Top Tips for the Self-Employed

October 9, 2017

Top Tips for the Self-Employed

Self-employment sounds great, right? No one telling you what to do or constantly checking on you to ensure you are on track with the day’s deliverables. Oh, and you can wear pajamas to work and stop worrying about the state of your hair!

Well, anyone who has been self-employed knows that this is far from the truth. You are responsible for your failures and successes, and the lack of supervision means that you have to boss over yourself. You may be so busy working that promoting your business is the last thing you have time for. Here are a few things you may need to consider when you work for yourself.

Advertise Yourself

If people don’t know you exist how can you expect to grow your business? Perhaps word of mouth has worked for you for a long time, but in this age of technology why not let a free job listing do some work for you? That’s where WorkerRental comes in! Your free job listing on WorkerRental is like a free advertisement for your small business or those who are self employed. We’re the best way to promote your business and best of all, there’s no catch!

Make a Plan

Discipline will make or break you. You will need to treat this as you would a 9-5 job. Set days and hours and stick to them. If you tend to become easily distracted, be strict with yourself and switch your phone off when you need to and stay off unproductive sites until you have hit your daily target. Set reasonable daily, weekly, and monthly goals and revisit them often to ensure you are on track.

Manage Your Income

Oftentimes when you’re self-employed income varies from month to month. Some months you get tons of work and the money flows while others are so dry that you will barely make enough to pay bills. Set up a budget to stop you from spending all the money when you hit the jackpot. If your work is seasonal plan ahead. Keep some money aside each month so that you have a reservoir for the rainy days. Seek services of a financial planner if you have to.

Be Good To Yourself

Most freelancers are great at chasing and pitching clients, but slack at sending invoices. If the client delays payment but sends in more work, don’t fall into the trap of being friendly and completing the work to avoid having the unpleasant conversation about money.

Unfortunately, you are your own debt collector and bookkeeper, so track those payments and make those phone calls. While you are at it, take care of your health. Take extra precautions to avoid sick days, but don't be afraid to take time off to recover. Spend a little on yourself because after all, you are doing all the hard work.

Give Yourself A Raise

The quality of your work improves over time, and so should the value you get for it. You should evaluate yourself regularly and then set meetings to discuss possible pay raises with your clients. Most self-employed people find it difficult to raise this issue with clients, but you will never know unless you ask.

It’s Okay to Say "No"

Often times as a self-employed freelance contractor, you may feel as if you always have to answer yes to every client. That’s simply not true. You need to be sure that the clients and jobs you take on are lucrative to either your experience, your paycheck, and your reputation. Do not take on a client simply because you feel you have to. Be sure that you understand all aspects of the job and that it’s okay to say no when you don’t feel it is a good fit.

Take A Break

All work and no play will certainly make you cranky. Take a holiday away from your tools of the trade and treat yourself. Heck, you can even pack up and work from a different city or country altogether because that is the beauty in freelancing. Let them know ahead of time when you won't be available if there's a chance they'll need something done ahead of your absence. Oh, and don’t wait until the last day to pay your taxes!

Professionalism Can Make a Difference

How you project yourself can speak volumes, that goes for actions as well as communication. If you work from home, prepare yourself for the work day by getting out of those pajamas and into some work clothes. Let the kids know that they cannot just dash into your home office because you are still at work, and let your friends know that you cannot extend your lunch break because you need to get back to work.

Open and honest communication with clients is always recommended, however do not feel obligated to provide personal details and explanations. Simply saying “I’m unavailable at the moment” should suffice in most cases. Email and texting is great for keeping a “paper trail” and to give you the extra time you need to think things through and compose your thoughts. Keep your messages a professional by avoiding a casual tone such as abbreviations. To make sure you’re communicating clearly give your message a quick re-read before hitting “send”!

And remember, you will never hear a doctor, engineer, teacher, or a football player talk dismissively about their career. The same should be the case for freelancers!

Never Stop Learning

You can always update yourself on the latest and greatest techniques in your industry. Always make sure you’re aware of new trends, new ways of doing things, and ways you can assist your client. If your job requires licenses or certificates, make sure you keep them updated and renewed. Be sure that you never stop learning and developing new skills that can help you in the long run.

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