Useful, Timely Business Tips from Experts

freelance business tips
Scale your businesses from expert peers in your industry. Photo courtesy of Lance

Freelancers, we’ve got you covered when it comes to your business questions! Ever been midstream in an editing session and wondered when’s the next sale on that equipment you desperately want? Or been walking your midday pack of dogs and wondered when you should raise your rates this year… oh wait, did you forget to raise them last year? Or wondered if there was a good time to run a promotion on the new hair coloring skills you’ve perfected over the last couple months?

We’ve got you! After years of freelancing ourselves, we were constantly asking ourselves these kinds of financial questions but felt like, huh, where do we get the answers? And who do we trust? And then we started asking around and seeing our friends were struggling to get all sorts of advice. We could only get it at conferences or a couple times of year from people the people we admire.

So, we thought what a great opportunity to bring people who have been there, done that, and succeeded into the Lance app! Now as soon as you sign in you can get tips customized to the jobs you’ve told us you do – and you get new tips every week! They’re specific to making and saving money in you job at that time of year.

How can you make the most of these tips? 

  • Just click on Tips in the More Menu of the iPhone app to see all the tips automatically customized for you.
  • Slide through the tips to see which ones you’d like to follow.
  • Click on the Thumbs Up or Heart images to let your experts know you’ve liked their tip.
  • If you want to start a conversation with one of your experts, just click on the Talk bubble and you can ask any questions you might have. They’re looking forward to helping you learn more and grow.

We’re thrilled to help you get all kinds of advice you need – when you need it – to save and make more money. Between the expenses tracking and these new tips, we look forward to helping you grow your income streams and savings!

P.S. While we have friends all over the place, we know there are freelancing experts you’re really excited to connect with more. We’d love to hear more about who those people are – just drop us a note at the Contact Us link on this site or through the app. We’re sure they’ll be flattered to know you want to hear more from them!

7 Steps To Starting a Side Hustle DONE

side hustle ready tips
Ready to start a side hustle? Photo courtesy of Andrew Neel

Okay, you’ve decided to create a side hustle. Great! Like many freelancers and side hustlers before you, you’re now probably asking yourself what’s next and how do I get started?

You might be thinking, “How should I go about marketing my product or service to the world? How will anyone see my product or service? Wait, I also have to manage my invoices too? This is going to be a real problem as I have no clue what I’m doing – and I thought I’d just spend a couple hours a week on this. I’ve never done anything like this before and I don’t know if I’m capable. I still have a full-time job I have to worry about along with all my other responsibilities.”

Breathe. Don’t spin out. Everything will be okay and you’ll be a side hustle superstar soon enough. With the use of all the latest online platforms, your world will become easier before you know it. All those questions will quickly become answered, and those worries will quickly float away with just a little setup work. You’ll be able to allow automation and online platforms to work for you in ways that can easily turn your side hustle into full-time demand, if you want.

We’ll talk about registering your business starting tomorrow. In the meantime, let’s start with setting up a space where you can start selling your product or service side hustle. By the way, just to make sure we’re all on the same page – when we talk about a product, we’re talking about a tangible thing you’re selling whether it’s homemade jams, potted plants or abstract paintings. Everything else that you spend time doing and is likely billed given the hours spent is a service, like providing photography, catering or hair styling services. Cool? Ok, let’s dive into how to get set-up on an online platform.

Selling Using Online Platforms

You should start your side hustle with a presence where people can actually buy from you. If you’re selling a service, the online platforms at your disposal will likely allow you to provide a menu of service options and help you with scheduling, invoicing and payment tracking as well. These used to be things you had to manage all on your own but now they’re all automated! Same goes for products, though instead of a menu of services, you’ll likely enter images and descriptions of the specific items you’re selling and the platform will manage gathering your buyer’s information and any specific requests. They might even have mailing support. Given these differences, you’ll likely come across and use a platform built to accommodate your specific side hustle needs. There are a number of websites to choose from, so here are just two suggestions to get you started. If they don’t fit what you’re going to be doing, just Google your side hustle type (i.e. dog walking) and “platform”.

