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How to Start Freelancing (Without Quitting Your Job)
Got a job that's totally boring but pays the bills? Hold onto it. But don't use it as an excuse NOT to go after your dream of being self-employed doing something you love.
A common misconception about successful independent workers is that one day, in dramatic fashion, they quit their dayjob, hung a shingle, and lived happily ever after. The truth is, most freelancers start off moonlighting, volunteering, interning, and doing client work at night and on weekends in addition to a nine-to-five gig. If you fantasize about living the freelancer life, you can do the same—even in a recession, starting now. Let's turn some of your free time into a new career without giving up the steady paycheck.
Freelancing in a Recession: Inroads and Safety Nets
Armies of employees have gotten laid off in the past year, and when you're one of the survivors still on payroll, the natural instinct is to feel grateful you were spared, hunker down, and not make a peep. The idea of looking for contract work when the unemployment rate is so high may seem ludicrous. However, there are contracts to be had. Freelancers cost companies less than full-time employees, and major waves of layoffs often create opportunities for contractors to fill in the gaps.
Doing freelance work in a time of job insecurity benefits you in two ways. First, it diversifies your income stream. When you freelance on the side, you don't depend on a single check to pay your bills. If you do get let go or have to take a salary cut or furlough, the side income softens the blow to your bank account. Secondly, freelancing for clients is the best way to show off what you can do to potential employers. When you freelance you're in constant "interview" mode, hoping to get re-hired or recommended to other clients. If you lose your job or decide to leave, you've essentially already interviewed for your next gig.
The point here is that even in a recession, freelancing is far from impossible—in fact, it's downright smart.
Put Yourself on the Market
The tough part about becoming a freelancer—especially for introverts—is putting your name out there and having to hustle to sell your services. In addition to whatever work you do, being a freelancer means you also have to be a salesperson.
How you should put yourself on the market and showcase your offerings depends on your field. If you have no idea where to start, find some great freelancers that do what you do, and follow their example. It's probably safe to say you'll need some kind of web site, business card, and a portfolio or CV. Don't skimp on this stuff: Instead of settling for a free hosting account somewhere, spend the $20 to register a domain name and put together at least a one-page web site describing who you are, what you offer, and contact information. (It's more important than ever to have a say in what Google says about you.) If you're a photographer, include a gallery of your best photos; a programmer, a list of projects you've contributed to; a project manager, a list of companies you've worked for. If showing off actual work you've completed isn't possible, gather together some testimonials from folks you've worked for that get across your best skills.
Don't do anything crazy like advertise your services in the newspaper or on Craigslist right away. The best way to find work is through people you know and referrals from happy clients.
How to Find Contracts—and When to Work Pro Bono
Once you're officially on the market, it's time to get some clients. Remember that old saying about who you know versus what you know? It's so true. In my experience, referrals from people you know—the most vague acquaintances, even—yield the best business opportunities. Let your friends, business associates, former co-workers, fellow book club members, and the guy sitting next to you at the barber shop know you're available to do freelance work. Don't be annoying, but don't be shy, either. People are much more likely to hire someone recommended by someone they trust, so it's up to you to work your network. When you do, remember that other freelancers are not your competition—they're your friends. Knowing other contractors who do the same or similar work just widens your pool of contacts and potential clients. Be generous and send referrals their way, and they'll return the favor.
When you've exhausted referrals from folks you know in person, you can try advertising your services more broadly, but use the right outlets. The key is to find your audience. A freelance web designer, for example, will find a different potential clientele on Haystack than on Craigslist. Figure out where your ideal clients look for contractors and get yourself listed there.
If you're just starting out and need to fill in your portfolio AND kickstart potential referrals, consider doing pro bono work for a non-profit or deeply-discounted work for a desirable client. I hate advising fellow freelancers to charge anything less than what they're worth, but the reality is that sometimes you have to give something away to prove yourself and earn opportunities down the road. (In fact, I was in the right place at the right time to start Lifehacker precisely because of a barely-paying internship.) You don't have to work for free on an ongoing basis to use this strategy: try speaking at a local event for free (and mention that you're for hire), or offer a free trial of your services for potential clients. But remember: Only give these freebies to good prospects.
