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Freelancing 101

The traditional constraints of the workplace have changed drastically over the last decade. Flexi-time is a thing, so is ‘hot desking’. These changes have freed us from the perception that one can only be effective if bound to a desk.

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The average human spends one third of their life working. That’s a big chunk of time! If you’re thinking about going freelance, then there are some important things you need to know.

You can do both. Freelancing can be daunting, especially when you don’t have much work experience. Instead of putting it all on the line, consider taking a full-time position and taking on freelance work as a side hustle. Once you’re getting regular work on the side, you’ll be better placed to take the plunge to pursue freelance, well, full-time. Be wary of taking on too much work, you don’t want to burn yourself out.

Build your brand. It is important to have some sort of online presence to establish yourself and promote your services. You can build a basic website, establish a social media account, an online portfolio (like Behance), or all of the above. Take the time to figure out what it is you can offer, how much time you can allocate to it each day or week and start building a business strategy

It seems pretty straightforward, but no one is going to know about your service if you don’t tell them about it. Get the word out, start with family and friends, build up to a well-drafted email addressed to the relevant decision maker at a business you want to work with. Keep an eye out for pay opportunities. They often arise when least expected. 

Name your price. This might be one of the trickiest tasks as a freelancer. How much is your time worth? How long will the job take you? Figure out a fair rate for your time, and keep a time sheet to make it easier to recon a job. You may want to offer a competitive rate starting out, but don’t undersell yourself. Do your homework – ask people working in the same field what their hourly fee is, and use that to figure out yours.

Track your finances. Keep a clear record of your hours, especially if you are working for several different clients. It’s a good idea to track your invoices and expenses on a spreadsheet, as well as details of your invoices. Put a simple but effective numbering system in place, so you can keep track easily and add up invoices you issue with payments you receive. There are great cloud-based programmes available that will help you run a tight ship – check out Quickbooks and Xero. This will also come in handy if you become liable to declare a second income with SARS or if you need to do a tax return.

Hold yourself accountable. There is a perception amongst some that all freelancers do is sit at coffee shops or hang at the pool, occasionally firing off an email. Don’t be fooled. Sure, you can manage your own time, but you need to be efficient and mindful of deadlines. 

Now, go out there and crush it! 

Move to Capitec and pay a low monthly admin fee of R5. Plus, when you open a Global One solution, you’ll get access to 4 free savings plans. 

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