There may come a time in life when you no longer want to work under the leadership of a boss. It may be because you can no longer stand being bossed around or you just have your own leadership spirit that you want to put to good use.
Things take another turn when you are a couple wanting to do this. As difficult as it may be to start off as a freelancer alone, things get much easier if you share these responsibilities as a couple. So once you both quit your job, here’s how to make the proper switch and be successful as freelancers.
- Set a budget based on your needs
How much did both of you need to survive when you were a corporate field? Think about housing, car payments, food, insurance, and everything you might have to spend money on. If you are an adventurous couple and enjoy outings where you cut away from the city, you will be able to get on with a small budget. Nature doesn’t ask you for money anyway.
If on the other hand, you are the kind of couple that likes to go on dates in fancy restaurants or buy Blu-Ray videos to watch indoors, then you might want to bump the budget just a bit.
- Save some money
You can’t just wake up and say “I’m quitting my job!” when you are completely broke. You need to save some money first, just in case. For instance, let’s say that you have your budget and calculate how much you’ll earn if a client does this and that for your new freelance business; you don’t just go stark naked into the business, based on trust.
What if your dream client won’t start when you expect them to? What if you still have some bills to pay? Instead of going in there like a full warrior, try to put some money aside for your taxes and maybe put 20% to cash flow insurance as well.
- Make a battle plan
So you have some money set aside and you know how much you two want to earn; but how are you going to do that? How are you going to attract your customers? You can’t expect them to magically appear out of thin air.
If you already have experience with being a manager, coming up with a plan of action shouldn’t be too difficult for you – since you’ll be already familiar with the process.
After that, you may want to think about how you are going to advertise your business. Seek some advice from friends or acquaintances that already took this step, and asked them how they went about it. Ask them what they needed during the first few weeks after they started out.
You might want to network as much as you can, both in social media and in person. Getting your new brand known is crucial if you want to be a freelancer. If you decide to start a freelancing business together, you may split this task in half – since both of you will be working on advertising and building the client base.
- Get a few clients before starting
Before you two decide to go into the freelancing wonderland, try getting your hands on a few customers first. Nothing’s worse than quitting your job and having no source of income when you are on your own. Start fishing for customers everywhere; go to business events, or talk to people who might be interested in what you are offering. Attract them and don’t let them go.
Make sure to also sign some contracts before setting out on your own. It’s very easy for a customer to change their mind or drag something if there isn’t any legal binding in there. Make them feel valued and don’t allow them to think that “I will get a better deal somewhere else.”
- Don’t charge based on what you earned before
If your past job paid you for $50 an hour, don’t use the same logic to charge your customers. Corporatists don’t get all the brute money for a job anyway. Some of them are actually countless taxes. Plus, as a freelancer, you need to keep in mind that you’ll have to pay additional fees such as job ads, salaries, fees, insurance, sick days, and vacations – even the time lounging on Reddit for ideas.
If you go for very low rates, you’ll go bankrupt sooner than you expected. As much as our clients may hate it, a higher rate is necessary in order to keep on to your success. Don’t sell yourself short; charge just how much you need and are actually worth.
- Don’t burn your bridges
Now you both may want to say “why would we still have to work with other people if we are on our own?” As much as you may want to go out in a blast and yell at everyone that your life will be so beautiful without them, you may want to think that over; you have no idea when you might need these people again. What if somewhere in the future, they will connect you to the best client you could ever hope for?
Plus, you may need a mentor. Even though you may not be working with your boss anymore, he or she might be able to mentor you in getting started on your own. You might receive advice that will truly help you out on your new path – so don’t just set those bridges on fire.
Becoming a freelancer is not going to be easy, regardless if you do it alone or as a couple. The advantage of doing it as a couple is that you may cut your taxes in half and you’ll have twice the manpower to be on your own – with your significant other.
Also, keep in mind that becoming a freelancer may also mean twice the stress. Whereas before you would get your salary and would be like “hasta la vista, everyone,” as a freelancer you will probably have to spend day and night calculating your finances and talking up customers. Your boss’s job will now be your job.