I have been self-employed as a freelance writer for 11 years. For years, my blog was my main income but over time my career has expanded to having two books published and many social media side jobs. This self-employed journey has led to many discoveries: you must always be learning (not just books), you need to implement the right tools (example: TurboTax Self-Employed), and you need to be diligent in your career AND at small business. Let me share 5 Tips for Freelancers that might make your self-employed life a little easier.
1. Continue Your Education
Freelance work is not a stagnant business. I find it essential to keep on top of industry news, new metrics, and new ways I can manage my small business better. I do this by talking with colleagues, watching competitors, taking courses, and reading articles.
Prime example: I read about how TurboTax Self-Employed is new this year and realized this is something I need to learn more about to help me with my self-employed tax filing. And through my research, I now know that it is the perfect tool for a freelancer like me.
2. Know When To Get The Help You Need
I like that TurboTax Self-Employed is a one-stop-shop for my self-employed tax needs. I can trust the tool to be user-friendly and thorough.
I’m not a tax expert, so it’s of value to me that TurboTax Self-Employed walks me through my tax preparation in a tailored step-by-step fashion. It automatically prompts me to enter all pertinent self-employed specific deductions and expenses to help ensure my return is accurate.
It’s invaluable to me that TurboTax Self-Employed can remind me of deductions I may forget to include. Some of the deductions TurboTax Self-Employed finds for me includes: office supplies, software, business travel costs, web hosting, advertising spend, and mobile phone/data plan. Every deduction counts to a small business owner like me!
BONUS: I’m not in it alone because I have SmartLook! SmartLook is a new feature that lets me connect with a tax expert on-demand so I can get the help I need right away via live, one-way video. Any self-employed person will appreciate having a tax expert or TurboTax Specialist available (during business hours) when it comes to taxes. You can get customized answers and they can guide you through your return.
3. Be Flexible With Your Schedule
I love working on my own schedule. I’m a self-starter who prefers to work independently so self-employment is a great career fit for me. No commuting. No office politics. No corporate ladder to climb. It also means that my schedule is not traditional. After-hours and weekend work is often required. You have to be comfortable adapting your work schedule to your life schedule if you want to pursue a freelancing career.
4. Have Multiple Revenue Streams (if possible)
Freelance work can have a feast or famine effect… where some months your inbox is a feast of opportunities and other times it is dry, dry, dry. Multiple revenue streams is valuable to freelancers as when the dry times come ‘round – you have another income source to fall back on.
How does one get multiple revenue streams? Network, pitch, and get creative. Take my career: Writer. I can write digital content, magazine features, social media content, social media strategy reports, biographies, marketing mailers in addition to books. Multiple revenue streams is definitely something to pursue when you are a freelancer.
5. You have to be a freelancer AND a small business owner
It’s great to make, create and provide a service but you also have to have a business head when it comes to being a freelancer. This means you have to be service/product provider and accounting/marketing/sales/customer service and admin. In tandem with your service/product creation, start an organization plan with schedules for filing, invoicing, expensing, networking and the like – this will set you up for success.
Whether you are a creative, side hustler, or entrepreneur – these 5 tips for freelancers can be beneficial. The self-employed sector is growing with a wealth of opportunity. I have never regretted growing with it. And I’m sure, neither will you!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of TurboTax. The opinions and text are all mine.