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5 steps to launching a freelance career

working remotely
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The standard 9-to-5 job requiring your presence in an office is being challenged with the help of new technologies. More and more people want to skip a long commute and work remotely, while others ditch the idea of standard employment altogether.  

With access to online platforms and new markets, freelancing is now quite common. In fact, about 59% of U.S. companies use flexible workforces, such as freelancers and remote employees. Predictions show that freelancers will become the majority in the U.S. soon, creating a different workforce landscape entirely. 

If you are playing with the idea of becoming a freelancer, now may be the best time to do so. Here are tools that can help:

#1: Set up a good time tracker 
As a new freelancer, it’s natural to struggle with time management. The lack of a supervisor and the wrong idea that freelancing is about having time to do what you want leads to wasted time. To make sure time doesn’t fly away, use time tracking software such as Harvest or Toggl. These are free apps that once installed on your computer or phone, track your activity. At the end of each day, check how you spent your time working vs wasting time (social media browsing, watching cat videos, etc.) 

#2: Use reliable resources 
Whether you’re doing research for a project or learning a new skill, you need reliable resources at your fingertips. With the right eLearning platform, it’s easy to find the information you need. 

#3: Enlist a financial planner 
One of the not-so-cool aspects of freelancing is financial. Since you are on your own, you’re the one to pay the taxes, run the numbers, and plan for future investment. You’re also in charge of billing customers, finding new leads, and promoting your business. This aspect of freelancing can be quite time-consuming. Luckily, there are platforms and apps to make your life easier. Tools like FreshBooks or Xero can keep track of your expenses, highlight profitability, and let you know how much to put aside for taxes. Such an app can even replace your accountant or reduce the amount of work required. 

#4: Task management 
When you juggle several clients, it can be difficult to keep track of deadlines and tasks. To avoid missing anything important, use a task management software like AsanaTrello or Evernote. All three are fantastic at managing separate projects, tasks, and collaborative work so you can share your thoughts and progress with the client’s team.  

#5: Marketing tools 
You are your own marketing department, so use proper tools to promote your services. While some freelancers use social media, it's not always rewarding. Perhaps a better way to keep customers and leads up to date is via email, so keep a clean contact list. Tools such as MailChimp manage emails and send automatic replies. Also use automatic social media scheduling or a calendar app to help plan your posts. 

Wrap up 
As you can see, freelancing is more than just working in your pajamas. If done right, it can be an extremely rewarding, especially with the right tools at your disposal!  

Guest post by Oli Kang. Thanks, Oli -- Kathy

Oli Kang is a working mum who has a passion for teaching and all things educational. With a background in marketing, Oli manages the digital channels and content at Courses.com.au.

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