Do you experience some of the top freelancer concerns? Working as a freelance writer, web designer, graphic artist, or illustrator may sound like a dream job for many, but while it has its perks, working as an independent contractor also has its challenges.
According to a 2015 survey, you may experience one (or more) of the six top freelancer concerns:
- Sustaining a steady income
- Payment for services rendered (on time)
- Finding (and paying for) health insurance
- Dealing with tax obligations
- Retirement savings
Do you find yourself struggling with one or more of these issues? It’s not easy to be a freelancer. Competition is fierce out there. You can bid on 10 jobs and maybe get one. There is no such thing as a reliable and steady income on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. Sure, you may have some long-term clients, but you always have to keep an eye out for new clients – just in case. For many, it’s feast or famine. No in-between.
Receiving payment for services rendered in a timely manner is another challenge. Protect yourself by drawing up work agreements and contracts for every client. Get their electronic signature or agreement in writing that the contract has been approved. For large budget projects (and you’ll have to determine your base) request a non-refundable start payment and set up milestone payments through the course of the project. This protects both you and your client.
Dealing with health insurance can be another issue, especially when compared to the health benefits provided by a “regular” employer that offers savings on group healthcare plans. You also have to be very organized when it comes to your business expenses and self-employment tax obligations. Estimating quarterly payments can be tricky, especially when money is tight. The same applies to retirement savings. So you don’t have contributions made into a 401(k). Visit a CPA, your bank, or a financial adviser and set up something on your own.
For some freelancers, self-discipline is the most difficult part of being a freelancer. But it all boils down to this: you don’t work, you don’t get paid. It’s as simple as that.