Working freelance is more popular than ever before, and for good reason. Not only does freelance life afford you more flexibility and control of your own schedule (something most of us millennials are seeking these days), but it provides many of us with new work opportunities in a climate where corporate businesses are scaling down and cutting jobs left, right and centre. Does having a 9-to-5 job really provide you with more stability and security? That’s not an easy argument to win these days.
Here at Edit Seven, we’re made up of a team of badass women who each, in our own way, take part in the world of freelance. We are all part of the ‘gig generation‘ whether we work freelance full-time or as a side hustle for extra income. A gig job is defined as working as an independent contractor or freelancer, or working in a temporary or short-term position, or having multiple temporary or short-term jobs simultaneously.
In fact, Edit Seven is the result of my own side-hustle. It’s a blog I started nearly seven years ago under my name, Gracie Carroll, and built-it up to become a business that was big enough that I was eventually able to leave my 9-5 job nearly three years ago.
While it can be easy to want to run through the streets and scream “FREEDOM!!” the moment you go freelance, it’s important to recognize how much of your future success and peace of mind comes from being financially responsible, starting from day one of your freelance career or first gig job.
Not sure why? Newsflash: once you start working for yourself, things don’t automatically get taken care of for you. We know firsthand how overwhelming it can be to figure out what you’ve got to do and why, so keep reading for some things to consider and 7 ways to prepare and protect yourself and your financial health when working freelance or a gig job.
Start building your financial know-how: When it comes to money, a little knowledge can go a long way. Everyone’s financial picture is different. I know first-hand how daunting it can be to deal with your finances, but, in my experience I’ve always felt so much better once I faced my fear and sought help from a pro to help me understand everything that was confusing (or scaring) me. Developing financial literacy skills such as budgeting, saving and investing can help you make better financial decisions with confidence.
One thing to know about working freelance or gig jobs is that you’ve always got to be ready for change. That amazing contract you just locked down? It could fall through. Or you might experience a lucrative few months before work inexplicably seems to die down. The constant change is real, and it pays to be prepared. To prepare myself for any surprises, I started building an emergency fund that could pay my rent and daily expenses for a few months should I need it. It’s an easy step that you can take too!
Protect Your Health
There are plenty of pros to working freelance and gig jobs, but there are of course some cons. Unfortunately, the cons can be major, since they often have to do with no-longer having access to important things like benefits. Nearly nine in 10 (87%) of Millennials working gig jobs say they’re concerned about lack of health and dental benefits. Many great things can come with going freelance, but one of them is having to adult and figure out how to protect yourself when it comes to your health. Talk to a professional who can help you determine your best benefit options.
Get Life Insurance
If you’re used to things like your insurance being taken care of by your employer, think again. Once you enter the world of gig jobs and freelance, it’s all up to you, baby. Of course there is a chance that you could be part of the 16% of Millennials who do receive insurance through their gig job, but, realistically, what are the chances of that happening? Your best option is to look into setting up your life insurance asap, because the younger you are when you buy it, the less you will likely pay for your coverage and your premiums will not increase for the term you choose. Seriously, there’s a difference between buying when you’re young and healthy than when you’re older and, well, possibly not as healthy. Lock in now and save that cheddar! P.S. The folks at TD Insurance made it easy for you to figure out how much life insurance you may need with their Right Fit Coverage Assessment tool.
Set Up Your Financial Plan
Talking about (and dealing with) your finances is a huge part of running your own business. That’s right, we said it! As a freelancer, you now run your own business (even if it’s a small one!) and you have to be in control of your finances. Setting up your financial plan is an important step that can be much easier when you reach out to an expert for help. Ask an advisor what factors need to be considered and what you need to set up to ensure you’re financially prepared and protected now and into the future. =
Save for Retirement
Contribute what you can to your retirement savings. Speak with your financial advisor about options for growing your money that best suit your needs. Personally, I love having a bit of money automatically put towards my savings every month because I don’t even notice it—until I see how much as added up in my account!
Ask For Help
There is a lot to think about and deal with when you start working for yourself (trust us, we know from experience!) and it can be all too easy to stick your head in the sand and try to ignore your problems. If things like life insurance, money, savings, taxes and even how to set up things like a business registration are stressing you out, know that you’re not alone. Not many of us are given this knowledge before we venture into new career paths on our own, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask your friends, ask your family, ask professionals—the sooner you find the help you need the less daunting it will be.
(Story by Editor-in-Chief, Gracie Carroll)
*Please note that this post has been brought to you thanks to a paid partnership with TD Insurance, all thoughts and opinions are our own.*