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How Many Hats Does a Freelancer Wear?

Aug 18, 2007
A freelancer has to be much more flexible than an employee. There's just so much more to it than having the skill that directly earns you your money. You have to be able to run your business.

That takes a lot of effort.

Hat One: Marketing Department

If you don't market yourself, who will? Most freelancers don't want their business to get so big that they need to hire a lot of people and supervise them. They'd rather market themselves than pay someone else to do it.

Of course the best marketing comes from your satisfied customers telling other potential clients about you, but you cannot rely upon that alone. You should have a web page that you can refer people to that demonstrates what you have to offer. You should have business cards. You should be networking.

Hat Two: Finance Department

Freelancers are rather more likely to pay an accountant or bookkeeper than they are to hire marketing help, but it is still often done by the freelancer. And even if you pay someone to handle the tough stuff, you need to be sufficiently on top of things that you know how much money you're making for your efforts.

You have to keep track of outstanding invoices, taxes due, costs of doing business and so forth.

Hat Three: The Boss

Yes, you probably are freelancing in part because you wanted to be your own boss. But that can be a lot of work. Keeping yourself on schedule, knowing when to quit for the day, when to hire someone else to help out with a project... it all falls to you.

You have to keep yourself from getting too distracted. There are plenty of distractions out there, especially if you are home based. The television is pretty bad, but housework can get you pretty good too.

Hat Four: IT

You have to be pretty comfortable with technology as a general rule when you freelance. If there's a computer problem it's up to you to fix it or get it fixed without getting off schedule. You have to handle all backups.

Miscellaneous Hats

There are many other things you may have to deal with as a freelancer. You have to deal with contracts and other legal issues. You will have to decide if you are going in the direction you want to go. You will have to motivate yourself through the hard times.

It's a lot of hats to wear when you freelance, but the freedom to work the way you prefer to is just wonderful. Many freelancers find that they much prefer it to traditional employment.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster runs http://www.find-freelance.com/ as a resource for people who want to earn a living freelancing. Get more tips on what it takes to be a successful freelancer at her site.
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