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How To Earn More Money Freelancing (Even If You’re A Total Beginner)

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Since I began freelancing just over a year ago, I’ve had the opportunity to work with nearly a dozen high-growth startups and world-class experts. And I’ve never had to negotiate for the premium prices I charge for my content marketing services, which is why I’d like to share some tips with you on how to start freelancing and how to make money doing so, even if you’re a complete beginner.

Because I’ve done such an effective job of defining my value propositions, branding myself as an expert within my field, and getting my freelance writing content in front of new target audiences, I now have a 3–6 month waiting list for new freelance clients and freelance jobs.

However, that certainly didn’t happen overnight. My rapid success in the world of freelancing is the result of a LOT of strategic positioning, hours of hard work, and good timing.

If you’re ready to get serious about freelancing and multiplying your self-employed income, here are my top twelve tips for earning more during your first year doing freelance jobs.

1. Choose a Niche

If your goal is to start freelancing, you might feel ready to take ANY paid work on Fiverr or Upwork you can get your hands on. But as you get deeper into your freelancing career, you’ll need to start being more strategic about the types of work you do and the clients you take on.

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You might be thinking: How can getting picky about the freelance work I do help me make MORE money?

When you specialize in a skillset, you become an expert in a specific field, and experts can charge more for their specialized services (there are expert and pro categories on Upwork and Fiverr too).

In my opinion, the age-old debate of whether you should be a specialist or a generalist(opens in a new tab) when starting your freelance career isn’t even worth thinking twice about.

If you were a prospective client and you needed someone to fix your email marketing so people actually sign up, write ads that convince people to buy, or just update your outdated website, would you rather hire someone who’s a jack of all trades, or a person who’s a pro at doing one thing and doing it well? I’ll choose the specialist every time.

When it comes to my own experience, choosing to specialize as a content marketing consultant — as opposed to being a general digital marketer for hire — has been the single best decision I’ve made with my freelance business.

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Because I’ve built my reputation with clients as a talented content marketer over the past few years and frequently engage with content marketing content on various social media channels, I’ve been able to rise to the top of my niche in a relatively short period of time. Aside from my blog and existing client referrals, the next most consistent source of new clients has been from business owners seeking out specific expert help through both Google and social searches.

To expand this example to other fields, imagine you are just starting out as a web developer — you can get into a niche like migrating blogs to WordPress. That means when someone searches for “help with migrating a blog to WordPress,” they can find you. This works for graphic designers as well: you can do graphic design specifically for WordPress.

If you choose the right niche, deciding to specialize and putting some effort into branding yourself as an expert within your niche can really pay off for years to come.

2. Get Clear on Your Service Offerings

One major decision you need to make early on in your freelance career is what you do and what you don’t do.

The more specific you can be about what services you offer, the better. Not only will it help you brand yourself, it’ll allow you to control how prospective clients perceive you and give you the opportunity to continue building your portfolio in the direction you want to move in.

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If you want to focus on becoming a sought after, highly paid Ruby on Rails developer, you shouldn’t even consider contract offers for customizing WordPress themes or designing the user experience for an upcoming app.

While the short-term benefits of steady work are tempting (and sometimes necessary), taking on projects that aren’t getting you closer to your ultimate goal of becoming the best in your field, will only distract and delay you from making meaningful progress.

3. Define What Your Ideal Client Looks Like

Before you can go out and start looking for clients, you’ll need to develop a clear picture of who you’re going to work best with. Do you want to build websites for small business owners, make a name for yourself blogging as a professional blogger, work as a copywriter, pitch in on new feature development for high growth technology startups, or take on longer-term contracts with enterprise-sized companies? Or maybe you want to work specifically for brands and clients with values that align with yours, etc.

Making these clear distinctions between who and what type of business you’re targeting will be essential to effectively pitching your services.

To define exactly who your ideal freelance clients should be (and how to start finding them), ask yourself these questions:

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  • What type of business has the problems I’m solving with my services?
  • Can the business I want to work with afford to hire me?
  • What demographic trends can I identify about the decision makers in the types of businesses I’m targeting? Think: age, gender, geographic location, websites they frequent, and their personal interests.
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Because I know that I’ll be more engaged and work most effectively with smaller startup teams who are working on projects I can personally relate to, I’ve proactively chosen to make my scope of potential clients narrow. By working with similar startup teams, new potential clients I target within my niche are able to instantly relate with me, and have confidence that I’ll be able to replicate my results for their business, too.

