Freelancing on a budget – where to start?
Waking up one day and deciding to go for freelancing may seem like a decision that only the boldest and most daring would make. It might work as a film scenario, but not in a real-life situation when there are commitments and bills to pay, right? Well, if you agree with this, we hope to prove you wrong today. The reality is that freelancing can be one of the cheapest and least risky ways to start making money.
Since you are reading this article, I guess you are already thinking about embracing freelance work. Great! You have taken the first step! But we all know that doubts tend to appear fast as we decide to venture off into something new. Usually, the main reason for that is a lack of knowledge. So get prepared because now you are going to learn everything you need about budgeting as a freelancer!
Does becoming a freelancer cost anything?
In the beginning, you obviously need to know what you are going to do. What skills and experience can you offer your clients? If you check out some websites dedicated to freelancers; you will notice that freelancers commonly work in one of several specific industries. Copywriters, translators, editors, graphic designers, private tutors or programmers – they were pioneers of remote freelancing. But if none of those is your kind of thing, do not worry. For some time now, freelancing has also opened up to more ‘clerical’ professions. Virtual assistants, marketing and PR specialists, therapists and more. Any work you can imagine done remotely – well… also YOU can perform it as a freelancer.
But let’s not forget that freelancing is not restricted to the online world. Make-up or nail artists also are freelancers. Be creative! If you have never heard of some professions that would be performed on a self-employment basis – it means you can be the first one.
When you have thought of an idea – now it is the time to make some decisions. Your expenses will depend on them. But let’s answer the question first: Does freelancing cost anything? Well, while it is possible to start your freelancing career without spending anything, there may be times when spending money at the start of your freelancing journey is inevitable or at times, recommended.
Big decisions and not-so-big expenses?
First thing first, there may be costs for starting in your profession. For example, if you want to work as a freelance photographer, you will naturally need to have a high-quality camera, lens, and, more often than not, professional graphic software to edit your photos. If you do not have access to the above-mentioned equipment already, it will generate some expenses for you at the start. While these costs may be necessary, do not forget that you have control over how much you will spend. If you want to minimise these costs, you can:
– do proper research on the quality of products and their prices (do not fall for overpricing!);
– plan your budget;
– choose less known brands, cheaper substitutes for the most popular products;
– ask yourself what is really a must and what is not that necessary.
However, if you still cannot afford the absolute minimum that you need in order to start freelancing, you may also look for governmental, local and third-party support programs for the self-employed of your professional field. If there is no way you can claim some money, do not get discouraged. Keep working and saving. A great thing about freelancing is that you can do it part-time. So if you work 9-to-5, trying to save some funds for the crucial investments, you can look for minor job opportunities in your free time that do not require such professional equipment.
How to find first clients for free?
There are plenty of options for how to announce your services to the world. Let’s have a look at some of them.
– Intermediary parties
Platforms, websites, apps that connect freelancers and their customers for a commission fee. They are easy to sign up for and you will get useful tips on how to create a nice-looking, customer-attractive profile. If you are new to freelancing or you do not want to spend too much time looking for new jobs, you definitely should try this solution! Some of them may charge you just for registration and having a profile on their platform (no matter if you have any clients). The other will charge you only per job (so when you get a job and get paid, some percentage of your income goes to the website). Revolancer is the latter – with one of the lowest commission fees on the market. You do not lose anything on creating your job listings with us and you have the absolute confidence that people interested in hiring a freelancer will see you. In the meantime, you can still try other options to find more clients – it is a win-win situation! Definitely worth giving a shot!
– Searching job listings and applying directly
Take things into your own hands. If you have more time to spare, you may be willing to look for new job opportunities on your own. Try Facebook freelancers’ groups, LinkedIn jobs, services (websites) with job offers, check the “Careers” sections on websites of particular companies. But do not forget that you will probably need to create not only your portfolio but also a CV and (possibly) prepare some references. If you do not have work experience, the strict form of CV may be unfavourable. Another disadvantage of this method is that you actually need to take your time looking for opportunities and do it consistently. An advantage? It is completely free!
– Create your own brand
Let’s go a step further. Do you want customers to come to you themselves, without having to pay commissions to intermediary platforms? Create your brand – starting from social media (Facebook page, Instagram or Pinterest account, etc.). A very useful tool that will give you lots of exposure is your website or blog. You can create your own blog for free, however, limited features of the free version might quickly convince you to spend some money on a website that is easy to use, pleasing to the eye, and appealing to customers. It can be done cheap, but the rule is simple – the less money you are ready to spend, the more of your own effort you have to put into it.
Should I invest in an advertisement?
The magic of social media is that you can promote yourself for free. There is no need to spend money on promoted posts or ads to attract new customers – not when you are new to the freelancing world. All you need are creative and well-planned actions. Use your skills to stand out, surprise people with something fresh and put yourself in the spotlight! (If you have a great story of your life to share with us – take a look at Revolancer Magazine and the series of ‘Spotlight On‘ articles. Fancy appearing there?).
Do I pay taxes as a freelancer?
Well, the answer is yes. Since various circumstances determine whether you need or how much do you need to pay, we hope to cover this topic soon in our another article. While that is in progress, feel free to do your research on your own – it is not that complicated as you may imagine. Remember to stay tuned for more Revolancer Magazine’s articles by following us on our social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. This way you will never miss any opportunity to grow with us!
All those expenses…
Now you know what potential expenses may occur and how to reduce them. The beauty of freelancing is that you can start doing it with no or very little initial investment costs. One last piece of advice from us at the end: do not give up because your career is developing slowly – Rome wasn’t built in a day. Before you know it, your freelancing career will start growing quickly. However, if you feel uncomfortable waiting for results, then do not just wait. There are many ways to boost your career: gain some insight into your competition and reflect upon it, get more experience with free courses or by volunteering, expand your portfolio. And of course: remember to stay with Revolancer – we are here to help you become a successful freelancer!
If this has inspired you to pursue freelancing then head to Revolancer to start your journey with us!
If you want to learn more about freelancing then head to our magazine and have a look at the vast number of different articles we have to offer!
Freelance marketplace: Revolancer