How To Start Freelancing

21 December 2017
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How To Start Freelancing

Last week, we discussed the rise of the gig economy and its prevalence in light of today’s technology. Today, over 54 million Americans are choosing a freelance business and lifestyle over a traditional career. Whether it’s the flexibility or autonomy that is drawing what seems like everyone to freelance, there is no denying the growing acceptability of the freelance lifestyle. For traditional full-timers who want to join their peers, here are five first steps to get you started:

1) Determine Your Skillset or Product

While many people have a secret passion they are willing to quit their jobs for – perhaps having dreamt of being a writer or artist their whole lives – many of us do not. Some of us fell into or, dare I say, enjoy their full time jobs. For these people, it may be harder to identify what they want to sell. The solution is to look at yourself and your skillset as a series of commodities and services, something you could see listed on a menu of services somewhere. These items can include your hobbies – do you enjoy designing websites in your free time? – but also include the skills you developed at your job – do you work in accounting and could easily help a start-up get their books in order? Whatever it is that you can do, know that there is likely someone out there who cannot do it for themselves and is willing to pay you for it.

2) Start Where You Are

Leaving your fulltime job with all of those wonderful benefits is scary, and don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not. What’s the solution? Don’t quit your job. While some individuals have the luxury of being able to leave their primary source of income, many of us do not. The good news is that you can have both – stay at your job and start your freelancing. This is an easy way to test the waters and see if there is a market for what you’re selling.

3) Talk to Other Freelancers in Your Market

There is an unlimited amount of ways to freelance in today’s economy. You can become an Uber or Lyft driver or start your own business selling knit scarves on Etsy. Whatever your niche is, talk to others in it. They can give you some advice and tell you what has and has not worked for them. While nothing is better than personal experience, the tips from someone else who has been through it is a pretty close second.  

4) Know Your To-Do List

Once you have your idea and talked to some other freelancers, it is critical to know your next tasks and steps. Will you be incorporating your business? Are you going to hire employees? How do you file your taxes? There will be a lot of forms to fill out and SimpleForms can help.

5) Write Your Own Rules

Have fun! There are no rules to the gig economy. You can freelance full-time, part-time, or sporadically, doing anything you want. Everyone is new at this so write your own rules and figure out what works best for you.


About the author

Angela Yu is a New Jersey and New York attorney with a multifaceted practice area focusing in corporate, real estate and general contract law. Ms. Yu is a published legal author and holds a J.D. and M.B.A. from Rutgers School of Law and Rutgers Business School.

Angela Yu does not provide legal advice on this website. This blog post and any blog posts authored by Angela Yu do not constitute legal advice.


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