4. Create a High Quality Portfolio Site

It goes without saying that one of the best ways to demonstrate your technical skills is by having an amazing portfolio site(opens in a new tab) of your own. If you want to be taken seriously as a new freelancer, you’re going to need a website that:

  • Showcases your expertise.
  • Highlights relevant past experiences.
  • Shows who you are.
  • Includes your contact information so that potential clients can easily find you.

A stellar portfolio can really help you out if you don’t have a lot of job experience or testimonials to prove that you know your stuff.

The purpose of your portfolio is to educate, spark interest, and convince potential clients that they’ll want to choose you for their technical needs. That’s why it’s worth investing time into deciding what to feature on your portfolio and how it’s being displayed — before you start looking for new projects.

Once your portfolio site is up, start including a link to the site within your email signature and on your social profiles.

5. Start Freelancing Before Your Quit Your Day Job

I’m a huge fan of starting a freelance business while you keep your day job (or work part-time), as opposed to immediately pursuing self-employment.

In addition to the fact that creating a high-quality portfolio website, building your personal brand, and adding to your portfolio naturally takes a good amount of time, it’s a good idea to have a few steady freelance clients on your roster before axing your sole source of income.

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I recommend growing your side income to at least 50–75% of your total current income before leaving your full-time job, depending on your risk tolerance.

Managing a tight schedule, heavy workload (including demanding freelance projects), and being responsible for client deliverables with limited time resources will teach you quickly what it’s like to run your own business.

The other awesome benefit of picking up freelance clients while you’re still working full-time is that you can be selective. You likely don’t absolutely need the money. This puts you in a position to turn down work that either doesn’t pay enough to justify your time investment, or that you’re not genuinely interested in.

These are two points you’ll need to be a stickler about if you want to be happy once you’re freelancing full-time.

6. Level Up Your Skills

The best way to justify higher hourly rates? Make sure you have impressive skills that are in high demand.

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Practice using your new skills by building the types of projects that you want to eventually be paid to work on. Whether that’s WordPress websites, mobile apps, or something else entirely, such as graphic design, copywriting, etc, the more you can differentiate yourself among a sea of competition with cool side projects and examples that’ll attract potential customers, the better.

And remember that while highly trained freelancers can get paid much more for their work, you don’t have to head back to school for a BS in computer science to get on the train. Taking online classes like a Skillcrush Front End Development course can get you on the right track and put you in charge of your education.

7. Build Your Credibility

There are many ways to build your credibility within your industry.

Aside from creating high quality blog content and collaborating with notable influencers in your industry, you can write an ebook, create an online course, and line up speaking engagements to start increasing your visibility within your niche.

You can also build up your portfolio on freelance platforms and freelance gig websites by working for a slightly lower hourly rate to start, and increasing it as you gain more experience.

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These credibility-boosters can help you add to your list of accomplishments that you can highlight on your portfolio and simultaneously demonstrate your knowledge for more potential clients to see. The wider you can broadcast your message, the more influence you’ll build within your niche.

8. Determine Your Pricing

While deciding how much to charge for your freelance services is a major step toward determining your perceived value, you need to make sure you’re charging enough to make a sustainable, comfortable living.

Most clients won’t hesitate to pay higher rates for a freelancer that gives them an incredible first impression and sells them on the ability to deliver high quality results.

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As long as I continue to deliver consistent value to my clients (beyond their expectations), I have no trouble setting and maintaining high prices for the services I’m providing.

Before setting your prices at the bare minimum you need to charge in order to hit your financial needs, consider the actual value you’d be creating for your potential clients and make sure you’re not leaving money on the table.

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You can always increase your rates in the future and hope your client stays on board, but if you start at a price point you’re already excited about, you’ll be that much more likely to over-deliver and continue increasing your value moving forward.

9. Leverage Your Network for Introductions

One of the most effective ways to land higher quality and better paying freelance work is through leveraging your existing networks. Whether it’s pitching your actual friends and former co-workers on freelance help, or using their connections to make warm introductions to companies you do want to work with, this is a great alternative to cold contacting potential clients.

Whenever I discover a freelance opportunity I want to pursue on Angel.co(opens in a new tab)CloudPeeps(opens in a new tab), or elsewhere, I give myself 10–15 minutes to research the company, find my ideal point of contact, and do a little homework on if I have a mutual connection on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook before reaching out with a cold email.

If I do have a mutual contact, I’ll reach out to my friend (only if I’m actually friends with them) and ask if they’d mind sending an email introduction on my behalf.

This approach, where my first impression is being endorsed by a recommendation from someone my potential client already knows, has consistently netted me higher response and close rates.

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10. Perfect Your Pitching

There’s an art and science to pitching your freelance services to new clients.

