As anybody who is a freelancer knows quite well, branching out into the world of freelance work is a very exciting decision. From writers who create articles for a variety of publications and photographers who capture special moments at weddings, to the many other types of work that is available, freelancing can be a wonderful way to make a living.
Becoming a freelancer also takes a certain amount of pre-planning that can help keep things organized and prevent any issues from occurring later on. People who are thinking about becoming a freelancer should consider the following topics ahead of time, before they get too deep in their new line of work:
Keep your business finances separate from your personal expenses. Pinnacle Financial warns that the Internal Revenue Service is very specific about the rules and regulations involving business expense deductions. By opening a business account and using it to pay for freelance-related expenses and make work-related deposits, it will be much easier to show the IRS that the business is truly a separate entity.
In addition, keeping a separate business account will help illustrate just how successfully you’re performing. When freelance payments and expenses are included among the dozens of transactions of a personal bank account, it can be hard to get a clear picture of how things are going. Along these lines, it is also a good idea to apply for a small business credit card at AmericanExpress.com; this way any charges that are made along the way can be kept separate from other personal credit card transactions. As a bonus, the American Express business card features membership rewards that earn the user points on any eligible purchases.
Make Sure Your Paperwork is in Order
First, the good news—becoming a freelancer typically does not involve jumping through a ton of paperwork hoops. But as an article on the U.S. Small Business Administration website notes, you should still set aside some time to be sure they have any needed licenses, are paying their estimated tax payments in a timely manner, and have properly registered their business name. It is generally required that all businesses have some type of license, and it is important to have this set up before ever accepting an assignment from a new client. As the article points out, many freelance businesses are based out of the person’s home, which means you may need to apply for a Home Occupancy Permit or a General Business License.
Learn the Art of Self-promotion
Being a freelancer is great, but work will not materialize out of thin air. Freelancers have to take steps to be sure their name is getting out there and people are becoming familiar with their type and quality of work. Business cards are more than little rectangles with personal information on them; they are a great way to get the word out about what you do. Furthermore, they provide potential clients with a tangible way to help get in touch. Business cards should include all pertinent information like your name, phone number, email address, and the types work you do.
photo from Flickr user Roland Legrand / Olando7.