Freelancing is the world’s biggest marketplace when it comes to hire professionals for a job. Millions of people are doing it part-time and even better millions are doing it full time. However things are not black and white in this industry, there is lot of room for improvements and there is lot that should be defined more clearly. Freelance contract template is one of those things that freelancers and clients should use more often.
How to start working as a freelancer and how Freelance contract template can help you?
Although many experts suggest working as a freelancer part-time without quitting your full-time job but that is not always the case. Of course not quitting your job gives you confidence and works as a backup plan but at the same time it might lower your commitment to the freelancing work. On the other hand, working as a freelancer part-time could be beneficial if you are just “testing the waters”; however in either case, there are few things that you need to know in order to use freelance contract template and be a better freelancer.
- Do what you love
Isn’t it the whole point of becoming a freelancer? As freelancing is a vast industry with tons of different options, you can always find things that you want to do and want to get paid while doing them. Try to find your passion and make sure you stick to it; regardless of how much you love doing something, there will be times when you don’t feel the same way and don’t want to do it but it will pass. This is a normal behavior; just take a break and wait for the feeling to go away.
- Define your boundaries
If you are just starting doing freelancing work part-time then define your work boundaries. Some of us are required to be on call sometimes because of our jobs and that could conflict with your plans of freelancing. Even if you think you can manage both at the same time, it is highly recommended to define deadlines and boundaries; that’s where a freelance contract template could come in handy. Of course you don’t want your full-time job conflict with the freelancing and vice versa, so set the terms beforehand.
- Hold your ground
Freelancing could be hard at early stages because of the obvious reason. People will question your motives; why are you spending so much time on part-time freelancing when you can focus on the full-time job that pays the bills? And some people will ask the same question other way around. Make sure you know why you are doing this, make sure you know how to face and answer these questions and make sure you are prepared to justify your passion to people and even to yourself.
- Managing personal life
One of the best things about freelancing is that you can spend as much time as you want, doing things you love. But it also comes with a price; it could be really hard sometimes to manage your personal life with the freelancing work. A freelance contract template could define the terms of your professional responsibilities but it cannot possibly help you in your personal life.
Things a well defined freelance contract template should have
There are some obvious things that should be the part of freelance contract template and everyone knows these but there are things that are not very common but could be useful in the long haul. Let’s discuss things that must be in freelance contract.
Paying taxes as a freelancer could be tricky depending on where you live, where you work and how clients hire you. For example, if you are a temporary employee then you have to pay different taxes than working as an independent contractor and you’ll be working on different jobs with different statuses and titles. So, make sure everything regarding taxes is clearly defined in freelance contract template you are using.
- Establish an invoicing system
When people start doing freelancing, they want and they should focus on things they love and things they should be doing. No one wants to worry about the payments and invoices all the time and that’s why you must have a working invoicing system. Of course the freelance contract template can help you in this regard; define the frequency of invoicing so everything remains updated all the time.
- Payment system
Like invoicing, you must have an agreeable payment system as well. It must define the terms and conditions of each payment, as well as the milestones and different modules of the job. Make sure you also define the payment gateway in the freelance contract to avoid any kind of confusion.
- Productivity system
The productivity system must define the overall workload, goals, schedules, priorities of different modules and deadlines. In other words, it should define things you can do and what you can’t. The freelance contract must define your work boundaries so you can focus on things you are good at rather than struggling in other fields which are not relevant to your expertise.
Some tips and tricks for new freelancers
As we have established the fact freelance contract template is an essential part of the deal and this whole experience, there are some other things new freelancers need to know. Of course most of the things you’ll learn on the way but here is the guideline that may help you.
Relying on a single or a limited number of clients is a common mistake that many freelancers make. It means even if you have your hands full, try to find new long term clients because freelancing is a different marketplace where things are quite unpredictable. You cannot possibly plan upcoming months or even weeks here. A client is under no obligation to give you more work after the first job or project. It means you have to find new clients all the time.
As freelancing does not have physical boundaries, you may find people all over the globe looking for your skills and expertise. It means they might have different organizational culture and policies; even if you work on fixed price job, always have an hourly rate because some people like this payment system because of its benefits. If you have no idea regarding hourly rate then try to calculate it by analyzing your productivity and performance as well as the time spent.
There are tons of online websites and services that allow freelancers to generate invoices and bill their clients easily. Learn how these services work and which one suits you the best. Most of these services are compatible with PayPal so it shouldn’t be a problem. Some of these websites even have time tracking feature that may help you in hourly jobs.
Many experts suggest new freelancers to continue their full-time job because it gives you opportunity to meet new people and new potential clients that may come in handy in freelancing jobs. However it is not recommended to consider your day-to-day job a backup plan because it may harm your dedication and commitment to the freelancing gig.
One of the most common mistake new freelancers make is under pricing their skills and expertise; they might have a logical explanation behind it as they want to score the job without losing the opportunity but before you do anything, calculate the hours that particular job or project is going to take. Do not forget to include the taxes and time spent on communication and administration into the equation. Of course you’ll be making mistakes and as you get more jobs, projects and experience, you will adjust things accordingly.