Working as a freelance writer usually gives you more freedom than being an employee, but your level of personal responsibility greatly increases. For instance, when you’re an employee, your company will typically consult with the IT department to implement a cybersecurity plan and you would follow company policies and directives. [Read more…]
The post-pandemic gig economy is ready to grow, with remote work and freelancing leading the way. Freelance writers as well as other freelancers have had their lifestyles and work choices validated by the remote work and work-from-home trends prompted by Covid-19. [Read more…]
When you are employed on a contract basis and go to the workplace each day, there is no obvious confusion about informing your boss. You wait until the second trimester, to be sure, and then you negotiate your maternity leave. The only complexity comes with timing before and after birth, and how much leave you can afford to take. [Read more…]
Freelance writers have luxuries in the workplace that most people do not. They make their schedules, have flexibility in how they interact with clients, and set their prices. However, it also falls to the writer to be their own representative and set standards for customer service. One of the most common freelancing mistakes is poor communication with clients. [Read more…]
If you were to just glance at some of the latest numbers coming out of the freelance industry, you would see that more people are looking to work from home, and more companies are hiring freelancers at amazing rates. And with more websites and businesses online than ever before, this is just fueling more work and money pouring in the freelance writing, design and marketing space.
This is a win-win for both sides, but it’s also bringing in a world of competition for freelancers in a wide range of markets. Even with freelance marketplaces delivering the bulk of the work, there simply isn’t enough work to go around.
The increase in work is nice, but if you are just another freelancer in a flood of other freelancers, that isn’t good at all. This means more time and effort needs to be spent on building your expertise, brand and portfolio of completed work.
For these reasons and many more, every freelancer should have an online portfolio and site of their own. If you are still on the fence and not sure if right now is the best time to start your own blog, by the end of this article you will likely have a much better idea.
1 – It’s Way Too Easy and Affordable to Have a Site
First off, creating a website or blog is so much easier, faster and more affordable today than it ever was in previous years. With more than a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today, pretty much everyone and their dog has a site! This is mainly due to there no longer being a requirement of knowing how to program or be a graphic designer.
Now it’s simply a matter of coming up with an idea for your site, picking a reliable hosting solution and site builder, and then going live with your site. With most platforms now having simple drag and drop editors, it’s super fast and easy to get a site live.
And from the perspective of being a freelancer, it would be a huge disservice to offer services online and not have a platform and site of your own. To stress that point even further, if a freelancer doesn’t have a site of their own and a client asks to see some of their previous work, testimonials or an online portfolio… that could definitely come back and hurt your earnings and work potential.
2 – A Site of Your Own Looks Amazing and Professional
Having mentioned that starting a site and going live with one of your own is extremely easy and cost effective, it’s also a great way to start building a brand and portfolio of your own.
In the world of freelancing, first impressions mean the world, and if you have something to showcase to your potential clients, even better! Throw in a free expert guide (a PDF download) or an industry case study or report, and you can turn that first impression into much more, with new sales and leads being generated all the time.
And when it comes to writing a professional bio, here are some quick tips to follow:
- Always write in the third person.
- List provable facts.
- Include pertinent education and experience.
- Keep the writing tight.
- Hook, grab and hold.
And it’s also important to try and not always just be a middle-man freelancer that is relying on other marketplaces and platforms for all of your work. With a site of your own, this is the next step in the process — plus you could start taking orders right from your site and earn even more per client.
3 – Secure Your Brand By Ranking in the Search Results
No matter what someone is searching for online, they are likely going to start that search on Google. Whatever Google ranks at the top of the search results for that individual keyword or phrase, that is what’s going to be clicked and read.
With a site of your own, you can heavily increase the chances for ranking at the top of Google for your personal name or freelance brand. Then, after your site, you can work on ranking your other marketplace profiles as well.
This is all part of the content creation and SEO process, and if you have a nice collection of sites and profiles ranking for your name on Google, this could be the difference between securing a new client or losing them.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Freelance Writing Efforts
Having read through each of the recommendations and notes listed above, you are probably thinking about your options for how to get started with a website or blog of your own. The good news is, it’s extremely cheap, fast and easy to get started.
The truth is, when running a freelancing business of your own, you are the boss and responsible for all of your own success and failures. This means you will want to set yourself up for as much success as possible, and having a site of your own is a huge step in the right direction.
The first things you will want to do is register a domain (or spend some time thinking about one), pick a reliable site builder and hosting solution, and then go live with your site.
Don’t wait around for it to look 100% perfect, just get it live. As you continue to add more resources and content to the site, it will turn out great!
The inevitable uncertainties that everyone is bound to face at some point in life should cause anxiety. Why? Because when your brain can’t figure out what lurks around a corner, everything goes haywire. Look no further than the COVID-19 crisis for a clear picture of this fact.
