So, you’re ready to make the jump! You’re ready to ditch the rat race and try and strike out on your own as a freelancer. That’s awesome. You’re getting paid to do what you love, and that’s pretty much the recipe for a happy professional life right there. You’ve already got yourself a few clients lined up, you’re working on projects outside of your day job and you’re converting your spare room into your very own office.
That’s all great stuff. But be wary. The coming months will be among the toughest of your career. You’ll need to learn the fine art of keeping your existing clients happy while hustling for more work. You’ll have to learn the subtleties of chasing payments from clients if you want to keep food on the table. And you may find that living without a regular reliable income is jarring, especially when taking on so many overhead costs.
While freelancers don’t face the same kind of overhead and startup costs as other small businesses, going freelance usually requires some sort of operational expenditure. Here we’ll look at some ways in which you can cut the cost of getting up and running (and staying running) as a freelancer.
Buy used or reconditioned
Whatever you’ll be doing on a freelance basis, it’s likely that you’ll have a pretty extensive shopping list when making the transition to full time freelancing. That shopping list will most likely contain at least some technology like laptops, tablets and appropriate software. While you’ll want to invest in quality, reliable hardware, don’t make the mistake of assuming that you have to pay top dollar for it. Buying used or reconditioned tech can be a great way to reduce startup costs while ensuring operational excellence.
Cut the cost of transferring projects
If you’re a freelance writer, you probably don’t need very robust storage needs to send your work to your clients. In most instances, you’ll be able to send a document as an attachment or link to a Google Doc. However, there will be some freelancers who need to transfer much larger files to their clients in a timely fashion. This invariably requires some overhead costs. However, shopping around can save you a great deal month on month. For example, look at these alternatives to WeTransfer. Not only can they be more cost effective, they can offer you improved functionality and much less limitation in terms of file sizes.
Use open source or cloud-based software
There’s really no reason at all to pay over the odds for your software. We now live in an age where there is such an abundance of open source and cloud-based software that no matter what you do, you can find a more cost-effective way of doing it without needing to compromise on the quality you offer your clients. Google Docs, for example, is not only a superior and more intuitive alternative to MS Word, it’s completely free!
Keep track of your expenses
Finally, one of the easiest ways for freelancers to save money is on their tax bills. Every year, legions of freelancers wind up overpaying on their taxes because they forgot to accurately log their deductible expenses and save their receipts. One of the main reasons for this is because their expenses get away from them and the task of catching up with them becomes more and more untenable as freelancers get busier. Be sure to log your expenses on a weekly (or at least monthly) basis and file your receipts away in case of an audit.
This can save you a small fortune on your taxes and lead to a happier and more organized freelancing career!