If you want to write or paint or think or create, do it in your spare time.
If you want to make money doing it, run your freelancing like a business. This means, in addition to being creative, you are also:
An accountant. You’re responsible for figuring out your taxes, which includes such joys as Schedule C. So expect to shell out some bucks for an accounting program to keep track of your expenses (save those receipts!) and your estimated quarterly tax payments. Yes, you get business deductions. You can probably write off your office and your automobile and your office supplies. Or can you? Finally, be prepared for sticker shock when you pay self-employment tax. Yep, Uncle Sam wants you.
A procurement officer. Nobody gives you a desk, a shiny new computer and all the office supplies you need. As the purchasing agent you supply all that yourself.
The marketing department. Nobody knows you exist until you tell them. You have to market yourself. This begins with purchasing, designing and writing your company website. Then:
- Creating a marketing plan
- Writing and distributing press releases
- Establishing your LinkedIn presence
- Developing your personal brand
- Developing a direct mail/email campaign
- Networking at various functions
- Becoming a public speaker
- Creating podcasts and/or YouTube videos
- Writing articles to establish your reputation
- Spreading the word on social media (via your Facebook, Snapchat, Scoop.it, Pinterest and other accounts)
- And, joy of all joys, cold calling
Team builder. You can’t do everything your client wants yourself, which means, over time, you need to build a network of colleagues. They could be graphic designers, writers, coders, web developers, technical illustrators, video producers. Equally important, you must vouch for them because their work is a direct reflection on you. If someone in your network flakes out, you lose credibility.
Anything you’d care to add?
Image: Mike Burns via Flickr®
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA business public relations and marketing content firm. For content that makes you stand out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit www.dsprel.com.