Independent contractor responsibilities are a part of the world of freelancing. To attract new clients, grow your network and make a living wage, you need to think ahead about the realities of managing a business. The happiest (and most successful) freelancers consider both the positive aspects and the challenges of working for yourself before investing in this new career.
With that in mind, here are three questions to consider as you think about taking the leap to working as an independent contractor.
1. Do you have a financial buffer?
As a freelancer, you have to be more thoughtful about income flow than you might at a steady, nine-to-five job. In particular, you benefit from preparing for the ebbs and flows of projects. To start out, you need a financial buffer. Most experts recommend six months of income in a savings account rather than in investments. This safety net takes the pressure off of the first few months of freelancing, allowing you to find your bearings in this new terrain. Always keep that savings account intact to guard you against potential dry spells or emergencies. If you have to dip into it, immediately work to bring it back up to its existing level.
2. Are you self-motivated?
Freelancers enjoy unprecedented freedom compared to their colleagues in full-time jobs. They choose their clients, work their own hours and pick the ideal location to work. But this freedom accompanies an unprecedented challenge: staying motivated regardless of what’s going on around you. Managing your projects requires excellent boundaries and a strong dose of self-motivation. In addition to an appreciation for independent work, freelancers need to be masters of time-management and prioritization. Consider whether these are your innate strengths before you decide to freelance full-time.
3. Do you enjoy having your hands in a project from start to finish?
When you’re a freelancer, you’re in charge of the nuts and bolts of each project, down to the administrative work. Most independent contractors do their own business development, marketing, contracts and accounting. For every hour you work with a client, you may have another hour of administrative work to do. If you prefer to complete one task over and over again (rather than juggle multiple aspects of every project), freelancing may not be the best choice for you.
The earlier you think about independent contractor responsibilities, the more prepared you are to jump into life as a freelancer. By making sure you have a financial buffer, are self-motivated and enjoy ownership over your work, you take the practical steps toward long-term success.