Pricing Yourself: When Time Really Is Money
Even after seven years of freelancing part and full-time, answering the question "What's your rate?" is still a challenge for me. Your hourly rate will depend on the project, your industry, market, location, the economy, your experience, and how deep-pocketed your client is. Pricing conversations can be a scary game of chicken that takes pluck, confidence, and a strong sense of self-worth to navigate. As a general rule, when you're quoting an hourly rate, overestimate both time and money.
When you're just starting out, the tendency is to underprice yourself because you really want to score the contract and you're optimistic about the number of hours it'll take to complete. However, you'll forget to take into account things like taxes and time for administrative tasks. As you get more experience, you'll adjust your prices, learn how to read different types of clients and what their budget range will be, and have enough confidence to walk away from contracts that aren't worth taking. I'm much more likely to do interesting work for lower prices, but I'll only take on tedious stuff that's well-paid. When it's time to ask for the upper range, I use an unscientific method: I quote the highest rate I can while still keeping a straight face.
When it comes to scheduling, don't forget that you'll be doing this work at night and on weekends, and things almost always take longer than your initial gut estimate. So, overestimate the number of hours a job will take. It's always better to set expectations and deliver early than have to pull an all-nighter and barely break even.
The Financial Life of a 1099er
Sending out invoices and chasing down unpaid ones, filing quarterly estimated taxes, itemizing tax deductions, managing your own retirement fund, collecting 1099 forms—these are all necessary parts of a freelancer's financial life. Do yourself a favor and put a good system in place for making sure 1.) that you're getting paid for the work you do by invoicing promptly and following up and 2.) that you're putting aside money to pay estimated taxes on that money. Once you get that system down—and it should be easier with the cushion of a dayjob's steady paycheck—you'll be ready to face the "feast or famine" state that is a full-time freelancer's financial reality later on. I use a simple "Waiting for payment.txt" file and schedule calendar reminders to check that list once a month and pay my estimated taxes each quarter. Start slow, see how your side gigs affect your financial picture, and work from there.
With your dayjob in hand, you can start your freelance career with less pressure to make loads of money right away; you'll be able to get the word out, establish a client base, build a portfolio, and set your prices on your own time. Do you moonlight as a freelancer? What's your best piece of advice for those just starting out? Let us know in the comments. Gina Trapani, Lifehacker's founding editor, welcomes you to the ranks of the self-employed. Find her at Smarterware and on Twitter.
If you’re tired of being embarrassed by the old “An1mari99@yahoo.com” email address you have to enter when you log into your Apple account, some good news: you can finally change your Apple ID username, according to Apple’s updated support documents.
Previously, it was impossible to convert an Apple ID email address without creating a brand new account. Longtime Apple users invested in the company’s iOS, iTunes, or macOS ecosystem have probably been stuck with the same Apple ID, most likely a third-party email address, for quite some time. Whether you’d like to retire that embarrassing (or compromised) email address, declare email bankruptcy, or start over with an official Apple ID, complete with inbox, with, here’s how to ditch the old email address of yore and finally go all-in. Before You Change Your Apple ID
Don’t rush into changing your Apple ID without getting your ducks in a row. Apple suggests you log out of whatever devices you own. If you use Apple services on other non-Appl…
If you are like me, I spend most my free time at my desk and on the computer. When I leave my desk I get frustrated when I don't have access to files on my home computer. I found an article that goes into detail of how to turn your computer into a remote access media center. Being able to share files with others, stream music and video, access files as well as share them, is a life saver.
Do you ever wonder how can you map one exe file to another exe file ?? For example, if you try to open calc.exe then it will open cmd.exe automatically.
You can easily do it by executing a simple batch program and can read the inline comments in the code to understand the code.
Image Hijack Code
Rem For any doubts please visit www.secsavvy.com.
Rem Purpose: to remap a exe to another exe file.
Rem It is used for commenting in Program.
Rem Echo off means you dont want to display prompt like "C:".
Rem to insert blank line
Rem It displays the text on cmd.
Echo Image Hijack Program
Rem It will set the title of window.
Title Image Hijack v 1.0 by Ayush (www.secsavvy.com)
Echo 1. Remap a exe
Echo 2. Delete previous entries
Echo Enter your choice(1/2):
Rem This command it set the variable "exename" to the value entered by user.
Rem For more info type set /? in cmd
SET /P option=
Rem goto transfer the control …