For Products:

If you haven’t used it as a seller, you may already have used Etsy to buy pillow cases, stationery, prints or potted plants. People use this platform to see just about anything. As a seller, it’s just as easy to register with and use. Just go to Etsy, where you’ll be able to register an account to begin the process of getting your products posted and sold. The process looks like this:

  1. Create your shop’s preference (i.e., language, country, currency)
  2. Name your shop
  3. Stock your shop – This is where you’ll be able to add all of your different products, price them, create delivery times for each, and more.
  4. Select your payments preference – Decide which payment option works best for you (i.e. Paypal, personal bank account).
  5. Determine your billing methodology – This determines how you want to bill your customers.

And that’s it! After that it’s a matter of your creating and shipping your products on time. Etsy really is a great all-in-one place to help get your products-focused side hustle started.

For Services:

If you’re looking to sell a service, like writing content, creating websites or bookkeeping, you might want to check out platforms like Fiverr and UpWork. Other sites out there are also more specific to in-person services, like Rover for dog walking or BeGlammed for beauty services. Signing up in any of these platforms is fairly similar to the Etsy process – there are just questions more specific to the services you’ll be providing and rather than products you can offer different types or durations of your services. With Fiverr as an example, you just go to their site and click on the option to become a seller. Next, simply follow these four steps:

  1. Enter your personal info (i.e., name, profile picture, location)
  2. Enter your professional info – Describe the services you’re able to offer your clients.
  3. Link any relevant bank accounts – Sync the payment options that work best for you (i.e. Paypal, personal bank account).
  4. Create account security passwords – Make sure your bank account and Fiverr account remain secure.

That’s it! If you budget out a few hours over the weekend or after work one day, you should be able to take all these steps and provide really great descriptions of all the products or services you’re offering. The few hours of time spent are well worth the effort – especially if you do just a little research into what the top sellers are doing around you on the platforms. With just a bit of effort, everything else will be automated for you and you’ll be selling whatever you can dream up in no time!

Marketing Your Side Hustle Using Social Media

Marketing, marketing, marketing! Once you’ve set up your virtual storefront, it’s time to look at how you get yourself out there beyond a couple emails or posts amongst friends and family. Using social media platforms to market yourself and your products or services can go a long way in gaining clients and publicly showing how what you’re doing is unique. Using social media effectively does require a little bit of a learning curve, but it provides such an opportunity for you to learn what your clients want and to educate your target market about why they should choose what you’re selling.

There are numerous websites and social media platforms you can use to be the most market friendly to your customers. In choosing which websites and social media platforms to use, it’s most important to think about your product or service, and where your clients are likely to be spending their time.

Is what you’re selling visually appealing? If so, then creating an Instagram account could be the perfect fit. If you feel the best way to depict your product or service is by using words, then Twitter or LinkedIn could be more appropriate. If your potential clients are scattered, create one social media account first where you’re most comfortable, and then expand across more.

As part of setting up your social media handles, make it easy for your customers to buy from you. With Twitter and Instagram, all you have to do is your website or platform profile page in your bio. Make sure to talk about where people can find you and your wares in your posts too (i.e., “Link in bio” should be at the end of most of your posts.

Remember, it really comes down to two simple steps:

  1. Choose a social media platform you think your clients are already on – and that shows off your products or services well.
  2. Make your product easily accessible from your social media handle and reference it often in the comments or posts.

Now, You’re Ready to Sell!

By choosing the right combination of sales platforms and social media sites, you’ll be able to start and make the most of your side hustle quickly. What may have seemed complicated at first, I hope is much clearer now. While you do have to put a little work into the setup – not just what you’re selling, it’ll all be worth the automation you’ll be taking advantage of very soon. Next, we’ll post about how to start a side hustle when you already have a strong network in place.

Here to keep you moving – Team Lance

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7 Best Business Podcasts for Solopreneurs DONE

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You’ll want to take notes while listening to these business podcasts. Photo courtesy of Juja Han

As a solopreneur, you’re busy and jamming at making your business and side hustling run smoothly. But you know the value of a little focused direction and inspiration in making more happen, right? Podcasts have really started to break out over the last couple years as a way to learn more while we’re at the gym or running around. They’ve certainly become a background playlist to my everyday. Through all that listening time, I’ve been listening to more business news and insights. I generally walk away from each half hour show with at least one insight I can immediately apply to my work.

