So You Want to Be a Freelancer ...

Written by Elena Fawkner

What'srepparttar difference between running your own home-based business and freelancing? (tick, tick, tick ...) Give up? Me too. If you want to work for yourself from home and have a special talent or skill that you think others would be prepared to pay for on an hourly or per-project basis, why not stop thinking in terms ofrepparttar 117965 traditional "home business" paradigm and start thinking in terms of freelancing instead?


Quite simply, a freelancer is an independent contractor who earns his or her living by contracting for projects on a project by project basis. A freelancer is not an employee of anyone and so he or she must actively seek out work, negotiaterepparttar 117966 terms and conditions ofrepparttar 117967 project (the contract) and completerepparttar 117968 work torepparttar 117969 satisfaction ofrepparttar 117970 client. Oncerepparttar 117971 project is complete,repparttar 117972 freelancer seeks out and enters into another contract for another project.

Alternatively,repparttar 117973 freelancer may have obligations under a number of different contracts with different clients atrepparttar 117974 one time.

Another variation involvesrepparttar 117975 freelancer producing work and then seeking buyers for that work. A freelance writer of magazine articles, for example, would fall into this category.


Those who hire freelancers are as diverse as freelancers themselves. In some cases, companies will hire freelancers to complete a short-term project as an alternative to hiring a new employee. This is oftenrepparttar 117976 case whererepparttar 117977 work in question is spasmodic or ad hoc andrepparttar 117978 company cannot justify hiring an employee for such work. Companies also hire freelancers to help smooth outrepparttar 117979 peaks and troughs of workload. Again, where there is a temporary oversupply of work,repparttar 117980 company will hirerepparttar 117981 freelancer on a short-term basis to help cope withrepparttar 117982 backlog.

In other cases, companies hire freelancers for their special expertise in a certain area. A company may want to create a new website, for example. Hiring a freelance website designer for such a project makes more sense than hiring a website designer as an employee since oncerepparttar 117983 website is complete,repparttar 117984 function will no longer be required.

Magazine and newspaper editors also hire freelancers or, more precisely, buy rights to freelancers' work. A freelancer in this type of situation may write a piece and submit it to a number of different editors inrepparttar 117985 hope that his or her work will be "picked up" by that editor and published, in return for whichrepparttar 117986 freelancer receives payment. By its nature, such an approach is speculative sincerepparttar 117987 freelancer can't be sure that anyone will actually buyrepparttar 117988 work. Of course, oncerepparttar 117989 freelancer has been published, it is relatively easier to getrepparttar 117990 editor to buyrepparttar 117991 freelancer's work inrepparttar 117992 future and, asrepparttar 117993 freelancer's reputation grows, so too dorepparttar 117994 opportunities for future business.


To be financially successful, a freelancer obviously needs marketable skills. A freelancer therefore needsrepparttar 117995 same qualifications, skills and talents as someone who had been hired as an employee to dorepparttar 117996 job would need. In other words, if you are seeking work as a freelance website designer, you must possessrepparttar 117997 same skills and qualifications that a full-time employee website designer would possess.


In short, yes. If you do not have an employer, if you have to source your own work and negotiate your own terms, if you have to chase payment, if you have to pay your own taxes (i.e. no one is withholding them from your check), you are, in essence, self-employed. Ergo, you are running your own business.

There are a number of consequences you need to think about. The first is taxation. You need to set aside from every payment you receive an amount sufficient to cover your state and federal taxes onrepparttar 117998 income you receive. Likewise, you need to keep proper books and records so you can claimrepparttar 117999 deductions and expenses you are entitled to as a self-employed person.

As a freelancer, like any independent contractor, you will also be expected to provide your own equipment and supplies. If you are a website designer, you need to have your own computer, software and other tools ofrepparttar 118000 trade. The party hiring you will not provide this stuff for you. Similarly, if you are a freelance editor, you will be expected to have allrepparttar 118001 reference materials and style books, word processing programs and other sundry items any editor would need to dorepparttar 118002 job.

From a legal point of view, you should also give some thought torepparttar 118003 legal entity of your business. Will you be a sole proprietor or will you incorporate? If you incorporate, will you choose S-corporation status? There are important tax consequences of each of these alternatives so be sure to get advice from your accountant before starting.

Think also about what licenses you may need as well as insurance (health, life and liability depending onrepparttar 118004 nature ofrepparttar 118005 work).


