Financial commandments from the 'Freelancer's Bible'
Are you a freelancer or thinking of becoming one? We've got tips and tricks for getting work, getting by and budgeting on an independent contractor's salary.
Sara Horowitz, founder of the advocacy group the Freelancer's Union and author of the "The Freelancer's Bible," discusses some tips for freelancers about navigating the world of freelancing.
What advice does Horowitz have for getting and staying connected?
"The most successful freelancers are the ones who build a network and it really is about thinking about all your relationships. You are a 360 degree person so -- from friends and family, old colleagues, people you meet at professional associations -- just start to realize that this is your whole network for your whole self."
How can freelancers deal with the cashflow problem?
"What people do is they have worked out interesting and complicated relationships with other freelancers so when you've taken on a lot of work, you can outsource to someone else. And when you don't have any work coming in, you can go back to those friends who you've outsourced to in the past. Let me just say I think part of this also is that freelancers really are the new workforce, but a lot of the social legislation and other things just doesn't apply, like unemployment insurance," says Horowitz.
Traditionally people have thought about freelancing as a stepping stone to a full-time job. But that expectation is changing. Horowitz says for people looking to enter the freelancing world, it's important to develop strategies -- from having a long-term gig in place to building a network and being scrappy. Over time, Horowitz says freelancers have learned how to become efficient economic units because they don't always have cash coming in and are forced to face questions about what they really need to consume.
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How can freelancers cope with the anxiety of their lifestyle?
"One of the things that people who have been freelancing a while really learn is that it's not when you'll be unemployed, it's when during the year. There's just going to be this ebb and flow and so you just don't get as panicked about it. And you start to build up all these what if, what if, what if's. That's when you start to outsource. You need to be able to start segueing into all these different fields, but it requires planning," says Horowitz. "That doesn't help you with the anxiety right away, but it gives you a plan about what you're going to do and how you're going to expand."
If you're thinking about jumping into the freelancing world, Horowitz says the first thing you should do is recognize there are a bunch of different ways you can begin to freelance. She says you should look for a steady gig -- either a part-time gig or a big, reliable freelance job.