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!
Digital technology has drastically altered the ways in which humans interact, from the gas station to the office and beyond. Increasingly, technological advancements are helping to create an employment landscape that looks vastly different than the workforce of the past. Today, workplace collaboration can be done on a remote basis, and the job search can be done from the comfort of one’s living room couch. Freelancers can even become entrepreneurs, taking charge of their own future on both a personal and professional level. [Read more…]
The recession has hit most industries hard — freelance writing is no exception. A Freelancer’s Union survey from early April found that 76% of freelancers had contracts cancelled and 65% had difficulty finding new clients as a result of the virus.
So why are so many freelance writers struggling right now? [Read more…]
As I was looking into existing articles about “The Art of Doing Nothing, ” I came across two phrases how they described it in Italy and in India.
The Italians call it “La Dolce Far Niente” which means “the sweetness of doing nothing.” And it was a concept one author learned while watching Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. The scene was set in a barbershop in Rome. Julia and her newfound friend are scarfing down napoleons while the men of Italy are educating them on the ways of the Italian. [Read more…]
Being a freelance writer offers flexibility, a chance to learn new things, and it’s a great way to make extra money. The freelancing world requires time and commitment, and if you’re new to this world, you may wonder how to land high paying jobs and begin making a name for yourself. The best way to be successful in this type of work is learning how to market yourself. Clients look for individuals with talent, experience, and reliability, so you need to have ways to showcase that you have what it takes. [Read more…]
There are two major camps when it comes to freelancing. The first camp gets the best jobs, great clients, and earn a great living. The second camp gets the leftovers and seems to be fighting a race to the bottom. Penny pinching clients, vague assignments, and impossible work hours are the norm.
If you’re like most people in the world, you want to be in the first camp while doing work you care about. Normal advice will tell you that it takes years to accomplish those kinds of results. I disagree.
In this article, you’ll learn practical ways to earn more money as a freelancer without having to spend 10 years in the trenches. There’s just one prerequisite, you have to be able to deliver. [Read more…]
There is a time when your choice to be a freelancer and work from home could impact your right to live in your house. It seems so simple nowadays. You can use the internet to connect with clients, and from there you can earn a wage without commuting. One in four people in the UK agrees with you, as the gig economy continues to grow in influence. However, with the increased numbers comes increased scrutiny from the Government and the taxman. Therefore, it is not so simple as just getting started and seeing how it goes. Let’s guide you through some of the essentials. [Read more…]
There’s a lot to juggle as a small business owner and you have to make the most of every minute to move your business forward.
Unfortunately, many fail to optimize their productivity. Some ignore self-care to the detriment of their mental clarity and ability to focus while others spend their time on low-value busywork that doesn’t yield high-impact results.
Here are 12 tips to help you stay productive throughout the day: [Read more…]
In 2012, there were more than three million job openings. If you think about how many people will have applied for those jobs, then the number of job applications is off the charts. Throw the world of freelance writing and design, and outsourced projects into the mix and this number likely doubles.
With so many freelancers and professionals applying for jobs, it’s easy for your application to get lost in the crowd. You might be the perfect candidate for the job, but if you don’t make the interviews, they’ll never get the chance to find out.
Before they even get to your resume, recruiters will look at your cover letter. Creating cover letters that stand out is vital if you want your resume to make it to the right pile.
Read on as we look at the characteristics of the best cover letters.
Create a Strong Opening
Imagine you’re hiring for a position. Then imagine how bored you’re going to get from reading the following line: I am writing to apply for the position of blah, blah, blah.
As a freelancer, you are already fighting for posititon amongst millions of other freelancers. This is why it’s impotant to make your cover letter stand out by opening strongly. They already know what job you’re applying for, so get straight in there and tell them why you’re the person they should be hiring.
Tell Them Why You Want the Job
You would be amazed at how many people never mention this in their cover letter. And also keep in mind, this isn’t just for your benefit, but also for anyone who is looking to hire as well. The easier you can make the hiring and decision process for the end user, the more likely you are to get the job.
They fill it with information about their experience and skills and why it makes them the ideal candidate. But they never actually say why it is that they want the job they’re applying for.
Tell them why you want the job and you’re in a much stronger position.
Be Specific About Experience
It’s all too easy when writing your cover letter to get bogged down in generalizations.
Saying you have “four years of experience in IT” doesn’t really say anything at all. Four years doing what, exactly? What kind of IT?
Be specific about your experience, but also make sure that the specifics that you focus on are the ones most relevant to the role. Telling them about your excellent Word skills is not much use if the job requires you to work in Google Docs.
Cover Letters That Stand Out Are Brief
We’ve already looked at the sheer number of applications that get submitted every year.
Pity the person that has to read them all. They will honestly thank you for your brevity if you keep your cover letter to just the important information, and nothing more. Make sure you use a lot of empty space rather than cramping all your text together making it harder to read.
You should also try to make it look as appealing as possible. There are plenty of cover letter for resume templates out there that you can use.
Build Your Presence and Brand on Social Media
Having a website is now standard practice for freelancers and anyone who might be looking for new work. However, it would also be a huge mistake to not take advantage of social media as well. This is especially true if you want to use social media for business.
Just some quick reasons to include your social information within your cover letter are:
- To make it easy for employers to find your social profiles online
- The benefit of seeing a strong knowledge of online branding and social media
- Some employers prefer social media contact methods over email
In short, unless you have a bad history or content on social media, there is really no reason for you to not list your social profiles amongst your general contact information on your cover letters.
Your Cover Letter is Like Your Presentation to the World
For freelancers in content writing or design, it’s extremely important to make sure you have a cover letter than stands out and grabs the attention of the user’s eye. With hundreds or thousands of potential hires submitting resumes for new work, you need to take advantage of every opportunity available.
If you aren’t a graphic design, adding some color and excitement to your cover page can be as simple as loading your Word Doc of files into PowerPoint or Google Slides, and then creating a presentation, but then also saving it as a PDF file.
Lastly, if you are taking the time to critique your resume for each different job or opportunity you are applying for, you may want to look over the job training specs listed on their site. That way, if they are listing Microsoft Word or Excel program training, and this is something you are already specialized in, then this is something you would want to highlight or point out.
You can then submit this more attractive cover sheet or resume the same way you would submit any other PDF files.
Are You Looking for More Great Business Advice?
As a freelancer, creating cover letters that stand out is only the first step on your journey to your dream job. If you’re looking for more tips and advice then you’re in the right place.
For more great content on all aspects of business and the world of freelancing, be sure to check out the latest job openings and articles posted on Freelance Writing Gigs.