Intro to the art of freelancing
A letter from the Hectic team
Freelancing is hard.
That’s not to discourage you or scare you away from this lifestyle. It’s just a fact, one that ‘how to freelance’ and ‘why you should freelance’ guides often gloss over.
That’s not what we’re about.
Hectic was built by a team of freelancers, people who have been there, done that, and learned way more than we thought we would. We know how hard it is to find success. We’ve spent nights scrolling through job listings in moments of doubt.
But we’ve also fought, networked, and strategized our way to a successful freelancing business. That’s what we want to share. Not catchy tips or untried advice, but the actual methods we used to make and crush our best #bosslesslife.
While we’re being transparent here, this guide is also a way for us to introduce you to Hectic and the many ways it can simplify your business. Rather than cobbling together and paying for numerous tools, you’ll discover how this one solution can keep you on deadline and thriving with minimal stress.
More than anything, we want you to use this as a crash course in building your freelance career. You’ll get the truths we had to learn the hard way, plus challenges to the problematic ‘conventional wisdom’ that clogs first-page search engine results.
Read it all, skip around, or set an alarm on your phone so you remember to come back to it when you have time. We want you to use this guide your way — isn’t that what freelancing is all about?
The Hectic Team
What freelancing is
Freelancing is working for yourself, not under a boss or as a big business.
Pretty much every industry and job offers the ability to freelance. Some avenues are easier to find and follow, but the potential is always there. As technology and trends continue to shift, we’ll see even more demand for independent workers in the coming years.
There are no minimum education/experience requirements or ‘required skills’ for freelancing.
With freelancing, you have the opportunity to learn as you go. Some projects do require specific skills, but you can choose to either acquire them or to move on to another job. Every freelancer knows more today than they did starting out — our team included. If you’re willing to take the risk, find the resources/education you need, and never stop learning, you can freelance.
You can spend as much (or as little) time freelancing as you want.
Love your job? Keep it and create your side-hustle. Unable or unwilling to find or meet the requirements of a hired position? Build your full-time freelance business. Just bored and want to make some extra cash? Spend an hour or two making money off the skills you have. Ready to be your own boss? Take the leap to a full-time freelancing business. As long as you meet your own needs, you can write the rulebook.
...but you have to know that it IS a job and a business.
This is often the biggest struggle for freelancers in all industries, levels of experience, and age. Just because you’re great at your craft, doesn’t mean you know how to run a business. With this guide and the right tools, however, you can rock freelancing like the badass boss you are.
What freelancing isn’t
Freelancing isn’t just an experience builder.
Maybe you’ve decided to freelance because you’ve run into the ‘can’t get a job without experience, can’t get experience without a job’ paradox. No matter your situation, you should never treat your freelancing as just an opportunity to get experience in return for low-cost/free labor. While you will certainly learn and grow through your work, this isn’t a bad internship. You should value the work you do and pick clients who do the same.
It’s not for under-the-table cash opportunities.
Freelance gigs are real jobs, so you need to treat them as such. Comply with legal requirements, such as paying taxes on any money you make, and never take jobs that seem shady or illegal.
That said, you may want to accept trades for your work. Say, for example, you get an offer to design a concept poster in return for free tickets to the show. This is not an unusual situation in freelancing, but it’s not always technically legal.
Our advice? Use your best judgment and never do work that makes you uncomfortable. At the end of the day, your work is meant to pay the bills, so prioritize jobs that pay real money you can use to save, pay taxes, and meet your financial obligations.
Freelancers can’t just clock in.
Freedom and flexibility comes hand-in-hand with responsibilities as an independent contractor. While you don’t have to answer to a boss, you also can’t rely on an employer to take care of tax payments, legal paperwork, and administrative tasks. You are responsible for your own career and success, so you have to be willing to put in the work. Thankfully, you’re not on your own and you’ll soon find that the pros far outweigh the struggle.