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Before we start digging deep into the world of freelancing, I’m going to spend some time talking about the most essential things you will need as a freelancer.
Most of the freelancing work involves working at home or a home office. This was the main idea of working as an outsource contractor, remember?
As you will be spending most of your time working at your own home / office, it is essential to buy the following items that would make your life easier in a long-term. Think about these things only if you have decided that you would devote most of your time doing freelance jobs, otherwise it’s pointless to spend your hard earned cash for things you’d hardly ever use.
- Office Chair and desk;
- Fast personal Computer;
- External Hard Drive;
- Excellent Internet connection;
- Web Hosting and Web Site;
- Other specialised tools that you would need for your job;
- Bank Account and PayPal;
The most important things to consider buying are a quality office chair and a large desk where you would be sitting and working on. Get a decent chair and a good-sized desk where you could easily fit in everything that would be necessary for your work and personal comfort as a computer, telephone, printer, external hard drive, notebook, etc. You could look at eBay, Amazon, Ikea or your local DIY shops for bargains. Generally speaking, a good adjustable office chair and a large desk would probably put you a few Pounds off, but don’t forget that this is a long-term investment that would help you to stay productive and healthy.
The next important thing you would need is a personal computer. I would recommend you to spend £1000-£1500 on average for a fast high-quality desktop computer with a large and quality monitor in order to be able to work efficiently for years to come. If you are a writer, proof-reader, translator or your profession doesn’t require too much computing power, stick to an average desktop or laptop computer complemented by a crisp, high-quality monitor in order to protect your eyesight.
Another essential item you would need to buy is an external hard drive. As non-essential it may seem to you now, you would realise later that this is a critical piece of machinery which every professional freelancer should possess. Believe me, there is no larger disaster than losing a precious file, or, in extreme cases, the project you were working on for the past few months a few days before an important deadline due to a power outage, computer crash, virus infection or other unexpected hiccup. Invest around £100-200 for a small, fast, efficient and quiet hard drive. You could buy it from every electronic shop or online at shops such as Amazon, eBay or your local high-street store. I recommend the Seagate brand for the average user or for the hard-core computer geek like me, a brand new Western Digital top-performer.
Another thing you would obviously need is an excellent Internet connection. By excellent Internet connection I am not saying that you would need the fastest one around, but one that is reliable and would not go down frequently. Of course, in the developed world, these is not a problem, but if you are living in a country where the Internet infrastructure is not developed yet, consider switching between the different providers until you find connection that doesn’t constantly go down. I live in the UK, so if you are a UK-based Freelancer, I might recommend you to try Virgin Media’s broadband packages. I have been using them heavily for quite some time and I really don’t have any problems whatsoever with them. At my native town Sofia in Bulgaria, I am using company called Spectrum Net, so if you are living in Bulgaria by chance, and in Sofia City in particular, and your current provider is not that good, consider switching over to Spectrum Net.
I’m not using a notebook whilst I’m freelancing simply because I take one project at a time and I’m not a big fan of juggling many projects simultaneously, however, this is just my personal lifestyle so if you prefer to juggle many projects at once, you might need a notebook where you could store notes, memos or just scribble something quickly in there.
The Freelancing profession builds on one main principle: marketing yourself and your skills effectively. I’m going to go into a greater detail about this in the next post; however, I wanted to point out to you that in the 21st century it is really important to have a professional web presence. A good domain name costs around £7, web hosting (the place where you store your website) costs between 50-200 pounds per year depending on the level of service provided and an average portfolio website would put you off another £100-300 depending on what is included in it and whether you are a programmer yourself or not. Of course if you are working in the IT industry and particularly in web development, you would spend only around £7 and a few days of work until you get your website up and running. I can recommend you a good web hosting for a reasonable price, you can check it out by clicking here.
I cannot give you recommendations here, because the freelancing profession is really very different for most people, but feel free to buy anything that you consider important in your own circumstances.
We looked at the essential things you’d need for completing your work efficiently and now let’s take a look at some boring stuff.
After you complete your work, you would need to be paid for the work done. For that purpose, you would need a bank account where your clients could deposit money and a PayPal account for those of them who are not convenient paying to you directly through conventional banking, could pay to you safely, instantly and electronically. Of course, I am a little bit biased by recommending PayPal instead of another service such as Google Checkout, WorldPay, etc., but in my experience, most people on the Internet have PayPal accounts and are more than happy to pay you using this service.
At a later stage when you have grown your business enough you might need an accountant to help you out with filing your local, state or country taxes properly. Of course, you might decide to do it yourself, but if you think that your local laws are too complex for you to understand them properly, it is a good idea to seek the help of a professional accountant who would take care of this laborious, yet very important task for you.
I think I covered most of the stuff you would need for starting up your freelance career, however, my list is not a definitive one and may grow over time, so feel free to add things to it by posting a comment in the comments section.