Landing new clients isn’t just a matter of crafting an awesome freelance proposal. Your success depends on how you’re selecting new jobs, how you position your value propositions, and how much research you do ahead of time.

I’ve won new gigs simply because I clearly put in more time and effort into researching the company, determining their needs, and providing immense up front value in the form of insightful recommendations before I even discuss payment. In the world of freelancing, much of your success (and ability to make money online) will depend upon the strength of your client relationships, and how well you’re able to forge meaningful partnerships.

11. Blog Frequently

The goal of having a website showcasing your skills is to attract and convert new clients. What better way to increase the number of potential new clients coming across your website than by creating high-quality blog content that positions you as a stand out expert within your field?

At the beginning, aim for creating one or two in-depth blog posts per month, geared toward providing truly helpful solutions that your potential clients may be searching for. Note: That means you’ll be writing for an audience of your clients, not other people in your field.

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Once they discover your content and get some free value from you, you’ll naturally be top-of-mind if they’re ready to hire out for more in-depth help.

I initiated the majority of the freelance contracts I’ve landed over the last year by mentioning a company in a successful blog post on my website. After publishing my in-depth post chronicling all of the best side business ideas(opens in a new tab), I spent a lot of time reaching out to a carefully chosen person at each brand or online tool I mentioned, asking if I cited them correctly within the post.

The majority of them wrote back either confirming or offering a suggestion, which then gave me an opportunity to either pitch a guest post, ask them to share my content with their audience on social media, or open the door to a potential marketing contract.

My blog has been by far my highest return marketing channel for my freelance business.

12. Guest Post on Relevant Industry Blogs & Publications

Once you have a website that highlights your abilities and clearly communicates that you offer freelance services, one of the most effective ways to increase your online visibility is by getting content published on the blogs and publications where your potential customers spend the most time.

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Marketing guru and consultant Neil Patel frequently shares about the huge contracts he lands for his business by publishing over 100 guest posts per year(opens in a new tab).

While you’ll be starting on a much smaller scale, don’t underestimate the immediate benefit of getting your content featured on blogs and publications that can drive hundreds or even thousands of new visitors to your website.

In the span of less than one year, I’ve been able to get my posts published on Entrepreneur, Inc, Business Insider, HubSpot, and dozens more publications by creating extremely high quality content and leveraging my pitching abilities. This increased visibility has had a direct, positive impact on my business.

Via SC

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Entrepreneur

Why Digital Freelancing is the Future of Work

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The corporate world has changed more in the past two years than in the past twenty years. It took a pandemic to make people realize that you don’t need to travel for work two hours a day to sit in front of a computer that is connected to the internet anyway.

It is no longer possible to attract people to work at a full-time job in a corporate office because people have realized that the idea of a “safe and secure” job is just a dream that can collapse at any time. There is no need to work at a specific location in a specific city because we all live in the global village called the internet. 

If you have expertise on a specific skill, you can remotely work for the best companies in the world at command earnings that compete with anyone in the world with the same skill. And the best part is that you can work on a contract basis.

So what is preventing people from becoming freelancers and quit their day job (if they are fortunate to have one)? The lack of a personal brand.

The full-time corporate world operates on slightly different rules where you can jump from one company to another based on your personal network and influence. But in the freelance world, having a personal network is not enough, you need a personal brand.

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Building a personal brand doesn’t mean becoming popular. A personal brand is built when you add value to people’s lives through your content, sometimes without charging anything for it.

If you want to build a strong personal brand as an influencer, you need to start with blogging. Write a few articles a month about what you learn, what you know and what you have experienced. Writing is the best way to let the world know that you exist.

ALSO READ:  Freelancing 101: What Every Potential Freelancer Should Know

Once you start writing, you will see that opportunities will come your way. Start helping out people with your content and then with free consultations. There are a ton of freelancing opportunities in the world, and you can become a specialist in one category. Let’s say, for example, you are an SEO expert. Start writing about SEO on your blog, share them on social media and post videos about what you know. 

Research companies that you want to help and maybe create an SEO audit report for them and cold-email it to them. If you add value first instead of asking for an opportunity, an opportunity will come your way. 

You cannot demand heat before you throw in the piece of wood. Set up a calendar that shows your available times and let people book a free 15-20 minute consultation call with you. This is how you add value and then get a sale, without asking explicitly for the sale.

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Freelancing makes you an entrepreneur where the product is yourself. This is the first step in your long journey of building something for yourself, that eventually becomes greater than yourself. 

Freelancing also requires professional relationship skills, sales skills and the skill of adding more value than what you are getting paid for. This skill is vastly different from the skill of being an employee.

