Many think of freelancing as an up-and-down financial existence. And it definitely can be, especially when you’re first starting out. But it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993 and it took me a few years to learn this lesson.
Actually, I didn’t learn it at all. A business mentor I once had told the “secret” to earning a steady paycheck. It’s advice I never forgot. Following is what he advised.
Put Yourself on Payroll – Just as If You Had a Job
Before you start your freelance writing career, you should figure out exactly what you need to earn to make a go of it. Break this down into a weekly paycheck – one you set aside taxes from and deposit into your bank account.
Note: This doesn’t have to be a physical check. As a freelance writer these days, most of your earnings are going to come via PayPal. So, you’d just transfer your pay to your bank account.
I have several bank accounts, ie, one just for taxes, one for savings, one for retirement and one to pay household bills out of. All of these are hooked to my PayPal account, so all I have to do is transfer funds to them.
This makes things like filing taxes and bookkeeping pretty easy.
Right about now you may be thinking, “How will I pay myself regularly if my income is irregular?”
It’s simple – you have to plan for it.
How to Quit Your 9-to-5 to Freelance Full-Time & Keep Your Salary Consistent
When you first start your freelance writing career, you’ll probably have no clients. This means you’ll likely be living off savings, right? And if you don’t have savings, then you should:
(1) Figure out how much you need to earn each month to cover your monthly responsibilities;
(2) Set a target quit date, which will depend largely on the next step, which is to…
(3) Get three, six, eight months or a year savings in the bank.
How much is saved varies for each person as each person’s “money personality is different. Some of us feel just fine with a three month cushion in the bank; others may need eight months or more. Only you can decide what’s right for you.
All along you should be doing all the behind-the-scenes things you need to do to set up your freelance writing business (get a website, create writing samples, decide on your service offerings, your niche, etc.).
Also, you should also start marketing for clients while you’re still employed at your full-time job. This way, when you quit, you’ll not only have savings in the bank, but money coming in from some clients as well.
Quitting to freelance full-time doesn’t have to mean that your income is irregular. It can be as consistent as having a full-time job with a guaranteed paycheck – if you plan properly for it.