OK, ontorepparttar 118006 nitty gritty. You've decided to start work as a freelance website designer. You haverepparttar 118007 appropriate qualifications, training, experience and equipment and you've consulted your accountant to determinerepparttar 118008 most tax-effective business structure and your lawyer to set up your new company and advise you in relation to issues such as business licenses and fictitious business names. You're ready to hang out your shingle. Now what?

=> Approach Your Warm Market

Start with who you know. Where did you get your website design experience? If it was with an employer, consider whether that employer may not be a source of business for you. That will obviously depend onrepparttar 118009 circumstances under which you parted company but if you left on good terms and didn't burn any bridges on your way out, by all means contact your former employer and let him or her know that you are now in business for yourself and ready, willing and able to take on new projects. If possible, get a reference or testimonial too. That will come in handy when it comes to touting for new business from strangers.

Next, turn to your network of business associates you developed while working for your former employer. Note, we're NOT talking about clients of your former employer, rather your own network of colleagues. Contact them and let them know about your new venture and your availability for project work.

Be extremely cautious about approaching clients of your former employer if your current business puts you in even indirect competition with that employer. You may be constrained from approaching former clients if you signed a non-compete covenant in your employment contract, for example.

=> Create Brochure/Resume

Go torepparttar 118010 time and expense at this stage to prepare some sort of resume of your experience and services. Get this professionally printed as a brochure and send it, together with your business card, to your former employer and colleagues as a follow-up to your conversation. By giving them something tangible about you, it is more likely that you will come to mind when next they have a need for your services. If you've already provided them with your brochure/resume, whenrepparttar 118011 time comes,repparttar 118012 person concerned will think "hey, Joe's doing this sort of thing now. Where's that information he sent? Oh, here it is. I'll give him a call and see if it's something he might be able to do for us."

Creating A Corporate Office Image From Your Spare Bedroom

Written by Elena Fawkner

Like it or not, there is still a segment ofrepparttar population who will erroneously conclude that you and your business are less than professional and competent just because you run your business out of your home.

Dumb? Obviously! Narrow-minded? Yes! Wrong? Absolutely! Unfair? No question! Want their business? Well ... yes. OK, then you're going to have to playrepparttar 117964 game and beat them at it. Here's how to do it. It's a little sneaky, but hey, all's fair and they did start it.


First off, incorporate. Nothing screams "CORPORATE!" to our friendrepparttar 117965 dumb, narrow-minded, wrong, unfair Potential Client as an LLC, Pty Ltd or PLC (depending on where you conduct business) on your letterhead and business card.

Not only does this appease Potential Client, there are some very good tax and other advantages to incorporation which are well worthrepparttar 117966 modest cost. Talk to your attorney or accountant about this.


The next problem you have with Potential Client is that you don't want your home address to give you away. What do you think looks more professional in Potential Client's eyes: 123 Cherryblossom Way, Apt. 103, Suburbia or 123 Major Blvd, Level 37, Big City?

The answer is a serviced office. These don't have to cost a lot of money if you use them pretty much as a post office but they CAN give your business allrepparttar 117967 big-city prestige your Potential Client is looking for.

An additional advantage is that you can use your serviced office to meet with Potential Client. After all,repparttar 117968 last thing you want is to have him coming to your REAL office! Heaven forbid! Most serviced offices will make meeting rooms available for a flat fee.


This is probablyrepparttar 117969 trickiest part of all. How do you know it's safe to answerrepparttar 117970 phone in your home office even though repparttar 117971 sounds of your young children playing just outside your office door will be heard byrepparttar 117972 caller? You simply don't.

There is a simple way of dealing with this. Only give your home office number to existing clients. They already know you are professional and competent and should therefore have no issue withrepparttar 117973 fact that you work from home.

For anyone else, give outrepparttar 117974 number of an answering service that will answerrepparttar 117975 call in your company name and can tell callers that you're in a meeting with another client and take a message. Your serviced office will offer this service as well.

You can then returnrepparttar 117976 call at a time when you know tell-tale background noise won't give you away.

In fact, a trick some people who work from home use when returning calls is to run a tape of office background noise. This both givesrepparttar 117977 impression you are working in a large office AND it masks any slight tell-tale household noises that may, despite your best efforts, give you away.

Once Potential Client becomes an actual client and you've proved to his satisfaction that you are professional and competent, you can tell him that you've decided to start working out of your home to reduce unnecessary overheads and give him your direct phone number.

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