If you are not in a full-time corporate job right now, it is time to start freelancing instead of trying to find a job in the post-pandemic, new world order. 

If you are already in a corporate job, you need to start freelancing as a side-hustle as soon as possible. Even if you are just building your brand and doing free consultations, it is more than enough to start with because it creates the foundation for your future freelancing journey. 

ALSO READ:  5 Tips to Grow your Freelance Skills to attract more Buyers

You might have friction getting started in this journey if you are an employee or have been one. Because the typical mindset of an employee is to look for security and “something guaranteed” for every piece of effort that you put in. Getting started with your freelancing career is the first step in dealing with career and professional uncertainty.

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I cannot tell you what opportunities you will get once you start building your personal brand. But I can say with conviction that once you start, you will start getting opportunities.

Via Entrepreneur

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Why You Need a B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy–And How to Build One

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B2B influencer marketing has essentially been around since the beginning of commerce. When the dairyman told all the bakers on his delivery route that they should purchase flour from a certain miller, and when the miller gave the dairyman flour for his household as repayment, B2B influencer marketing was born. So, how can you make this marketing strategy work for your business, and why should you want to?

Why is B2B influencer marketing important?

At its core, influencer marketing is a field of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive or showcase a brand message to the larger market. Rather than selling directly to a big group, instead you can inspire, hire, or even pay market influencers to promote what you have to offer.

In the world of networking, we see B2B influencers guide, direct, and even enhance the experience a business has with another business. While we would like to think that slick ad campaigns and ad spend are directing traffic, it is still the word-of-mouth influence that guides people and businesses to each other.

A quick guide to B2B influencer marketing

Where to find influencers

Ask yourself who your current advocates are. Who already speaks highly of you? Who refers business to you?

Advocates aren’t always clients or customers. Sometimes, they can be our vendors and suppliers. Other times, we must look at other professionals related to our industry. Advocates speak highly of your people, products, or services.

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Do your clients connect on social channels? Do they tag referral partners? Do they recommend services and providers to their own clients as a value-add? Where are they also sharing information on non-social channels, such as podcasts, speaking events, and books?

Consider sponsoring a speaking event where a potential B2B connector will be presenting. Build a relationship with them off-stage in order to get their shout-out on-stage. Feature potential B2B influencers on your own company podcast. Showcasing your relationships with influencers and companies will add to the trust factor so that other businesses will be comfortable connecting with you.

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Build a B2B influencer connection

Think about tires. If you are a fleet manager and you are purchasing new tires for vehicles in your fleet, you might discover you need brakes. You might then mention to the tire dealer that you need to have some new decal work done. Your tire provider suggests a brake shop that specializes in fleet maintenance, and suggests a painting and decal service that one of their other clients uses.

Did the tire provider need the brake guy or decal person? No. Most likely the brake shop and the decal creator reached out to create a B2B connection which would benefit the tire dealer (and themselves). If you know of other businesses that your clients regularly utilize, your business can build a B2B influencer connection with benefits for all.

Did the tire provider need the brake guy or decal person? No. Most likely the brake shop and the decal creator reached out to create a B2B connection which would benefit the tire dealer (and themselves). If you know of other businesses that your clients regularly utilize, your business can build a B2B influencer connection with benefits for all.

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Make sure to vet any potential connections

It is easy to speed forward and engage a B2B business as a possible connector or influencer. However, you need to take some time to vet the affiliations and relevance of the connection. Checking affiliations and relevance is as simple as doing a Google search, website review, or social media audit.

While it might seem like a particular business would be an ideal connection and influence, their affiliations and company culture may not be a perfect fit and could create some reputation, brand, and image problems in the long run.

What is your plan for co-creation?

If you are just hoping your B2B influencer is sharing your service/product accurately or is referring potential clients through the right contact at your company, you are not going to receive the impact you are looking for through this influencer.

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B2B influencing is about co-creation. Co-creation means you are working together with the influencer—it is collaboration and partnership. It is developing a relationship, not just a tactical means to an end.

In a number of instances, a company hires an influencer from a transactional perspective, and only provides the influencer with what is needed to achieve a given result. However, the more you develop a relationship, and provide the influencer with the education and resources to make the most impact for your company, the better the result and outcome.

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How do you plan to compensate influencers?

Not all influencer marketing requires you to pay for time. Sometimes, B2B connections are made that are just about giving valuable connections.

Could a “paid” influencer provide value? Absolutely. But you should determine the best influencer for your product or service first. Then determine if that influencer relationship should be a compensated one or a value/connection one.

