If you feel like you’ve hit a dead end with your own employer and aren’t having any luck finding a telework-friendly employer, don’t despair. There are other routes to achieving your dream. One of the quickest is to cut the strings and strike out on your own as a freelancer (also sometimes called an independent contractor or consultant).
Working as a freelancer means losing many of the comforts of being someone else’s employee, such as regular paychecks, paid vacations, and health insurance benefits. You’ll also give up the peace of mind and promotion potential that comes with a steady job at a stable employer. In return, however, you’ll enjoy the freedom to work how, when, and where you please. You’ll have the power to choose your own projects, set your own rates, and—most important—work from home whenever you wish.
This chapter covers the nuts and bolts of becoming a freelance athome worker. First, we’ll help you weigh the pros and cons of leaving salaried employment. Then we’ll tell you what you need to know to get started—from choosing a line of work, to finding clients, to setting competitive rates and getting paid. We’ll also give you important advice on taxes and record keeping, to help you run your freelance business smoothly and keep out of trouble with Uncle Sam.
We’re discussing freelance service providers. This chapter is for people who provide services on a project or hourly basis—for example, drafting a set of architectural plans, writing an article, or preparing tax returns. If you’re interested in selling goods or running a retail business from home, you’ll need other information, available in resources like Legal Guide to Starting & Running a Small Business, by Fred Steingold (Nolo), and Wow! I’m in Business, by Richard Stim and Lisa Guerin (Nolo).