You like being the boss, you chose to be a freelancer. You were exhausted from your old 9-5 grind, but you’re here now — freelancing. You're now your own manager, bookkeeper, and mentor - handling invoice templates, quote templates, agreement templates, and time tracking on your own, aiming to constantly deliver successful freelance projects. More and more people follow this trend, breaking the rigid corporate ladder.
If we look at the individuals working on freelance projects over the past decade or so, the numbers are certainly mesmerizing. According to a national survey conducted in the US:
“34% of the entire workforce in America is made of freelancers. This accounts for 53.5 million people. And, these numbers are supposed to increase, with freelancers to rise up to 40% of the total workforce by the end of 2020.”
Working for yourself can be a great way to grow and definitely highly rewarding, but this definitely doesn’t come easy. Being your own boss may not always work out. But with the right way of invoicing clients and a potent skill set, you're on your way to successful projects.
Of course, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to successful freelancing. And moreover, there are no silver bullets or magic wands to achieve success. It’s the hard work and right tricks. No matter if you're a graphic designer, web developer, or freelance writer you’ll definitely need to build a successful freelancing profile and an impressive freelance portfolio website, and use other personalized templates such as logo design questionnaires to ensure project success.
The journey to become a successful freelancer comes with a lot of perks. It’s easy to think of it as no fixed hours, no commuting, no boss breathing over your shoulder, no gossips near the water cooler, no useless politics, a great freedom to become a boss, but it also calls for a ‘big responsibility’.
Along with the number of perks, there are also certain pitfalls on the way. You might be knowing this if you've been doing it for quite some time. Right?
The life of a freelancer is certainly not a bed of roses. We are quickly shifting to a “gig economy,” where more people are freelancing every year. Freelancing is growing popularity with every generation making it as a part of their income.
Upwork’s survey reports there will be more Gen Z people than Millennials in the workforce within a year. Therefore, there is a lot to know about the challenges it comes along with: irregular income, feeling alone working all day home, being in charge of accounting and taxes, sales, stationery and even coffee, handling clients, protecting yourself, and probably few difference between work and personal life.
“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.” - Oprah Winfrey
Freelancing has its pitfalls, but it is exhilarating and liberating. It all comes down to how well you can handle them. Let us help you with this five step guide.
They say, “professional freelancers don’t do gigs.” It’s shallow and of low-value. Gigs do not lead to partnerships. You’re a professional freelancer, your goal should be to have a long-term value-client-partner and constantly deliver successful freelance projects.
Make sure your clients also consider you as a partner. Build a reputed relationship rather than a temporary measure. Play the game of quality, not quantity. Before you take up a client, ask yourself: will this gig take me a step closer to my business goals?”
You’d probably be drowning in the sea of tasks and to-dos because you’re the sole person that your client is depending on. The right project management system for your freelancer business can empower you to streamline everything. Here are a few reasons we believe project management is an important skill for freelancers to master in any niche.
You get the power to put everything in place: such tools will help you deliver successful freelance projects. All the elements of your project will be available easily in one place. You don’t need to jump into your email to check the requirements, look for your documents, or check the due dates. Project management systems give you everything in one place so you can focus on actually doing the work.
You can use such tools to improve your freelance time tracking, as it can become a bit overwhelming when it comes to organizing work and time. A time-tracking tool is like a personal assistant for a freelancer. It helps with keeping track of how many hours you spent working on a freelance project, to be able to bill your client for the time you’ve spent. With project management tools like ProofHub, you can quickly track hours spent working, and make sure you deliver the projects on time.
Strike off the stress of freelancing: managing workload, never-ending to-do lists, and scheduling projects often lead to stress in a freelancer’s life. But by having the right system in place, you can straighten out a messy day.
You’re working with your dream clients, but how do you keep them? Clients are your life-blood. As a freelancer, you need to know that clients don’t care about services — they want solutions and successful projects. You need to maintain the same level of professionalism from beginning to end, and tread carefully when dealing with scope creep.
You can do this by:
Treat your clients right and they’ll always be on your side. They’ll come back and even stay forever if they love you.
When it comes to making the most of your time, some freelancers find it a bit tricky to manage it all. Remember that you’re in charge of your schedule and time management is crucial for your successful projects. Let’s go over some classic time management techniques.
In the late 1980s, the Pomodoro technique was developed as a time management method. Freelancers have a lot of tasks on the list, thus, Pomodoro is very useful. You simply have to pick a task, set the Pomodoro timer (traditionally 25 minutes). This time is for you to focus on the task you picked and keep working on the same task.
Take a 5 minutes break as you complete it. After successfully completing four Pomodoros, take a longer break from 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse and repeat.
Know the difference between breaks and disastrously addictive distractions like social media. Take breaks but do not take too long breaks that it becomes a distraction. Take care of emails that only require a quick response and reduce the time spent on social media.
Take yourself out of the bad habit of being dependent on your client to proceed. It’s not your 9-5 job where whenever you've got a better idea, you’re expected to follow instructions before proceeding with your freelance project. As a consultant, you need to have the power to take initiative. Discuss the problems as questions, and suggest ways to improve the project. Take the initiative to understand your client's needs.
By 2020, the number of temporary workers, freelancers, part-time job seekers will exceed 30% of the global workforce. You have the best opportunity in hand. So better not get stuck. Brace up. The future is yours. Shape it!
Follow this guide and you’ll have what you need to succeed as a freelancer in the digital era. Use tools such as Bonsai to automate and integrate your freelance proposals, contracts, invoices, time tracking and more - sign up for your free trial today.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?