So here are some of my favorite business-related podcasts below. I’ve curated them over the past few years to be my companions while I travel, run, fly and drive around the globe. Hope they keep you company and inspire you with some sparks of new insights or trends you should be paying attention to as well!

How I Built This

Guy Raz, the host of this podcast, is just the personification of curiosity. He really dives into the lives and habits of his interviewees. And you get the benefit of hearing all about their trials and tribulations of developing their products and companies. More recently, really enjoyed the episode with Alexa von Tobel and live episode with Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman. Great content about pushing through and also co-founder relationships.

Slate Money

This podcast makes economics, market trends and finance approachable. Not every episode will be relevant to immediate business impacts but listening to the three hosts will definitely make you curious about broader market trends and make you think about what to be pay attention to on a regular basis. Also, it’s still refreshing to hear a female voice in podcasts. Cathy O’Neil was a fantastic co-host when she was on, and Anna Szymanski is just as impassioned and ready to dive in with her perspective.

Exchanges at Goldman Sachs

Tbh, I downloaded this on a whim while I was taking MBA classes. I thought it might be a good (boring) supplement to my Barron’s subscription. But it’s been great! A weekly overview of macroeconomic trends, global trade, etc. I know that sounds a little “how could anyone get excited to hear about this stuff” but it’s delivered in a super digestible way and again, brings you up to a 30,000 foot view of what to think about in the world around you.

BBC Business Daily

I listen to about half of these episodes, along with a few other BBC programs. If you’re based in the US, it’s critical to be more mindful of sourcing global news and content. This program along with From Our Own Correspondents and Desert Island Discs is really a great daily habit.

Hidden Brain

Shankar Vedantam. You will get to know that name. While you’re focused on your business, it’s always great to infuse your thinking with how the human brain actually works. Listening to Shankar talk about the patterns and psychology that directs our decision-making and actions will inevitably turn you into a stronger business person. The “Me, Myself and IKEA” episode from last May is a great one to start with in this show.

99% Invisible

Roman Mars has been in the podcast game about as long as anyone. For most of us listeners, he was the person who originally drew us into podcasts. I first heard him speak at a Fast Company Innovation Summit, and I’ve been listening to his take on the world ever since. Much like Hidden Brain, I listen to this podcast because it focuses more on very human stories and explores why we do the things we do. And Roman Mars is a fantastic storyteller – take notes.

The Tim Ferriss Show & The Tony Robbins Podcast

As much as I didn’t want to like these podcasts, I can’t help it. They’re a solid injection of inspiration whenever you need it. Yes, Tony tells the same stories over and over again (so you will be able to repeat them to others). And Tim has a penchant, like Alec Baldwin (in Here’s the Thing, another favorite), to share over his interviewees. But both of them do several things very well: score incredible interviewees, self-promote like crazy, and share some very practical insights. So here’s my suggestion: Listen to them ahead of pitching clients, when you’re developing sales materials, or ahead of stepping into your office space. Draw inspiration from their interviewees. Remember to think about and deliver your story to your clients. And keep up the hustle, it will pay off over time!

Hope you enjoy listening to these podcasts. I’ll be sharing some more entertaining ones from comedians and others I listen to when I’m really wanting to zone out – usually on a long run – next week.

In the meantime, would love to hear which ones you find most interesting and useful. Have you found any that are totally relevant to your specific business? Or that talk about managing finances in a compelling way? I haven’t yet but am always on the hunt. Continuously adding to my playlist – and wishing I had more time to dive into these!

Hope to one day start our Lance for Freelancers podcast.

In the meanwhile would love if you’ll download the Lance ios app.

5 Podcasts That Will Help Craft Your Brand Narrative DONE

freelance story narrative podcast
Listen to these podcasts whenever you’re feeling the itch to rework how you describe your business or between big projects! Photo courtesy of Neil Godding

Last week, I wrote about the business podcasts that keep solopreneurs like me motivated and learning about finance and business markets. This week I thought it’d be fun to highlight the podcasts I listen to on runs to unwind and think about storytelling. This skill of developing a narrative is so fundamental today to promoting and running a successful business.

Take a moment to think about any company that inspires you today. Two things will likely come to mind almost immediately – 1) a person within the company you know and admire and 2) a great story, whether about its origination or something that happened recently. Are you with me? Thinking about Southwest Airlines? Virgin? Toms? Patagonia? Chipotle? These can also be stories of overcoming great failure or challenges. As we look at the typical storytelling paradigm of a hero’s journey, these are often the stories that we remember the most strongly.

