(BPT) - From millennials who have been grinding away in the workplace for a few years to Gen Xers looking to move out of their cube, many have been intrigued by the possibility of freelancing.
It means the freedom to set your own hours, to work closely with clients, to be your own boss and have greater control over your career.
According to Forbes, there are 53 million freelancers in America today, and by 2020, it's estimated that half of the workforce will be doing freelance work, whether full time, as a part-time gig or as their side hustle.
Unlike a traditional job, where you generally don't need to bring more than a packed lunch to work, freelancing requires a few essential tricks and tools to succeed. Whether you're looking to start out or refresh your personal brand, homeworking experts cite five important tips to help you succeed at the freelance game.
1. Manage your time.One of the best parts, and the most challenging parts, of freelancing is that you get to make your own schedule. Many find that they need some sort of structure in their day, and for this reason it's important to have the right time management software. This will notify you of calls, deadlines, track how long you work on a project and more.
2. Get the right laptop. A laptop is your office, your meeting room, your library, your entertainment source and so much more, making it one of the most essential freelancing tools. It's the lifeline between your business and your clients, so it's critical to be sure you have the right one. A great option is the remarkably thin and light LG gram. This computing powerhouse comes in 13-, 14- and 15-inch screen options and packs a battery that lasts over 16 hours. Each model weighs about two pounds and for small businesses looking for extra connectivity, LG's commercial-grade model comes equipped with the Windows 10 Pro operating system. It's fast, mobile and able to keep up with the daily demands and surprises of the freelancing life.
3. Use professional email and social media accounts. For all work-related correspondence and interactions, be sure to use a dedicated email account. This will make you appear more professional to prospective clients. You should also set up work-related social media accounts where you can post examples of work and professional insights and network.
4. Keep track of finances. For a lot of freelancers who are on the creative side of things, keeping track of finances can be a real challenge. Not only do you have to manage invoices, expenses and make sure you're getting paid, you also have to keep taxes in mind. That can be a lot of numbers to juggle. The right accounting software can greatly simplify this process and save you innumerable headaches.
5. Find the right space. While freelancing is largely a digital game, and requires the right laptop loaded up with the tools you need to manage your business, you still need to find the right place to work. Some work in a coffee shop and others require a dedicated home office. You might work best in a shared office space. The point is, it's vital to figure out where you do your best work.
The right software, running on the right computer, and a place you can work are the cornerstones of a successful freelance gig. From there, all that's needed is your talent and determination!