I struck out as a full-time freelancer somewhat by accident. I didn’t exactly prepare for it and, in retrospect, there are a couple of things I think can really help a freelancer start out on the right foot. It’s quite possible to succeed even without completing these steps; they just make things a bit easier.
- Figure out your health insurance. No matter whether you purchase your health insurance on your own, marry someone for their benefits or go the HSA route, getting some sort of plan in place is crucial. Medical bills can easily wipe a freelancer out — even if the injury or illness is relatively small.
- Put together solid clips. Ideally, even before you consider going freelance full-time, you’ve published some work — a press release, a short article, anything. But if you’re serious about landing some decent gigs right out of the gate, you’ll want a good portfolio. It’s worth the effort of putting up a website with your past work listed.
- Set your goals — and your escape plan. It can take a while to build up reliable income as a freelancer, but it’s easier to do so if you have some goals in mind. Equally important, though, is to be able to tell if freelancing isn’t working out. If I make less than a certain amount over the course of the year, I will seriously consider finding more gainful employment. Happily, I’ve already passed that amount this year.