And these podcasts are great reminders of how to spin up and relay great story up through with from a bit of curiosity and often facilitating great interviews. Listen and take notes. You’ll want to review them later when you’re thinking about your business.

Reply All

This is a podcast led by two guys, PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, about all things relating to the internet. They solve techie challenges – like cyber security hacks – and untangle obscure culturally relevant tweets and Reddit posts on a weekly basis. Not only will they keep you up on relevant cultural news, they’ll draw you into the most unique corners of the internet with their genuine curiosity, contagious laughter, and entertaining character interviews. Start with the episode about the Uber hack. It’s a series but well worth it.

2 Dope Queens

These ladies have an incredible resume from across the entertainment space. Both are comedians and actresses, Phoebe Robinson frequently writes and consulted for shows and popular culture outlets while Jessica Williams was a senior correspondent on The Daily Show. If you can catch a live show, do it. The ladies start and end every show with their own sass and random stories. That conversation is then infused with comedians and actors sharing their own stand-up routines and stories. In addition to the incredible perspective of Phoebe and Jessica, they’ve created an incredible space for a broad range of major players, minorities and up-and-comers to feel welcome and relevant speaking about race, gender, sex and the topics of today. Listen to any of these episodes to listen and think about the unique voice you have as well.

Death Sex & Money

Anna Sale is just fantastic. She has one of the empathetic interviewing voices ever.  The summary of the podcast is that it’s about “about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation.” It’s that and so much more. She coaches her subjects through talking about the most vulnerable subjects and drawing you into their stories deeper than you thought possible. If you’re listening to this podcast, I hope you have Kleenex nearby or don’t mind squishing up your face with concern every-so-often.

From Our Own Correspondent

Pitched as “insight, wit and analysis from BBC correspondents, journalists and writers from around the world.” This podcast provides bite-sized tastes of what correspondents are experiencing in their lives all over the world – whether in the midst of a war in Afghanistan or trying to understand poverty in Malaysia. Within 30 minutes, you’re regularly whisked around the world with the stories and experiences behind the news we read.

Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin

His voice and his own special way of interjecting. Alec interviews “artists, policy makers and performers” in only the way he can and it makes for a regular feast. A favorite of mine remains the interview with Elaine Stritch from 2015 because of the candor and delivery that only someone in the latter part of their lives can deliver. Each interview provides a wonderful insight into the life of Alec’s subject and will make you think about the balance of your own life in terms of luck and intention. Alec has a very different style but he’s another voice forcing you to think about what it makes it so damn compelling.

Again, hope you enjoy these podcast suggestions. Next week we’ll move onto other freelancer tools and tricks of the trade by the Lance team. Until then, happy listening and I dare you not to take notes on what from these episodes you should take away to apply to your own business narrative and expression. As always, look forward to hearing about your favorite shows as well.

Why Facebook Groups Are Freelancer Heaven DONE

freelance Facebook group community
Facebook Groups can be a welcome support network for freelancers. Photo courtesy of Shridhar Gupta

Facebook has definitely been in the headlines lately, but it still carries a huge value. So, make sure you’ve reviewed your privacy settings, and let’s dive in, shall we?

Despite the growing tide of freelancers, this is still an emerging lifestyle we all need a little guidance in molding. It’s all part of crafting our #bestlife, amiright? As freelancers, we need more spaces to connect and combat the inevitable loneliness that comes with serving clients and not connecting with enough people who understand you. Communities and monthly events – like those from Rising Tide Society and the Freelancers Union – are great for in-person adult friending. But in the meantime, you need more regular support, encouragement and – let’s be honest – lifelines. It’s a daily grind and there are so many hats to wear as a freelancer – CEO, CTO, CFO, HR, admin, cheerleader, the list goes on – and that doesn’t even include the balance of your everyday life! So, here’s the rundown on how to make use of these special spaces where you can find people like you, promote yourself, and get any number of answers to your questions. All from your bed, coach, workspace. We don’t judge here.

