The number of freelancers is growing each year as our world becomes increasingly digital and remote. There are a lot of unique freedoms that come with being a freelancer, which is exactly why I decided to become one of them.
Yet, there are also some very important implications that need to be considered to make sure a freelancer is getting the most out of their career and life. In all honesty, your mindset and office setup can make or break your budding career as a freelancer in today’s fast paced world.
Today, we will dive into 5 of the best investments that can help your career as a freelancer flourish, avoid feeling totally overwhelmed, and minimize the risk of burnout.
Create a Plan
When you are a freelancer, you are basically your own boss. This means you are your own internal driver for staying motivated to get things done. Ultimately, you need a plan that helps you balance your time and allows your business to grow.
Having a physical planner and/or online calendar is a must for keeping every independent contractor organized. (I personally love having my physical planner on me at all times to jot down notes and constantly review my to-do list and goals to ensure sure I’m staying on track.)
The Right Tech
If you are working from home, you need the right setup for computers, software, and other technology you may need. A high quality computer that helps you work efficiently is key to reducing frustration with a slow connection or full memory card. Of course, this also means that you should invest in a high quality Internet connection as well. Additionally, your phone or tablet will serve as your lifeline for communication with clients and checking emails (and occasional last minute work too)- so choose one that functions well and fits your needs.
When it comes to software, there are two primary approaches that can yield the most for your business. There are tons of free or low cost options on the market for almost every niche. For example, Canva is a free design program that has a lot of the same features as a paid program for designing high quality digital products. If you’re on a budget or don’t know where to start, do your research on what free tools are available and make the most of them. Alternatively, if you truly need more robust software, it’s time to do some deep research. Then, take advantage of free trials to make sure a program is right for you before investing in it.
A Social Network
Social media networks are a great way to connect with current and potential clients with self-promotion. A well designed profile page is like your virtual business card that helps people understand what you do, how you serve your clients, and what you can offer someone. Choose a social media platform, or two, where your clients frequent and build a presence that helps them trust your brand. Stay connected by sharing useful content and giving others a peek inside your world as a service provider and engaging with people that show interest. Many people love to start on Facebook for its large scope of people. From there, you might consider LinkedIn for targeting business professionals or Instagram or TikTok for a younger or more visual market.
Plus, don’t forget dedicated online freelance communities that are available through websites like Upwork and Fivver- both great places to build your resume and connect to potential clients. Additionally, you may also consider building your own website to offer your specific services and paint a bigger picture for your vision.
When you work at home, it can be tempting to work from your couch or kitchen table (seriously though). However, this can put a major damper on your productivity. When you work in areas that you also associate, with relaxation and meals, it makes it hard for your brain to stay on task. Thus, it can significantly boost your ability to focus when you have the right set up, whether it’s in a home office or just a designated corner in your living room.
- An ergonomic chair. Personally, I can’t focus when I’m feeling uncomfortable in my seat. It’s why one of the top investments for an office is a high quality chair. Yet, budget can play a role in which chair ends up in your office. The Flexispot Soutien Ergonomic Office Chair could be an option. It provides 3D lumbar support and extensive adjustability, from seat depth to a lounge tilt, that helps you find the perfect position for getting your work done even with prolonged sitting. Plus, it’s a very affordable chair and is one the best on the market in its style and price range.
- A standing desk. Spending too much time in a seated position is hard on your health and back (feeling stiff after a day of work, anyone?). Having the versatility of a sit to stand desk can get you out of your seat while still getting to that growing to-do list. In this case, Comhar All-in-One Standing Desk could be a great option.
- A monitor mount. Since most freelancers are juggling several projects at once, having access to a dual monitor mount, like the Dual Monitor Mount F7D/F8LD, can be a game changer. Instead of constantly switching between programs, client chats, and social media, you can keep it all organized in front of you on two different screens- all while switching seamlessly between projects. Having two screens has helped me significantly boost my productivity for sure!
Being a freelancer means you are in charge of managing all of the potential risks in your business (and life). The most basic investment for optimal risk management that needs to be addressed is getting your own comprehensive health insurance. From there, you might want to consider other options too like saving for retirement with a pension plan, worker’s compensation in the case of getting injured, and even business insurance to cover any legal issues such as lawsuits. If you already own a home or car, it is worth talking to your current insurance broker for options that will help you bundle insurance and get the best possible discount without sacrificing on quality.
Getting all your ducks in a row when you are your own boss can do wonders for your business. Being a freelancer can be such an empowering transition with setting your own rates, hours, and having absolute flexibility to decide how your career will grow and change with your own personal needs. If you’re just getting started, I can’t stress enough how these 5 simple investments will help you on your road to success. Once you’ve gained some traction and loyal customers, the sky is truly the limit.