words Al Woods
It is always a big step when you decide to transition from employee to self-employed worker. It is certainly liberating in a lot of ways, as it gives you the freedom to pursue your passion and the skills that you are most proud of without feeling constricted by the demands of your employers. On the other hand, it is a transition that comes with its own risks and concerns.
Self-employed workers and freelancers will tell you that it can be a bumpy road at times, especially in these months following the pandemic, which is why it is so important to make sure that you are prepared for what is to come. Here are a few of our top tips to help you to the smoothest transition possible.
Get A Portfolio Together
This needs to be one of the first things you do as a self-employed worker. It does not matter what field you are working in; no one is going to hire you unless they can see a portfolio of your best work. When you are putting this together, try to make sure that it is as varied as possible to demonstrate the full range of your skills. You should also try to avoid overloading it. Instead, make sure that each piece of work is easy to understand and something that you are really proud of.
Build A Contacts List
Everyone always likes to talk about how it’s all about who you know. If you are becoming a self-employed worker, this is 100% true. The chances are that you will be competing with a lot of people for each and every project, and your contacts list is going to be one of the most important pieces of leverage that you have. Reach out to people you have previously worked with to let them know that you are going freelance. Ask your friends and former colleagues if they know of anyone who might be looking for someone to work on a project. You are going to need to learn how to network if you want to get anywhere.
Work On Your Pitching
The second half of the above point is pitching. Knowing how to pitch a potential client or customer is something that comes more naturally to some people than others. If you are the kind of person who generally likes to let their work speak for itself, then you are going to have to put some time aside to work on selling yourself as well as your work. Specifics will vary from industry to industry but remember that what you need to demonstrate is confidence, expertise, and trustworthiness. You know that you have the skills to nail this project, but you need to make other people believe the same thing.
Make Sure You’re Covered For A Rainy Day
Every freelancer and self-employed worker knows that there are always going to be tough stretches. One of the things that you need to remember is that many of the benefits which you took for granted as an employee are no longer just going to be handed out to you. You need to get proactive when it comes to looking after yourself in case of injury or illness. Self-employed income protection insurance can help you to make sure that you can continue to make your essential financial commitments. With a good policy in place, you do not need to worry about whether you can pay your rent if you find that you are unable to work. Drewberry can help you to find a policy that works for you, and they can show you what kind of coverage you could be looking at.
Work On A Financial Cushion
On the subject of rainy days, there are always going to be weeks and months where the work is not coming in as quickly as you would like it to. You will find that there will be stretches where you are pitching and pitching and not seeing anything coming back. You cannot force people to give you work, but what you can do is make sure that you have given yourself enough of a cushion to carry you through any dry spells. Talk to friends in your area to see if there are any times of the year that are always tricky (January, for example, is traditionally when everyone tries to restrict their spending). Make sure that you are putting money away during the good months.
Talk To An Accountant
Finally, one of the most important things that you need to do is make sure that you have an accountant or financial advisor. They are not just there to help you file your tax returns properly (and how to avoid the latest scams), they can help you identify ways that you can save money and grants that you may be able to take advantage of. They can also help you start planning for your future.