Groups for Support

This is by far the biggest contingent of Facebook groups that are out there for freelancers. They are often started by people within client management platforms – like Upwork and Lyft, by podcast hosts with day jobs – like Jenna Kutcher and Michael O’Neal, or by freelancer coaches – like Jenny Beresand others that require you to pay for a course they’re offering. Regardless of who started them, consider it one of your missions to look for groups you can follow or join that were started by people or companies you admire. Birds of a feather flock together – and you can have some comfort and trust about the community given who started it and why it was developed.

Many of these groups will ask you for a little more information about yourself before allowing you into the fold. They’ll also often have a pinned note at the top of the discussion thread or About page to let you know how to best engage with the community and any no-nos. Many of them will have designated days or ways to promote your own business and what you’d like to learn from the community. I love seeing these posts and giving feedback whenever someone asks for logo thoughts or how they should go about pricing their services. In addition, you’ll see a lot of people posting about their current frustrations. I find these the most wonderful posts because they’re so real – and seeing everyone surround individuals with care and help is beyond heartwarming. What in incredible show of humanity to embrace each others’ vulnerabilities. Something we can all look forward to contributing to, right?

Groups for Getting Work or Leads

These groups typically have an element of support, but they’re really where people post to get or hire for jobs. These groups typically focus on more established professions like marketing, writing, videography, accounting, etc. If you’re just starting to dip your toes into one of these fields, don’t be shy. Joining one of these groups can be really helpful to learning how to develop and market yourself. Learning the terms and needs within a field is half the battle. And if you’re just starting out you might find you can easily chime in with newer platforms or software than others might.

These groups tend to be fairly well-monitored, but as with any job postings be sure to be clear. If you’re posting a job, make sure you clearly state some of the needs and parameters, like you need a videographer for a wedding in Washington state in June and the client’s budget for this is $3,000-5,000. Being clear about the needs will help you get more targeted responses. If you’re looking for a job, ask for that level of clarity and make sure you define the scope in advance. Make sure, in subsequent correspondence, that you treat this like any other job where you would ask for contract signing and a deposit or payment in advance. Vet whoever you might be hiring or working for, so there are no surprises down the road.

A Group for You

Finally, I highly recommend that if you have a developed or are developing service, to consider creating a Facebook group. If you’re on a platform like Fiverr or Rover, you may not need or want one today. But if you have your own website or are developing your brand, you’ll want to start one because it’s a great place to start developing a coaching platform. The top 40% of freelancers out there have been developing their careers for longer than 5 years. And the top 20% have been at it longer or built a incredibles business in a shorter period. This means if you’re in that top 40%, you have a ton to share with the up-and-comers in your field. Paying it forward with your hard-earned lessons can become a great income source that compliments your continued client work.

Look to your favorite people in your space to get some best practices. If there aren’t any – wow, what a great blank canvas for you to take over! Just look at stars in other spaces to get some ideas. Generally, you can create this space however you’d like but be sure to include blog posts (on Medium or your own site), updates on when you might be at a conference or open for some office hours, pro tips on how you run your business everyday, etc. All this advice is really invaluable as you’ve spent years collecting it – and you’re still evolving beyond whatever you’re sharing with this community. So, go for it! Create a group (you can always rename it later!) and start engaging with your friends, family and all sorts of freelancers looking for your suggestions and help.

A Word of Encouragement

My friends wouldn’t say I’m an introvert… but I have my days of sheer overwhelm. For those days, I especially love Facebook groups, where I can just sit back at my kitchen table and post help, thoughts, and engage without putting on makeup and driving out to an event for an undefined period of time. Just join a few groups today and see where this takes you. I’m sure you’ll gain at least a few new friends. Till then, I’ll see you on Facebook – and all the other usual online.

Oona from Lance

Should You Start a Side Hustle? DONE

Side hustle tips business
Are you ready to juggle and get ahead with a side hustle? Photo courtesy of Brad Neathery

Whether it’s through Instagram posts or conversations with friends, you’re probably hearing more people talking about working a side hustle. In addition to holding down full-time jobs, your friends might be spending their nights or weekends walking dogs, renting out their apartments or consulting for corporate clients. And they’re not alone.

Working a side hustle has become a way to both make some extra money – if your full-time job allows it – and test the waters with whether you’d like to turn a skill or passion into a new full-time job on your own.

