Being a self-employed freelancer is one of those things that has a lot of benefits, but also a lot of drawbacks if you’re not prepared to deal with them. While more and more people in the US are becoming freelancers and working on a contractual basis more and more each year, some simply can’t handle it, and end up going back to their old job. The good news is that every problem you encounter as a self-employed freelancer has a solution, so let’s take a look at five things you can expect if you’re working as a freelancer in the US.
The freelance phenomenon isn’t just a US exclusive thing. More people around the world are getting in on the freelancing trend. As you can probably guess, this means more competition, and with the US as the #2 consumer market in the world after China, a lot of freelancers from other countries want to do business there. And of course, thanks to the Internet, they can.
What this has led to is an abundance of people selling their services at rock bottom prices. This is because many people outside the US can take advantage of the way currency exchange rates work, and price their services cheaply, earn less and still live very comfortably. For example, in some countries, just $400.00 USD a month can support a large family very easily, so a freelancer from a country like that lowering their prices to get more business is a smart marketing tactic.
That said, smart freelancers in the US have already gotten over this issue, and realize that there is no need to compete with low priced services. In the eyes of those who hire freelancers, low price equals low quality, which is something that most high-paying clients want to avoid. This being the case, US freelancers often times market their services as being “top-shelf” and price accordingly. What this does, is it attracts clients who are willing to pay more for higher quality work, allowing US freelancers to earn a comfortable amount of compensation for their work.
One of the biggest pitfalls of freelancing is running across, bad clients. A bad client can be someone who is rude, doesn’t pay on time, changes the scope of the project without warning, or doesn’t communicate as they should. This can lead to a stressful experience for the freelancer.
As a freelancer, it is important to vet your clients and be choosy about who you work with. This can be difficult if you’re desperate for work, but bad clients are oftentimes more trouble than they’re worth. Also, a freelancer should never be afraid to “fire” a client if things get bad enough, sometimes the money just isn’t worth it.
As a self-employed freelancer, you have to purchase the equipment that you need to do your job yourself, that’s a given, but in the US you’ll also be having to take care of things like health insurance, and your retirement fund yourself. This can seem tough at first, but if you stay smart and plan ahead, it isn’t that big of a hurdle to get over.
The key here is budgeting, and things like health insurance, retirement, and even small business accounting should all be grouped in with your other needs, like paying the bills and buying groceries. If you can do that, then you should have no problem covering these extra expenses.
Freelancing is the Future
In the end, the benefits of being a freelancer can far out weight the downsides if you’re smart about it. Plan ahead, and if you run into a problem, realize that it’s probably already been solved so take a look online to see what other people are saying about it.
And above all else, enjoy yourself. Freelancing is all about being in control of your time, so make sure you leave a little time for some fun in your schedule. You won’t regret it.