Becoming a freelancer is an exciting venture. It also comes with some very real realities. Some studies estimate that 90 million individuals in the United State will freelance by 2028. That equals 50% of the workforce!
In 2022, an estimated 59 million individuals freelance and make up one-third of the American workforce.
While independent contracting leads to newfound freedom and attractive income, it also leads you into bureaucratic regulations by the government. For example, gig workers must pay their estimated quarterly taxes, just like small business owners.
As the number of freelancers increases, expect that state governments will introduce new legislation for this workforce too. For example, you might need to obtain business licenses and purchase insurance on a mandatory basis.
Let’s look at seven things you must learn to accept as a freelancer.
You Fund Your Benefits
Benefits have made employee life tolerable. In addition to an hourly wage or salary, employees receive packages of attractive benefits. Sometimes, outstanding healthcare coverage, gym perks, and traveling stipends make job offers more appealing.
Freelancers, on the other hand, fund their benefits.
You’ll fund your health insurance premiums and retirement, and build savings. This sounds expensive for those who only work a side hustle. However, it’s an independent contracting reality.
The good news is that those who turn freelancing into a career can cover their benefits and more.
If picking the right healthcare and self-employed insurance feels like a chore, services like Giggly make it easier. They outline several choices.
Work Is Never Guaranteed
There are two types of employment, at-will, and contract. Then, some employees have union representation. Although freelancers work on a contract basis, work is never guaranteed.
Once you finish an assignment, your client might not hire you again. Rideshare drivers might not find another passenger for an hour or day. Independent contractors can enter lulls when only low-paying work becomes available.
It’s a scary thought for new freelancers; it’s also a scary thought for seasoned veterans. That’s why freelancers must keep their sales pipeline flowing and learn to keep their confidence and assertiveness up.
This article has a few ways to test your assertiveness if you’re not sure if you’re being assertive enough with clients.
Freelancing Experiences Fluctuations and Seasonality
Fluctuations in demand and seasonality are two reasons why work for freelancers is never guaranteed.
If you become a mobile hair stylist, you’ll see an increase in demand during the wedding and graduation seasons. It might dip when the cold season rolls around. That’s why freelancers must prepare for the lulls.
Cars need repair work around the year. However, the public travels less during harsh weather conditions. Thus, fewer vehicles require maintenance and repairs.
You’ll Work Odd Hours
Some freelancers will experience feast or famine work conditions. When work is available, it’s important to pounce. While your office employee friends enjoy their weekends and weeknights, you might need to work well into the midnight hours.
Some contracts will require you to work odd hours. Clients turn to freelancers when their staff is tight on time or they don’t have the specialty skills to complete the project.
However, these contracts present golden opportunities. You can capitalize on them by delivering flawless work on a reasonable timeline. If the contract doesn’t net additional work, it’s a portfolio entry that can help you land others.
You’ll Pay Estimated Taxes
The increase of bureaucracy for freelancers will only grow moving forward. In 2020, the Internal Revenue Service backed by the United States government released new tax standards for this workforce.
It’s easy to lament paying estimated quarterly taxes. However, independent contracts, such as roofers, tax consultants, and interior decorators, have paid them for several years.
Acquire software that helps you manage your finances and invoices. Then, automate the tax-payment process.
You Run a Small Business
Gig workers, independent contractors, and freelancers are small business owners in the eyes of the government. Thus, you take on all the responsibilities that come with the territory.
You’ll need to pay your taxes, fund your benefits, and market your services or products.
It’s a big undertaking, especially if you only provide rideshare rides to make side cash. By entering this workforce, you have an entrepreneurial spirit. Thus, make the most of it.
It’s Best to Specialize
Whenever possible, specialize. Some clients will search for specific skills. Remember, if they’re searching for freelancers, it means that their staff doesn’t have the specific skills that a project demands.
Narrowing down work opportunities is another scary thought for freelancers.
When you attempt to become the jack-of-all-trades, you don’t set yourself apart from your competition.
All freelancers should master the basics of their trade. Then, develop unique skills that clients will love and others don’t have in abundance.
It’s a great time to become a freelancer. It’s also an interesting time. Freelancing provides freedom that employees don’t experience. Working from an oceanside cabana, anyone?
Freelancing also provides unique realities such as paying estimated taxes, working odd hours, and experiencing fluctuations in work availability. Nonetheless, some freelancers have forged careers in this workforce.