Just like with freelancing, side hustles allow for more flexibility and freedom in how and when you work – as well as space to negotiate your rates with various clients. Over the last couple decades, there has been a significant and growing shift amongst people moving from working more traditional, 9-to-5 jobs to freelancing full-time for themselves. In fact, freelancers and side hustlers account for 57.3 million Americans today. In the next decade, freelancers will account for over half the workforce in this country and others around the globe.

Who Should Consider a Side Hustle

The type of people who pursue a side hustle do so for multiple reasons. Often they are motivated financially – to start making multiple incomes streams to save for a big purchase, secure more retirement savings or pay off debt. But just as often they’re now looking to further develop passions, expand upon budding skill sets and reinforce their hireability across multiple job types as well.

When pursuing financial reasons, people are now largely looking to diversify and add to their full-time income. They’re not alone – one in four people in the US already have a second source of income. Side hustles and the gig economy are not only for people of a certain income range. People making over $100,000 in annual incomes are using gig employment to quickly boost their retirement nest egg – and now able to do this much more flexibly thanks to online platforms, like EtsyLyft and Airbnb.

When passion-driven, people typically feel their full-time job isn’t aligned with their interests or not very purpose-driven. Side hustling allows for people to keep their full-time job along with its stability while allotting some time to these passions. These side hustles may include picking up writing, photography or house sitting for animals on a regular basis.

Increasingly, people are also looking for a way to further develop their personal growth. When surveyed, 40% of freelancers reported they got into side hustles and freelancing to keep learning and supporting themselves through new skills. These people often look to side hustling to also expand their network and reputation through these new or additional skills.

A demographic increasingly taking to side hustles is baby boomers. They’re often looking most immediately to increase their retirement savings, having experienced the impacts of the last recession and often still paying off their children’s student loans. Along with the financial benefits though, side hustles allow baby boomers to stay involved in their communities through this part-time work or develop skills they can take and charge for along their upcoming travels.

Why Side Hustles Are Beneficial

All the reasons side hustles are taken on as listed above are the reasons they’re beneficial. They can net immediate and long-term increased income. Side hustles allow for someone to keep a day job as well as pursue passions and interests without having to go “all-in”. These gigs can help grow social network and create a forcing function to learning new skills. These benefits are particularly invaluable to growing a resume and keeping it fresh. And by working in another environment or context, there are constantly new opportunities to learn, expand and get exposed to different people and ideas. This final point is significant to what is now being referenced as the future indicator of success: adaptability quotient. Defined as the ability to adapt and thrive in a fast-changing environment, this is quickly replacing long held respect for IQ and EQ.

When Side Hustles Can Pose Challenges

While there are many benefits that come along with side hustles, there are also disadvantages. Side hustling can leave one with very little down or free time. Once a side hustler is done with their full-time job, it’s off to the side hustle – creating an almost non-stop work life. If not monitored, a side hustle can also begin to intervene on a full-time job. Time management skills are critical to balancing a full-time job or pursuits along with a side hustle. It’s often best to wade into the side hustle waters slowly, so there’s the opportunity to increase or decrease the workload as needed around a principle income or family needs. Stress or feeling a sense of overwhelm around juggling jobs should be monitored and adjusted for accordingly.

What to Ask Yourself Before Diving Into a Side Hustle

Given the pros and cons  of taking on another job or set of clients, there are a few questions you should ask yourself before determining this is the right time to start a side hustle:

  • Do I have an idea or passion?
  • Do I have the time to learn? Whether it’s a new skill set, platform or networking medium?
  • Am I willing to fail a little bit along the way as I learn?
  • Do I want more freedom and flexibility in how and when I work?
  • Could I use some extra cash?

If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, you’re ready and capable of taking on a side hustle.

It’s going to take a lot of elbow grease but if you apply yourself and search out the right communities, you’ll start gaining more than just another income stream. Whether it’s those new skills, turning your side hustle into your main income or growing your AQ, you’ll be well on your way to joining the growing ranks of side hustlers and freelancers. Throughout this week, we’ll post more about how to setup your side hustle using all the online platforms available to manage your invoicing and even marketing yourself through various social media channels.

