By Belinda Johnson
Freelance careers are a leading change factor impacting the workforce. First, it was telecommuting jobs that were on the rise. Now, it’s freelance careers that are growing at a significant rate. About 54 million of American workers freelance, according to the Freelancers Union. However, Fast Company reports that a smaller number of people working freelance careers earn all of their income freelancing.
The fact that a smaller number of Americans are working freelance careers full-time could show that more Americans are blending freelance careers with part-time or full-time jobs. The desire to work reduced hours, gain more control of their personal time and use their passions and hobbies to generate income are a few reasons why more people are blending traditional jobs with freelance careers.
Advancing freelance careers
Attractive or not, blending two jobs isn’t always easy. Following are steps that could make your traditional job and freelance careers marriage successful.
Create a clear work schedule – Your employer will establish clear work hours for you at your traditional job. To avoid working at all hours of the day or night, set clear work hours for freelance careers that you work as well. Communicate your work hours to clients who push or demand that you take on more work than you care handle effectively.
Let contacts know that you’re accepting freelance work – Since you’re pursuing freelance careers, you may be someone who values networking. You may not meet strangers because you see common human elements in everyone who you meet. Forgetting former colleagues, neighbors, friends and relatives simply is not what you do. Let your contacts know that your door is wide open when it comes to accepting freelance work. Getting the word out is one of the best ways to grow freelance careers.
Understand non-compete policies – To advance freelance careers smartly, read non-compete policies at your traditional job from top to bottom. Depending on your traditional employer, you may not be able to work for clients who operate businesses in industries similar to your traditional employer’s.
Respect your full-time job – Respect the needs and the requirements of your traditional full-time job. Fulfill assignments associated with your traditional job. You’re getting paid to do your full-time job. Honor agreements that you made with your traditional employer when you signed your employment contract.
Be assertive – Include the link to your freelancers portfolio or website is a good way to introduce prospects to the fact that you are looking for and accepting new clients. Create a professional email address to send and receive correspondence from prospective clients as you continue to grow your freelance careers. Also, add your website link or portfolio to social media networks, postcards and other communications (not related to your traditional job, of course).
Keep learning – Stay apace of changes and trends impacting industries that your freelance careers operate in. Attend classes, seminars and participate in online learning opportunities. For example, you might get SEO certifications or professional licenses to set yourself apart as an expert.
Understand tax implications – It may not sound exciting, but, it’s worthwhile to hop over to the IRS website and familiarize yourself with small business deductions, quarterly taxes and other tax laws that directly impact freelance careers. You may want to create a separate account to save money to pay your quarterly taxes with. Another option you could use to handle quarterly taxes is to reduce the numbers of deductions that you claim with your traditional full-time job.
Maintain good records – Piggy backing on tax implications, make sure that you keep good records. Examples of good records that you’ll need as your freelance careers progress are office product receipts, freelance related mileage records, 1099 forms that you receive from clients and individual payments that you receive from freelance clients.
Strong project and time management skills can make it easier to blend freelance careers and traditional full-time jobs. So too can setting clear boundaries, balancing your personal and professional lives and asking for support when you need it. As a freelancers, support could come through taking on contractors to complete more complex projects.