How to become a Freelancer
Freelancing is such a fun way to start a business but you get to avoid all the complexity of managing a large team. Your work will be flexible, you can earn a good salary, and most of all, you can control your own destiny without many of the headaches associated with running a small business. If you are considering taking the plunge into freelance work, then this is the place to start. Whether you’re a writer, designer, or programmer, understanding the legal requirements for freelancing will help ensure your business remains compliant and successful in the long run. Let’s look at what you’ll need to know before starting out as a freelancer in Australia.
Step 1: Decide on your business structure
Before becoming a freelancer, it’s important to decide on what type of business structure best suits your needs. The most common option is to register as a sole trader, which means you are responsible for all aspects of running the business yourself. Alternatively, if you want more protection from personal liability, you can set up an incorporated company or partnership instead. A company structure can also have tax benefits depending on how much you expect to earn. The more you make, the better the tax break will be as a company versus a sole trader. Finally, if you earn over $75,000, you’ll need to register for GST.
Step 2: Comply with your tax obligations
As a freelancer working in Australia, there are certain tax obligations that must be met on an ongoing basis. These include filing income tax returns; paying superannuation contributions; and keeping accurate records of all financial transactions related to your business. It’s important to understand these requirements so that you can remain compliant with the law and avoid fines or penalties down the line. Thriday is a great tool for freelancers as it takes care of all your banking, accounting and tax. Thriday combines everything you need into one product, eliminating time wasted on financial admin, and making sure you stay compliant. Take this tax quiz, to see how much time you can save with Thriday.
Step 3: Get professional liability insurance
No matter what kind of freelance work you do, it’s essential to have appropriate insurance coverage in place, especially if clients are visiting your home office or workshop space. This will help protect both parties should any accidents occur while they are onsite or should any property become damaged during their visit. Additionally, if intellectual property is involved in your line of work (for example, copyright works such as articles), make sure to secure this with suitable legal protection by way of registration or licensing before it goes public. You should also ensure you have a standard working agreement and a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) ready to go, as many clients will expect this at the commencement of your working relationship.
Step 4: Build up your skills and portfolio
Once you’ve set up your business and insurance, it’s time to get started with some basics. If you’re new to freelancing, there are a few things you’ll need to set up before you can start working. First, you’ll need to create a portfolio that showcases your work. You can do this by setting up a website or blog, or by creating an online portfolio using a platform like Behance. There are specialist portfolio sites for almost any type of profession, so find the best one for your skills. Once you have a portfolio, it’s time to start building up your skills and experience. If you don’t have much experience, start by taking on small projects or working for free in order to build up your portfolio. Once you have a few projects under your belt, you can start charging for your services.
Step 5: Join a freelancer platform
Another great way to find work as a freelancer is to join a freelancer platform such as Upwork, Freelancer, or Expert360. These platforms connect businesses with professional freelancers who can provide the services they need. When joining a freelancer platform, be sure to create a strong profile that showcases your skills and experience. You can bid for work, and if you do a good job, you’ll likely get good reviews that will lead to more clients over time.
Step 6: Network with other freelancers
In addition to joining a freelancer platform, another great way to find work is to network with other freelancers. Attend industry events, conferences, or connect with other freelancers online through social media or forums. When networking, be sure to let people know what services you offer and how they can get in touch with you if they need help with a project. As you continue working as a freelancer, keep your eyes open for opportunities to expand your business through your network.
Step 7: Stay organised
As a freelance worker, it’s important that you are organised and manage your time wisely in order to be successful. This means keeping track of deadlines and deliverables for each project, as well as maintaining clear communication with clients about expectations and timelines. It also means being efficient with your time so that you can take on more projects and make more money. Whilst people expect quality work, they also expect it to be delivered in a timely fashion and in line with what you have committed to.
Becoming a freelancer is an exciting time and if done correctly it can also be incredibly rewarding. By doing your homework ahead of time, such as deciding on your business structure wisely, understanding your tax obligations thoroughly, getting insured adequately, and protecting your intellectual property rights effectively, you’ll be well-equipped for success as a freelancer bin whatever profession you choose.