It is clear that the COVID-19 crisis has persisted longer than anticipated. If you are reading this, then you likely have a lot of unanswered questions in your thoughts. When will you get your next gig? Is a client considering terminating your contract? Here’s a freelancer’s guide to managing job uncertainty in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. [Read more…]
At times, the freelancing lifestyle can feel a bit like the Wild West. You have to use unconventional methods to remain employed, you don’t generate income unless you put in the work, and even then, you won’t get paid unless you take the unpaid time to bill your clients. [Read more…]
Standing out in a sea of freelancers isn’t always easy, which is why many writers fill a niche by focusing on a specific style or genre of writing. Another path to follow is to specialize in a specific product instead. This involves targeting a particular area of writing, such as online catalogue descriptions, SEO content, short ad copy, white papers, contract writing, or newsletters. [Read more…]
Freelancing is becoming a major industry as more and more people work from home. In recent times, due to the pandemic, there’s been a spike in workers who’ve had to become their own boss and market their business services as independent contractors.
However, we saw a spike in freelancers in the years before coronavirus hit due, in part, to the attractive, alternative lifestyle it offers. You have total control over your schedule, with flexible hours that you can work from home, set on your terms. To many, the opportunity to be your own boss and set your own price rate is far more enticing than a standard 9-5 job.
But, with more control comes more responsibility. As a freelancer, you’re tasked with handing your own employment taxes since you’ll no longer have an employer to file on your behalf. If you fail to keep up with your taxes, you could find yourself owing a large sum of money to the government without sufficient savings to settle your debt. And unfortunately, this happens all too often for individuals that are just getting started with their own freelancing or side business the first time around.
Whether you’re just launching your freelance career or trying to make up for lost time, here’s the run down on how to pay taxes so your business can stay afloat.
Understand Tax Basics
As a freelancer, you may have many skills—copywriting, video editing, web development, and so on—but you may not know about how taxation works. The most important thing to note, is that if you work as an independent contractor in the United States and earn at least $400 or more in a given year, you are required to file taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.
The tax bracket you fall into will depend on how much you make. If you made money last year freelancing, you’ll need to submit estimated quarterly tax payments based on your previous earnings. And don’t take this responsibility lightly, as the estimated tax penalty can cost you hundreds of dollars if you fail to do so.
Keep Track of Tax Expense on Daily Basis
Here’s another crucial tip: save every invoice, but more importantly, every business-related receipt. Need a new laptop? Had to purchase a specific software program? Write it all down and add it all up. When it comes to filing your income tax return, you’ll be able to deduct the total amount from your earnings, which may in turn drop you into a lower tax bracket.
Keep in mind, however, only qualified business expenses count, so you might have a hard time justifying how that Xbox relates to work. And, should the IRS ever issue an audit out of suspicion, you’ll need proof to back up each claim—not only for this year, but up to seven years ago. If you have a hard time keeping track of paperwork, consider investing in a document scanner that can save all your information over the cloud.
Research Tax Deductions and Credits
Business expenses (including travel costs, vehicle use, and internet bills) are just one example of a deduction that you can claim to lower your taxable income. There are many more ways you may be able to find tax relief, including payments health insurance and student loan interest.
Tax credits are different in that they reduce your final tax bill dollar for dollar. You might be able to qualify for these too, so do your research to save all the money you can.
Don’t Hide Your Income
You might be tempted to conceal your earnings from the IRS, but it’s against your interest to do so. The people who hire you might record your payments for their own tax purposes by filing Form 1099. That means the government will know what you made, and if you report a number that doesn’t add up with their calculations, you could face serious consequences from tax evasion or fraud.
In the end, even if you personally aren’t reporting all of your income and costs, the business or brand on the oppposite side of the transacation probably is. So in short, don’t cut corners and be sure to pay all of your owed taxes and don’t try to cheat the system.
Hire a Tax Accountant
If all of this sounds like a lot, you’re not alone. It can be quite a headache to stay on top of your freelance taxes, which is why many people turn to professional help. There are many online platforms you can use to stay organized, but you can also hire an accountant to file on your behalf.
Another thing to consider is that you don’t need to hire a local accountant. Thanks to the power of the internet, you can hire an accounting company or financial advisor anywhere in the world, while still running your freelancing business from home.
The Business of Working for Yourself as a Freelancer and Managing Finances
As with most entrepreneurs and individuals working with side jobs to make some extra money, the process of managing your finances may soon become a big part of your job as well. However, it sure beats having to work for someone else!
The good news is, there are plenty of tools and resources out there to help you along the way. Whether it’s invoicing software, making payments and paying yourself online, or even paying your taxes early or on a quarterly basis, it’s now all easier and more accessible than ever before.
Keep these points in mind to stay out of hot water with the IRS and your odds of running a successful freelance career will be much greater!