How to become a freelancer in NZ - A recap for newbies 16.08.2017 : 10:41am
So you’ve heard about the perks of freelancing and want to become a freelancer yourself? Great idea! All that flexibility and choice can seem a little daunting at first, so we’ve prepared a little recap of all the helpful info we’ve got to get you started in the freelance world.
Prepare for some hard work
The freelancing life takes some commitment but if you’re willing to put in the hard yards, you’ll eventually get a nice little system going - which is so, so worth it. Going freelance means all the things your employer used to worry about like expenses, tax and finding clients are now your responsibility. It can take time to build up a robust network that sends work flying your way but it’s completely possible - you just have to commit to a bit of learning.
Get your financials sorted
Tax and payments aren’t as exciting as the actual freelance work but they are necessary and getting them set up right will be a big help in the long run. Make the IRD website your bible as it has all the information you need in regards to tax, GST and working as a self-employed freelancer.
You’ll need to get yourself set up for tax which we look at here, as well as sorting out your invoicing, which we’ve handily already covered for you. A good accountant will also be a big help to you, so talk to one if you can.
Dip your toes in freelancing on the side
A good way to ease into freelancing is to start doing some freelance work around your 9-5 - you’ll find out if you like working freelance and there’s little risk to you. This is a common pathway taken by many full-time freelancers.
Leverage your networks to see if there is any freelance work out there for you by asking around and telling everyone you know that you’re going freelance - you never know where some freelance work will come from. Attending freelancing meetups (there are quite a few on Meetup.com) is also a good idea; you might find some work and you’ll definitely get some inspo from freelancing pros. And of course, you can always sign up to Yudoozy, with a well-crafted and thought out profile you’ll be on your way to becoming a freelancing pro in no time.
Create an online presence
Start a blog, design a portfolio, sign up to Behance or Dribbble, get your Linkedin looking top notch - anything that will get your name out there online is something that you want to be doing. As a freelancer, you need to be proactive and seeking out work; by having an online presence it means people can discover you (without a lot of work on your part), view your work and see what you’re all about.
Any profile, blog or website you have should tell employers these three things:
Your work experience; employers are particularly interested in who you’ve worked for previously.
Work examples (preferably images) that show some of the best projects you’ve worked on; screenshots are great for this.
Specific skills you have; for instance you might be a content writer with specific experience writing B2B or a front end developer who specialises in Angular web platforms.
Sort out your time management
Keeping a record of the freelance hours you’ve worked is crucial, you can use time tracking software to record your time for you, while you carry out your all important projects. A few of our favs are Toggl and Harvest . Harvest allows you to create invoices based on your time recorded inside the app too. Having your hours calculated will assist you in creating consistency with invoicing, determining your future hourly rates and managing your various projects. As someone who is just starting out, knowing the exact hours you work will also help you determine if freelancing full time will work for you.
A big thing for all freelancers is managing your projects successfully. Software like Asana or Trello can be very useful for this, both of these platforms allow you to book in time to work on specific projects in a calendar format and visually track the priority of tasks, inviting team members in to collaborate as required. Remember, as a freelancer there’s no one to motivate you but yourself so you have to find a system that works for you, to get all your work done and still leave time for all those freelancing perks like waking up late, breaking up your day with a run, coffee dates and spending more time with your loved ones.
There’s never going to be a “perfect” time to go freelance, so our advice is to just start! Once you’re ready to start some freelance work, you can always check out Yudoozy - we’d love to have you!