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Freelancing Still On The Rise: How Can Contractors Support Themselves?

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  • Digital Team 

Business landscapes have changed dramatically in the past few years. While this can be attributed to several factors, including the pandemic and emerging tech, it is clear that freelancing is here to stay.

While freelancing is nothing new, it has become far more accessible in the digital age. Not least because online communication allows skilled contractors to partner with global clients. It has never been more accessible. In fact, recently released research shows that numbers in the U.S. grew by over 7 million between 2014 and 2022. With figures now standing at over 60 million, this signifies a huge percentage of the working population.

Freelancers are now taken more seriously than ever, but it is a competitive field filled with challenges. Therefore, contractors old and new must ensure that the right steps have been taken to protect themselves. Otherwise, the benefits of freelancing will be compromised with catastrophic results. Here’s what they must do.

Protect Themselves Legally & Financially 

Freelancing offers many benefits to individuals. For starters, it puts them in control of their own destinies and enables them to leverage success from their skills and experience. However, it also means that the financial and legal obligations lie solely with them. Before doing anything else, they must confirm that they are permitted to work.

To work in NY or the wider U.S. region, workers must be legal residents or have an immigration visa. But this doesn’t apply to overseas freelancers who deliver contracted services via the internet. Freelancers are also responsible for paying self-employment tax at a rate of 5.3% in 2023. This is in addition to regular income tax but does cover Social Security and Medicare. Of course, all contracts should be supported by contracts.

Freelancers also need to acknowledge potential instability. As a freelancer, there may be times when work is hard to find. For example, businesses in many sectors will look to limit spending in the new year. Contractors must ensure that this is reflected in their prices, without pricing themselves out of contracts. They must also consider insurance to protect their earnings, which can also extend to claims when injuries stop them from working.

Become Better Communicators 

Starting out as a freelancer requires a vote of self-confidence. This is true even in situations where job losses or other circumstances forced the person’s hand. However, knowing that you can produce the work is one thing but getting clients to feel the same is another. Developing confident body language and communication skills is now essential.

In other words, freelancers have to become good at selling themselves as an asset. Portfolios are a particularly good way to showcase your talents. For the best results, it is worth researching the client and actively demonstrating why services align with their needs. The key is to prove that they will translate to success for them. Ultimately, this is the only thing they care about regardless of whether you’re an accountant, graphic designer, or IT tech.
Crucially, contractors must know how to communicate with clients throughout their projects. After all, retainers can play a key role in the process. When working online, marking up documents and files so that clients understand them is vital. Using a PDF annotation guide for Java applications can be particularly useful. Welcoming feedback is vital too.

Invest In Continued Development

Starting out as a freelancer allows users to leverage success from their expertise and experience. Whether coming straight out of college, traditional employment, or turning a hobby into a job doesn’t matter. They will only win contracts if they can prove that they are the right fit for a client. Maintaining relevant skills is an essential part of the process.

Continued development can take many forms. It may manifest as completing additional courses to support existing qualifications. Alternatively, freelancers may focus on developing their sales pitches and body language skills. This, along with ideas like learning how to use new software or techniques, doesn’t necessarily have to take a professional route. There are plenty of online tutorials that teach valuable skills across a broad range of sectors.

In addition to promoting relevance, continued development keeps contractors engaged with their work. This passion is something that will shine through to impress clients while also leading to improved work quality. For contractors and gig-economy users in NY and beyond, it can have an immensely huge effect on job frequency and prices.

Become More Organized

Good organizational skills will blend into the concept of taking legal and financial action. But it should not be forgotten that staying organized also aids workflows, cash flows, and productivity. For starters, a clear schedule is essential for all freelancers. Likewise, they must develop a clear pay structure and know whether a proposed job may impact others.

In addition to managing the workflow, freelancers may wish to take deposits before starting the work. This provides the cash flow needed to live. Moreover, it is an opportunity for them to run price breakdowns of materials and other resources. While it won’t apply to the work completed by all contractors, it makes a huge difference in relevant cases. If nothing else, it frees up the freelancer’s mind, thus allowing them to focus on the projects.

Without good organizational skills, freelancing spirals out of control. Sadly, it can be very tough for contractors to regain control. Whether using paper organizers or digital tools is a personal preference. One way or the other, though, contractors must get organized. Especially if it is not a natural strength that they possess. 

Look For Additional Revenue Streams

Building a successful career as a freelance contractor requires an open mind. Career paths can take unexpected turns. Contractors who are open to this will be destined to thrive. Major developments have been seen across most industries thanks to modern tech and changing mindsets. Identifying new opportunities to earn can transform a freelancer’s prospects. 

New revenue streams may come courtesy of partnering with other freelancers or SMEs to land larger contractors. Or it could mean looking to target a new demographic. Alternatively, audio broadcasts and video broadcasts may open the door to content creation. Similarly, it may allow freelancers to sell their knowledge to students. This can be done through downloadable courses or one-to-one training.

In this case, PDF eBooks are another valuable tool. Either way, additional revenue streams can plug gaps in a person’s schedule due to a temporary lack of clients. Better still, many of the additional revenue generation solutions create passive streams. So, they can create income time and time again, meaning the benefits potentially last a lifetime.

Take Care Of Themselves

Finally, contractors must acknowledge the impact that adopting the life of a freelancer brings. While the career path offers many work-related benefits, it can be a lonely existence at times. Moreover, the instability and potential financial risks will increase a person’s stress levels. Worse still, there are no employers or colleagues to notice declining health.

With this in mind, all freelancers must make their personal health a priority. Establishing a healthier work-life balance builds a solid foundation. However, it is equally important to create opportunities for social interactions. Otherwise, a host of mental health issues may surface. Contractors working from home or offices must also think about nutrition and exercise. It will deliver immediate and long-term benefits.

Nothing is more valuable than a person’s health. Whether their freelancing jobs keep them in NY or take them elsewhere, it’s imperative that they give their health the attention it deserves. Without it, all of the progress mentioned above becomes redundant. Freelancing is here to stay. When workers are ready to adapt, success is assured.

Categories: BusinessNews