additional guidance.
You find your own clients and projects
As a freelancer, you have to market yourself. This means that you are responsible for finding your own clients. There are many ways to do this, but one of the simplest ways of getting your own clients if you are just starting out is to use a resource like Upwork. On Upwork you can apply to jobs that meet the criteria that you set and can be a good way to get exposure to opportunities you wouldn’t find elsewhere.
You and your client agree on work details
When you work as an employee, generally you have a boss (or bosses) in charge of deciding when and how you complete your work. When you work as a freelancer, you and your client have to come to a mutual agreement about all those work details, such as:
- Scope of work. What is the scope of the project? What is the overall objective? How long will it take?
- Deliverables. What concrete items will you deliver to your client? Examples could include outlines, drafts, articles, images, designs, videos, classes, meetings, reports, campaigns, etc.
- Criteria. What are the expectations of the deliverables? What will those deliverables look like? What are the metrics that will be used to measure meeting those deliverables?
- Timeline. When will each deliverable be completed? What happens if you don’t receive needed material from the client? What happens if the project falls behind?
- Payment. What is your hourly rate? Will you bill by the hour or by the project? How much will the project cost? Does the client have to pay a deposit? Can the client pay in installments or in one lump sum? Is the payment due when the project begins or when it ends, or both? What happens if the client does not pay?
- Ownership. Who owns the work that you complete — you or your client?
Freelancing often turns into a business
While you don’t have to consider yourself a business owner if you are a freelancer, many freelancers do. This is especially true if you have many clients and systems in place for organizing those projects and communications. This distinction does not matter when you are first starting out — again, freelancing can be a good entry to remote work because you can do as little or as much work as you want.
If you are ready to start out working as a freelancer, stay tuned for a tutorial on how to get started, including exactly what you need before you submit a proposal and common terminology used in the freelancing world.
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Check out our feature in The Beginners Guide to Remote Work and Freelancing: Q&A from the Experts by Porch.