The idea of freelancing is a scary thought to some but an unavoidable reality for others. And in today's tough job market, it can be a great option for making ends meet while searching for full-time employment or transitioning into <a title="self-employment" href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/2010/11/12/four-tips-on-how-you-can-become-a-consultant/"><strong>self-employment</strong></a>. Cameron Moore, a graphic designer and Web developer, knows about that firsthand. When finding corporate work became difficult, he used his talents with HTML coding and graphic design to build up his own brand for what became a successful two years of steady full-time freelance work. Moore eventually landed a 9-to-5 as a front-end Web developer, but still managed to start <a title="Random Order NYC" href="http://www.randomordernyc.com/" target="_blank"><strong>Random Order NYC</strong></a>, a design firm founded with friends that now boasts a client list including Latina Magazine, AMC TV and BlackPlanet. Here, he shares how to get started freelancing and how to maintain one’s livelihood. <em>—Starrene Rhett</em>
<strong>Get organized.</strong> Freelancers have to do everything themselves as a brand, project manager or sole proprietor. Set business hours, set your rates, stay on top of your <a title="taxes" href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/2010/10/08/six-ways-your-taxes-could-increase-in-2011/"><strong>taxes</strong></a> and take care of all of your <a title="taxes" href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/2010/08/23/home-base-a-401k-option-for-the-self-employed/"><strong>paperwork</strong></a>. Also, it might be a good idea to have a Website to showcase your work and conveniently reference your brand.
<strong>Network, network, network.</strong> Much of freelancing is convincing clients to pay for your services and trying to prove that you’re worth the money. You have to <a title="self-employment" href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/2011/02/23/women-of-power-debra-langford-on-successful-networking-strategies/"><strong>get out there</strong></a> and talk to people, and once you land that client and do a good job, they'll refer you. Your laziness is tied to how much work you get, so you have to be proactive in getting work.
Saving more is something people say they want to do, but that's not specific enough, says BlackEnterprise.com contributor Patrice C. Washington.
<strong>Get paid up front. </strong>This sometimes depends on the nature of your freelancing, but it’s good to either get full or at least part of your fees up front. You can weed out serious inquiries on work that way and avoid wasting time and money in your freelancing efforts.
Hand Holding Money
<strong>Have fun in what you do. </strong>If you don’t like what you’re doing, it makes no sense to do it at all, Moore says. Make sure that what you’re doing is worth it and that you're passionate about it when deciding to freelance. Be sure to know and always remember why you're getting into freelancing and have your own measure of success.