Gig economy opportunities are everywhere these days. Many skills can be realistically translated to not only paying jobs but truly rewarding flexible sources of sustainable income. While not all gig economy jobs are home-based, many require little more than a laptop, an internet connection, and some hustle. For success, however, you’ll need to add some serious organization and time-management skills and make sure your home office setup is on point.
Traits of Successful Freelancers
Although there are many opportunities, freelance success can be elusive for some. This is because self-employment is not for everyone. Being your own boss means creating a structure for your day. Freelance flexibility is a benefit that can end up being a curse if you let disorganization take over.
Those who excel in the gig economy realize the importance of managing their day not only for organizing workflows but also to streamline administration and prospecting for new jobs. As a freelancer, you will have to be your own human resources and finance departments. No matter how much work you get, you need to treat your income appropriately. Employees can trust their employers to withhold taxes from their pay. As a freelancer, this requirement falls on your shoulders in the format of quarterly estimated taxes. Since your income will likely be sporadic, injecting financial conservatism into your life may be difficult.
Beyond paying your estimated taxes, there are other financial tips to help ensure freelance success. You should aim to set aside cash for slow months and health insurance or medical costs. With a solid budget, you can also fuel the future growth of your gig-based work, as you will teach yourself to avoid merely spending everything that you earn.
How Organization Can Power Sustained Work
When you are organized, you won't rush to complete your assignments and jobs. You can focus more of your time on pitching new work, which is crucial to future growth. Setting aside time for prospecting new clients, such as one hour a week, helps you stay focused on the future, even when your desk is full of work. The bottom line: don’t wait until work dries up to beat the streets for new clients. With organization and planning, you can ensure a steady funnel of work. Remember, as a freelancer, you only get paid when your “business” gets paid.
Setting Up for Gig Economy Success at Home
A home office is a crucial ingredient to a well-run freelance machine. Optimally, you will have a separate office space, such as a vacant spare room or study. This is key, as it is crucial to minimize distractions. Just popping open your laptop on the kitchen table may work sometimes, but this is an unsustainable and inefficient office setup. Think about all of the tools and supplies you need for your work and make sure that your office area is fully stocked.
A home office should be free of personal clutter. If you cannot keep an entirely physically separated room, consider designating a specific area as your office zone. This is important for several reasons. First, your personal life can spill over into your work area, which is distracting and counterproductive. Second, there may be small business tax benefits for keeping the area segregated from the rest of your life. If your kids are doing homework on your freelancing desk or your wife is using your laptop every night, then the IRS will likely disallow a home office deduction. Such a deduction is a substantial benefit that can make the difference between profitability and failure.
Beyond the organizational and tax benefits of a home office, your work quality can be improved through a calming serene office space. When decorating, think simple, but also make sure to fill your office space with pleasant views. If possible, locating a home office near a window can be an excellent way to connect yourself with the outdoors, even if you are stuck indoors working.
With organization and careful designation of home workspaces, freelance success is easy. Focus on setting schedules and managing your workflows and you’ll be able to reap the personal benefits of the gig economy.
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