Are you ready to be your own boss, manage your own time, and never quite get on top of your monthly cash flow? Go freelance! Here’s our guide to a liberating new career path that will almost, just about, never quite work for you.
Set your rates competitively low.
Research what other people in your field charge for their time and expertise, and then charge a lot less than they do. This will make you a shoo-in for bargain shoppers, plus it’s embarrassing to ask for what you’re actually worth! Setting your rates low enough to undercut the competition will also leave you with less than you need to survive. Look at you working for yourself like a boss! Hooray for rice and beans!
Be open to negotiating your low rates even lower.
Business is all about negotiation, which is basically agreeing with whatever the more powerful person decides. If a prospective client wants you to lower your rates, who are you to argue? Do you think Sheryl Sandberg got where she is by having awkward, money-related disagreements with potential employers? No! So don’t ruin a good business over money-related fusses. This will guarantee that you’ll be able to kind of skate by for a few months as long as you also sometimes “borrow” money from your parents.
Do plenty of jobs on spec.
The world needs to see what you can do before anyone will risk throwing money your way, so be prepared to work for free for at least six years. Spec jobs are a great way to give away your ideas for nothing while also working a lot and very hard. You go, girl!
Fail to understand anything about taxes.
The great thing about the freelance lifestyle is that you can legitimately reduce your tax bill by offsetting your earnings against your business exp—say what? It’s all so complicated and feels like lying! Maybe you should just relish the moment, spend all your hard-earned money, and deal with “tax stuff” next April. Finally, you’re in charge!
Crush on your clients.
Falling for your clients is a great way to make a professional situation very uncomfortable, thereby preventing any repeat business. Burn each and every bridge by wrongly interpreting late-night emails as flirtation. You’re young, single, and freelance, so make sure everyone knows it! ‘Atta girl—you are living the dream!
Don’t hassle people about paying your invoices on time.
As in love, so in work: Appearing too keen is off-putting, so once you’ve submitted your invoice, give their payroll people a break! And if you really must chase down a payment, don’t be too pushy—it will make you look desperate (which, after four months without any money coming in, you will be—but that’s not their fault!).
The freelance lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and chances are it isn’t for you. Enjoy it while you can still afford to be alive!