Ten million Americans are now thinking about shifting to freelance work to be able to work from home on their own schedule. This was one of the findings of Upwork’s report, “The Great Resignation: From Full-time to Freelance” released in August this year. An earlier survey of Upwork showed that in 2020, 36 percent of the American workforce or 59 million people were already working freelance. The Harvard Business Review forecasts that there will be more than 90 million freelance workers in the U.S. by 2028. That is about half of the workforce.
Freelancing can be lucrative. CNBC featured freelancer Emilina Lomas who now earns $10,000 a month writing blog posts and Instagram captions, doing copyediting, and marketing fitness plans. Apart from writing and editing, many freelance jobs are in the information technology (IT) field. There are also freelance publicists, social media managers, fitness coaches, designers, event coordinators, virtual assistants, delivery drivers, and many others.
Prepare Your Home Office
If you intend to do freelance work full-time and permanently, you must set up a dedicated home office that is free from noise and distractions. It is best if it is completely closed off from the rest of the house. If you live alone, a divider will do to keep you focused on your work.
Companies that are requiring employees to return to the office are retrofitting their ventilation systems to keep indoor air quality at the optimum. You deserve no less. Ensure that your HVAC system is adjusted to enable maximum inflow of outdoor fresh air and its circulation. It must include a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and ultraviolet-C (UV-C) technology to clean the air thoroughly.
The HVAC system works best if your home office is properly insulated. Hire a professional for residential spray foam insulation installation that will help control interior temperatures both in extremely cold and hot weather.
Another health concern for freelancers is being seated for long hours. Prevent back pain by ensuring that your desk and home office chair are ergonomically designed. Consider using a desk that can easily transform to a standing desk so you can shift every hour or so.
The primary need of every freelancer is a strong and stable Internet connection. Choose a service provider that guarantees high speed and reliable connectivity. If you intend to work away from home sometimes, such as in a park or by a lake, ensure that your mobile Internet connection is just as fast and dependable and can support your laptop.
Invest in a portable electric-powered generator that you can safely use indoors when a power outage occurs. Avoid gasoline-powered or diesel-powered ones since these emit dangerous fumes and must be kept outdoors away from the house. Choose one that can be connected to a solar panel to save on your electric bill. Ensure that it will provide enough wattage for your computer, Internet connection, lights, and ventilation.
You will have the complete freedom and flexibility of being able to work not only at home but anywhere if you have a sturdy laptop. Purchase a small but powerful laptop power bank to ensure that you will not run out of juice. Note that power banks meant for mobile phones cannot charge laptops. If you want a big screen when working from home, you can purchase a large monitor that connects to your laptop.
A Google Nest Hub on your home office desk will enable you to ask questions and get answers without having to open a separate tab for search. This makes you work faster and efficiently.
If your freelance work involves video conferences, ensure that you look good and professional on camera. Adjust your laptop so that the camera shows you at a good angle. Purchase a ring light to ensure that you are seen clearly. Make sure that your background looks polished and uncluttered.
There are many productivity apps that freelancers can use and here are just a few examples. Google Calendar or Calendly can systematize your schedule. For cloud storage, there is Google Drive or Dropbox, among others. It is best to use at least two cloud backups at the same time in case one gets hacked.
To create proposals, there is Prospero, Draftsend, and Proposify. A good free app to create customized service agreements with e-signing and to generate invoices is AND Co. Freshbooks is a free cloud-based software for time-tracking, project tracking, accounting, and invoicing. To receive payment, Paypal is the most common means. The client can even pay using a credit card.
While technological tools help freelancers a lot, it is still the individual who drives success. Invest in upgrading your skills to boost your credentials and pricing. Hone your focus and concentration to be able to deliver your best work every time. There is no limit to your success.