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In this course, author and seasoned freelancer Tom Geller shows you how to prepare for a transition to freelancing. Begin by taking a look at your career goals, the systems that will support you, and proper ways to plan for success. Find out how to marshal your resources, refine your portfolio for presentation to clients, and estimate your costs to avoid any surprises on the financial front. Plus, discover how to create invoices, manage your books and taxes, expand your client base with marketing, and grow your business.
A bonus chapter covers common questions freelancers have when entering the field.
In this video, we'll look at three kinds of professional requirements: licenses, permits, and insurance. Please note that there's a lot of variation depending on where you are and the sort of work you'll be doing, so I'll have to be vague out of necessity. To get the details, talk with local authorities, other freelancers and business organizations, such as the Small Business Association for U.S. businesses. Licenses don't usually come into play unless you're working in a regulated space. For example, if you're a lawyer, a massage therapist, or real estate agent.
These licenses are often issued by regional governments, such as a state in the U.S. and they usually have websites that explain the details. The second professional requirement is permits, which you might need to run any kind of business legally. Again, the details will vary from place to place. For example, when I was practicing in San Francisco I needed to register for a city tax in addition to the state registration, but now that I live in Ohio I only need to register with the state. If you're going to call your business by anything other than your personal name, you might also need to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement.
Again, online searches will help guide you. And if you're lucky, you might live in an area with a how to start a business guide. After taking care of governmental requirements, you might want to look into business insurance. This is different from personal insurance, such as you might have for your health, your home, or your car. It usually covers such things as theft from your office, along with damages from any errors and omissions you might commit in the course of business. Finding someone who will sell business insurance to you as a freelancer, could take some searching.
Again, talk to other freelancers for help with that. Indeed, you can probably get by for awhile without any of these things, flying under the radar of regulatory agencies, and hoping that no problems occur. I have to admit that I didn't carry business insurance until a big international client required it. But now I consider licenses, permits, and insurance as costs of entry to the business world. Costs that I believe are well worth it. In any case, I urge you to talk to an attorney if you have any questions about the legal implications of your choices.
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