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Fact sheet 3 – The basics of freelancing

The decision whether or not to start freelancing isn’t an easy one. 

Some people spend a lot of time procrastinating. On the one hand, they’re unfulfilled with their work life and, on the other, they lack the confidence to abandon the security of their full-time job. 

Other people have their hand forced through job termination or redundancy – turning their attention to freelancing in a last-ditch effort to remain in work.

Regardless of how you come to consider freelancing, it takes a combination of dedication, commitment and hard work. In return, you’ll be rewarded with the freedom and the flexibility to do the work you want to do rather than work you have to do.

1. What are the benefits of freelancing?

Freelancing puts you in the driving seat in almost every aspect of your working life.

Generally, you can choose:

 

  • How you work.
  • When you work.
  • Where you work.
  • Who you work for.
  • How long you work for.

 

2. How can you minimise the risk of freelancing?

Freelancing is risky. 

It doesn’t provide the comfort and security of a permanent full-time job. To reduce the level of risk involved in freelancing, there are a couple of things you can do.

Start a savings plan

At a minimum, it’s a good idea to have at least one month’s living costs covered (just in case it takes a little longer for your freelance work to pick up). This should include things like:

 

  • Rent or mortgage.
  • Household bills.
  • Debt repayments.
  • Food.
  • Petrol or travel costs.
  • Insurance.

 

Freelance in your spare time

Freelancing doesn’t mean you have to call it quits on your job.

In your spare time, you can always do a trial run to lay the foundation and start finding clients. This way, you still have your income from your regular job to fall back on while you build up the income from freelance work.

3. How can you find freelance work?

In freelancing circles, it’s common to be constantly on the lookout for more work.

But it’s important not to become dependent on any one method of finding work. So, if that method dries up, you have other avenues to pursue. Here are some ways of finding work:

 

  • Freelance job sites.
  • Recruitment agencies.
  • Cold calling.
  • Networking (online and offline).
  • Social networks.

 

4. How do you decide how much to charge?

To get an idea of how much you should charge as a freelancer, you can do any number of the following:

  • Look at freelance competitors’ websites (their rates may be on display).
  • Ask a recruitment consultant for average freelance rates or look at their freelance ads.
  • Talk to your fellow freelancers.
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