Oona from Lance

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4 Reasons We All Should Become Freelancers DONE

freelancing business growth
Freelancing is a juggling act – that’s well worth the hustle. Photo courtesy of @rawpixel on Unsplash

Freedom. That’s the top reason freelancers say they left their 9-to-5 and the key benefit they enjoy today. But why else should we all incorporate and set up shop as individuals? 30% of workers in the US and across Europe are already freelancing today.  We’re supposed to outnumber traditional workers in less than a ten years. Here are the top four reasons you’ll likely start freelancing in the coming years.

Keep Learning

About a third of all freelancers have taken an online class within the last week. That’s three times the number of traditional workers who have done the same. And within the last six months, it’s 60% of freelancers! The world and technology we all work with is changing rapidly. We all know we need to stay ahead of the evolving knowledge and tools of our trades. It can be daunting, but when you’re a freelancer you pursue this, because you know staying up-to-speed is critical.

Not only does all this learning provide for a healthier income, but there is such a strong connection across freelancers teaching each other how to be better and manage their businesses as well.  This benefit will only get magnified as more people become freelancers. Those who know unique skills will be able to share their insights about the industry. Those who understand how to market will be able to teach others about how to bring on more clients and income. And finally, those freelancers who know how to manage their finances, when to buy supplies, and how to supplement their incomes across freelance types (i.e., a photographer can also market online website templates via their blog and might drive for Lyft occasionally) will be able to coach their peers in money management.

Own Our Benefits (and Finances)

Let’s face it. Medical insurance premiums are getting more expensive for both employers and employees. You can now buy them directly – and write off a majority of them in your tax deductions. So, why be tied to what your employer deems beneficial? Retirement and 401(k) programs are also largely going unmatched these days. And with programs from Vanguard, Betterment, Wealthfront and Ellevest, we all have more control over our saving for and tracking the benefits of our own investing.

The benefits aren’t getting any better in full-time gigs, and they’ll start to get worse over the next few decades. Why? As more of us become freelancers, companies and governments will increasingly hire distributed workforces (and learn along the way the benefits of releasing their HR operations onto individuals). We’ll have to wear more hats individually but have more flexibility in platforms competing for our sign-ups and usage.

Decide Who We Work With

Ever gotten frustrated with work politics? Or struggled with a beyond challenging client for the good of a company’s balance sheet? Those clients and colleagues are not only a drag, but we know they’re also typically more work than they’re worth – costing extra hours and sometime even team members.

As an individual freelancer, you get to decide who you want to work with amongst clients and peers. There have been several instances over the years where I’ve decided not to work with someone because they didn’t seem like they were ready for a marketing consultant. I’ve also gotten to bring friends who are designers and branding specialists along to collaborate on projects.  Creating these networks of referring clients and peers has been so rewarding for my business, and a fun way to stay connected personally as well!

Work When We Want

Work better at 10pm than 10am? Or are you most productive when you’re on a 6-week project than a 6-month campaign? That’s no problem when you’re freelancing. And it’s also why we’re seeing a wealth of books and courses coming out, like Gretchen Rubin’s “The Four Tendencies” and Charles Duhigg’s “Smarter Faster Better“. We’re all working to understand how to manage ourselves better, because part of marketing yourself is sharing how you’ll work best together with your clients. And there are endless clients and all sorts of needs you can solve for across industries. You can work on a marketing campaign early in the morning or drive for Lyft midnight. You can do your photography over the weekends and run errands and your blog during the week. As a freelancer, you get to determine your on and off hours. Of course, you have to account for when your clients might need you. But there is so much more flexibility when you can work from home or a space you determine.

Tax Write-Offs

Financial stability is definitely a fear that keeps a lot of people from freelancing. But here’s the big secret: there is so much you get to write-off when you’re working for yourself. You get to write-off your workplace (which can be a part of your home and utilities), part of your health insurance, your supplies, your marketing costs (in the form of meals and client gifts), driving costs, and more. Everyone underestimates the impact of these deductions until they get to see them in action. If you’re worried about this, go to an accountant or bookkeeper to walk you through your possible deductions. If you don’t have one handy, I’m happy to connect you. In the meantime, if you’re considering the switch or are already freelancing and worried you’re not getting the most out of your deductions, download the Lance app to start tracking your business expenses.

Have I convinced you yet? Next week, I’ll write about how to incorporate yourself for the maximum benefits as you explore freelancing – or if you’ve been at it for a bit and need to button things up!

Oona from Lance