Become a freelancer and work from wherever you want!
You've more than likely had the job you're doing now for many years. Perhaps you've followed the same career practically all your working life? If you're like most people, though, those jobs may have meant working for someone else – and, for many that might have meant an impersonal, almost faceless, corporation.
So, how does it appeal to be your own boss for a change?
By becoming a freelancer, you have just that opportunity – you can work from wherever you want, and you might choose to continue it into retirement to boost your pension income, too.
You might take up freelancing while you still have a full-time job and, once you retire, might combine freelance work with as much travelling as you like, suggests the website Silversurfers, in an article on the 4th of March.
Types of freelance work
There are many jobs you can do as a freelancer.
The Balance Careers, for instance, cites the example of a State Registered Nurse (SRN), who might do freelancing work using his or her licensed skills and talents managing claims for insurance companies, performing triage work by telephone, or working in a call centre.
A considerable variety of freelancing jobs exist as virtual assistants in one shape or another – administrative assistants, personal assistants, or office managers, for example.
Online tutoring and coaching are also popular, although you might need a college degree in the relevant subject (or subjects) and at least some previous experience in teaching.
If you are happy inputting information, you could offer your services as a data entry clerk. Do you love research? Then freelance researchers do exist!
The options are virtually endless and limited only by your imagination and the ideas that you bring to this particular way of working.
Freelancing in an area you have a passion for – writing perhaps or photography – is a great way to make money while doing a job you enjoy.
What you will need
The explosion in opportunities has been made possible by the rapid increases in the reliability and speed of communications – whether by telephone or the internet. These are your essentials portals into the wider world of your clients and the marketplace for freelancers.
You may need to invest a relatively small amount to ensure access to these means of communication – and to make sure they remain open 24/7 unless you risk losing clients or, even more critically, disappointing clients who are depending on your submission of work when it falls due.
Planning and discipline
Managing your own time and maintaining the discipline of working from home – or on the move – might be one of the harder lessons to learn when you are your own boss.
A successful freelancing business does not mean sloping around at home all day dressed only in your pyjamas but is likely to demand a far more disciplined and business-like approach.
Set yourself a daily routine and stick to it.
Pricing your time and work is also likely to prove tricky and call for some fine judgment calls, especially when you are starting out.
Of course, you would like to pitch your rates at somewhere similar to those who are doing the same kind of work in full-time employment. But, in some areas of work you are likely to be in a highly competitive freelance market – with your rivals coming from literally every corner of the world.
Much as you’d like them to be, therefore, your hourly, daily or project-based rates, are most unlikely to include the value of benefits you were receiving when working for someone else – paid holidays, for example, pension contributions, or even health care insurance.
Your client base
What you are soon likely to realise is the importance of a sound client base which recognises the value of the work you do. You are aiming, of course, to demonstrate a value that sets you apart from the many other freelancers out there.
But, of course, it is going to take time to establish that base by building up the necessary relationships of mutual trust and respect – which is just one of the reasons why many freelancers branch out on their own while still holding down a full-time job from which they are earning a living.
Just when your freelancing ideas seemed to free you from the more mundane rigours of the working world, so a timely reminder is probably needed about the ever-present taxman.
Income from freelance work is still income – and income which needs to be taxed. Even if you are still holding down a full-time job employed by someone else, any income you earn from freelance work needs to be added to the pot on which you are going to be taxed.
As the website E-Crunch puts it, in an article of the 20th of February, you can be simultaneously employed and self-employed as far as the taxman is concerned.
Your income tax liability is calculated according to your total earnings – including that from any salary, pension, or freelance work – and bear in mind that your extra earnings might push you up from one tax band to another (from the basic rate of 20%, into the higher rate of 40%, for example).
In summary, becoming a freelancer is by no means easy – but do it right and, in most cases, you can pack up your laptop and work from wherever you may happen to be – whether that is at home or abroad.