The American workforce has dramatically changed over the last 20 years. What was once a nation of primarily 9 to 5-ers, those employed at full-time jobs with dental insurance and company pensions, is now a pool of full and part-time workers, entrepreneurs, work-from-home parents, contractors, self-employed and individuals holding down two or more jobs.
In the current “gig economy” where a large percentage of the workforce is paid per “gig” rather than hourly or salary, an increasing number of freelancers has emerged. Approximately one in three working Americans now earn income from sources outside of full-time employment.
More and more women are breaking into the freelancing market, too, as allows them flexibility and independence not often found in traditional employment. For those aspiring female entrepreneurs, here are the steps to take and considerations to make in order to thrive in this economy and earn a living as a freelancer.
Decide On an Industry
Many industries rely on freelancers: publishing, graphic art, writing, software development, education, editing, administration, medical, beauty, information technology and research analysis, just to name a few.
A good number of people become freelancers because they are already involved or interested in a specific industry and have a skill that is in demand. For some, their freelance work evolves from the kind of work they would do for friends upon request, like content writing or software development for websites.
Woman looking to break into this form of self employment should evaluate current and past employment, identify specific skills they have to offer and investigate the demand and pay for freelance in that market.
Join a Multi-level Marketing Brand
For women looking to start up their own businesses but unsure of an industry or marketable skill to promote, a solid initial step would be to join a respected multi-level marketing brand. Companies like Amway offer extensive education and training for individuals starting off on the pathway to business ownership.
Amway’s education program not only prepares participants for how to be successful within Amway, but also for success in general business growth. Their curriculum includes essential training on how to communicate across cultures, read body language and to actively listen to clients — skills that are essential for entrepreneurs.
Moving from a traditional job to a freelance business means that many aspects of work that were once taken care of by the employer now fall onto the shoulders of the entrepreneur. Taxes are a good example. A woman running her own freelance business will not receive a W2 form come the beginning of the new year.
Without an employer filing taxes an their behalf freelancers must file taxes quarterly on the income earner per gig. Freelancers are able to deduct certain expenses related to their own business though, so hiring an accountant to assist in preparation of taxes, at least for the first year of business, can help in navigating the federal tax requirements.
When operating an independent business, freelancers are not offered health insurance that many workers with full-time jobs are. Health insurance becomes the responsibility of the freelancer, and especially for women freelancers with children, this can be a major obstacle. Luckily, the health care market provides a list of affordable health care for individuals who are in need.
Marketing oneself can be challenging, especially when your product is a specific skill. For many freelancers, marketing begins through word of mouth. After a freelancer has a few projects under her belt, can precisely explain what it is that she does what you do, and can concisely convey why she is better than her competition, she can then move into more aggressive means of marketing.
Designing an easy to understand and navigate website for your services is helpful in directing traffic to your business. Then progress to networking events, meet-ups and smaller events that target your specific market’s demographic to begin drawing awareness to your specialties and services. Get your name out there. In freelance, your brand is your name and your name is everything.
More than 53 percent of working women currently expanding into freelancing, and the idea of being your own boss is appealing to many more. If you are in the market to become a freelancer, follow these guidelines and suggestions to make the dream of many Americans a reality.
Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers of Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement. We ask that every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have written. In that way, and as a team, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiring you to Get All A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, we’re talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.
I have spent much time and effort accepting that you cannot make someone into who you think they should be. People, like discount furniture, must be accepted “as is.”
2. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrast, are there elements of who you are that you’re still working on appreciating?
I appreciate my sense of humor. Some days, it’s all I’ve got, and I find that funny.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.
The achievement I find most rewarding is being an aunt to two precocious children.
4. Of course, we all have imperfections, or so we think. In truth, we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? Likewise, what imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Imperfections and quirks … I bite my nails. I hate the word “syrup.” I watch wayyy too much TV.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to appreciate and express all the positive traits that make you…well…YOU! In fact, sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (We assure you!) Therefore, Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I Love My Dog.