B2B influencer marketing and your business

Just a few years ago, B2B businesses would have balked at the idea of using influencer marketing as a marketing strategy; it was considered “celebrity” and a hack. However, businesses have been using this technique long before it was given a trendy name and celebrity status.

Influencer marketing is all about relationships—your relationship with an “influencer” and their relationship with your client/customer or prospects. The key is to know the purpose, audience, and tools necessary to make it work effectively. Knowing your audience and the key influencers in your industry, professional network, or community can make the biggest difference.

My guess is that you have already been using this technique or are an influencer yourself. You just didn’t know you were doing it. Now, do it with purpose!

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Via AB

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freelance

Will Employer know if you are self- Employed

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The quick answer? No, your employer won’t automatically find out if you’re self-employed. In this day and age, having a side hustle is becoming pretty commonplace. Supplementing a salary with a second (or even third) source of income is a great way to expand your skills offering and of course, bump up your bank balance. It’s a great way to earn some extra cash, grow your network, indulge in your passions and continue to diversify your talents.

However, if you are going to go down the route of secondary self-employment, alongside your regular ‘day job’, there are some things you need to consider. For example, if you earn more than £1,000 from self-employment activities in a tax year, you’ll need to let HMRC know by registering for Self Assessment. And then, of course, submitting tax returns so that you pay the right amount of tax on your earnings.

Informing HMRC is one thing, but what many side-hustlers are concerned about is their employer finding out about their extracurricular activity.

Can you register for self-employment if you’re already employed?

Absolutely! Even if you’re on the payroll for a full-time or part-time job, you’re still allowed to work for yourself outside of those hours. For example, somebody who works in marketing might do some freelance copywriting or social media management on the side. This secondary source of income classes as self-employment and can run parallel alongside their regular employment.

The benefits of working for yourself as well as for an employer are many, but the most common include:

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  • Earning more money – perhaps the most appealing advantage and most common motivation.
  • Being able to develop and explore the skillset you use in your regular role.
  • A chance to dip your toe into the water of new or alternative skills that you aren’t able to fulfil through your employment.
  • Expanding your network of contacts.
  • Being able to turn a passion into income.
  • You get to learn a great deal about business ownership and being on the other side of the books.
ALSO READ:  The Growing Freelance Economy: Strategies to Survive and Thrive

Will a full-time employer find out if you’re self-employed?

Unless you tell your employer directly, there is no reason why they should have to find out about your self-employed work. The only other way they might find out is if you tell a colleague or mutual connection about your side hustle and it gets back to your employer that way.

However, in terms of tax codes and self-employment registration – two things that many employed people are concerned will give them up – you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Your tax information is highly confidential so HMRC will never inform your employer if you register as self-employed. Nor would that be necessary as your PAYE income and self-employed earnings are entirely separate in the eyes of HMRC. The only reason that this might change is if you ask HMRC to collect your self-employed tax through your tax code.

What if I register a limited company?

The only other way this might become a potential issue, if you’re hellbent on hiding your side job from your employer, is if you register a Limited Company.

These details are shared publicly on Companies House so all your employer would need to do is a quick search to find information about your business. That said, it’s highly unlikely they would do this unprovoked, or without prior knowledge.

Is honesty the best policy in this situation?

Although it’s very unlikely that your employer would find out about your self-employed work without you telling them directly, is it worth being transparent with them about it?

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Honesty is usually the best policy, but the decision is yours alone to make. Just consider:

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  • There might be something in your employment contract that forbids you from having any additional work, which means a side job would be in breach of that.
  • Transparency lays the foundations for a healthy relationship with your employer – something that is going to be pivotal in your future success within your role there.
  • If your employer is supportive of your self-employment, they might even be able to help you out with some contacts or advice.
  • Again, if your employer is in support of your side hustle, making them aware might mean they can be more flexible around things like annual leave and working hours to accommodate your other commitments where possible.

Our top tips on balancing more than one job

If you are juggling both regular employment and self-employment, it can be tricky to strike a healthy balance between the two. The aim of the game is to find a balance that means you can maintain your own wellbeing whilst ensuring that you’re doing your best possible work for all involved.

Here is our advice on how to master the juggling act:

  • Be realistic about what your clients can expect from you – and be honest with them about it!
  • Identify your goals. Are you hoping to make some extra income, or to become fully self-employed, for instance? Keep these in mind – it will help you remember when it’s time to say no!
  • Know when you’ve reached your capacity so that you don’t get burnt out.
  • Make sure you’re registered as self-employed so that you can report your additional earnings to HMRC and pay the necessary deductions. Failing to do so could land you in some serious trouble.Via FN
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