I started working as a freelancing agent when I was still in college. I’m majoring in English with a focus on Writing and really want to get some slots before I graduate. Something other than “Lit Mag” to include in my resume, you know? I contacted a variety of different online publications (days before Buzzfeed, if you could believe those days existed!) And send some promotional moves. After a while, I began to get some things and my love for free work was born.
Freelancing has many advantages when it comes to careers. You can be creative. You can choose your own time. Basically, you can become your own boss. You are on your own terms. But there are also a few shortcomings to consider. You do not have health insurance through your company. There’s not always a guarantee of work. The writer’s deterrent can make you unable to afford food! If you can’t think of any tricks, sometimes you’re eating ramen for a week. It happens. It happened to me.
I even have a horror story that involves me being stupid and not saving any free money to pay taxes. Let’s just say, I owe the IRS a lot of money and not a penny in my name. All the money mistakes while working freely really shaped me as a saver and knew the budget as it is today. I had to go through these hard times to find some financial peace when I became a full-time freelancer.
Here are some quick tips when it comes to saving and working as a freelancer.
Make sure you’re saving with all your salary
This may be an “unseen benefit” tip, but believe me, I learned this the hard way. It saves not only 10% but also savings for the tax season. A lot of times, the salaries of free workers are not taxed and, therefore, you will have to pay that income tax later in the tax season. Trust me: Save, save, save! It’s better to have some cash saved from all your hard work than to be in debt because you’ve spent more than you actually can afford.
Don’t quit your day job until you feel secure
Sometimes free work is unsuccessful. The editor disappeared. Online publications are no longer able to pay their writers. Your appropriate column is no longer relevant to readers. It happens. This is why I recommend always working with a publishing house for at least 6 months before considering that income in your overall budget. I always considered a new free work to be “making extra money” for the first six months before making a daily budget. It happened. Everything fell. And as a freelancer, you always need to be prepared for that.
Get a “real job”
I know this is super limp and unhappy at all, but it’s true. A freelancer’s life is hard and sometimes even scary. If the work doesn’t come and the editors don’t email you back, you may have very little money left in your pocket. I’ve been in this exact situation a few times. When you dream of being a freelancer full-time and being able to live a comfortable life doing what you love… then you have to go get a “real job”? It can be a lot to laugh and endure, but sometimes, it is necessary. It is no shame to take some shifts at a café or work at a marketing company while still trying to work freely.
Free work comes and goes, which is why full-time employment can be scary for many people. Security is a great feeling that free work does not always bring. While aiming for a dream of working full-time, saving, waiting, and working “real work” can help you stay on track.