Every freelancer requires financial security because, unlike a conventional job, freelancing doesn’t always promise a stable flow of income. In order to thrive well, therefore, freelancers need to navigate their way through hurdles that come alongside their work.
Financial security could mean different things to different people. While I primarily deem it as the state of having a stable income in the long term, it can also be taken to mean protecting your income from abuse. The latter is needed in the face of ever-increasing security threats that businesses are beset by.
In this article, I will walk you through various ways to secure your earnings as a freelancer. They include:
#1. Register for a Liability Insurance Policy
No one is perfect – not even freelancers. In fact, as a freelancer, there’ll surely be times when errors will creep into and make a nonsense of your work, as well as put you in trouble. For example, an oversight by a freelance software developer could introduce a bug into a software and cost her client lots of money. The offended client may in turn take legal action or request some form of compensation.
This in mind, you’ve got to protect yourself from the backfiring effects of professional mistakes. Liability insurance, therefore, comes in handy.
Liability insurance is a policy that prevents your assets from getting tied down at the event of your being sued for a professional mistake or forced to make compensations for an error. A policy such as this would cover – up to your coverage limit – for payments that accrue from any such trouble. When covered, you’ll have peace of mind to practice your craft without fear of losing money.
Making such an arrangement is usually a good idea, for mistakes are inevitable.
#2. Learn to Be a Tough Negotiator
In reality, your success as a freelancer depends on how tough a negotiator you are, for negotiations occur at every step of the way – from the point of attempting to strike a deal, to the point of making a client accept your conditions of service.
While sourcing for clients, tough negotiators know how to stand out of the crowd and demand higher rates. On the other hand, sloppy negotiators easily lose work or spread themselves too thin while trying to make ends meet. To avoid being that kind of a person, you need to learn how to negotiate your way through deals. This will ultimately stabilize your income by securing your job even while negotiating a raise.
#3. Use Safe Payment Gateways:
Payment gateways are services that serve as an intermediary between a payment portal and your bank. Today, payment gateways are virtually everywhere. You use them to receive money from a client, pay for services, order products online, and so on.
Unfortunately, however, not all payment gateways are secure. So, to protect yourself from fraudulent transactions, you need to understand how they work and how to ensure your security.
Generally, before making a transaction, you’ll want to certify a business’s reputation online. For example, if you intend to use a web service as a payment gateway for receiving payments, you should first search for its reviews. Is it renowned for insecurity? Have certain people complained about getting ripped off? Many bad reviews about a service are a warning sign.
Also, if you’re at the giving end – trying to purchase a product or something – you need to ensure that the payment gateway in use would keep your information secret. Many web applications encrypt information sent over a network with the aid of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), making it relatively safe to carry out transactions. Beware of those that don’t.
#4. Quit Doing These
- Browsing untrusted sites
- Storing passwords and credit card information in your browser
- Downloading just any email attachment without verifying its source
- Downloading malicious software.
The above are seemingly benign but otherwise dangerous practices undertaken by regular users of the internet while surfing the web. Although the list is far from exhaustive, it does mirror some common practices that lead to security vulnerabilities. The reasons why these are unsafe will be the subject of a more technical topic, some other day. But it’s worthwhile to know that each could be used by malicious crackers to get hold of your freelance earnings and thus must be avoided.
Noteworthy, cyber threats are some of the most profound problems which businesspeople generally face. In fact, facts and figures prove why cyber threats are dangerous for your business and why they should be avoided. Small Biz Trends has it that: 43 percent of cyber attacks target small business. To prove how deleterious cyber attacks are, Denver Post underwent a study and found out that 60 percent of small companies go out of business within six months of a cyber attack.
Despite these, more and more businesses are getting prone to cyber attacks by the day. It’s believed that 48 percent of data security breaches are caused by acts of malicious intent, while human error or system failure account for the rest (Security Intelligence). Also, only 14 percent of small businesses rate their ability to mitigate cyber risks, vulnerabilities and attacks as highly effective (Keeper Security).
#5. Live in a Freelance-Friendly City:
Not all cities are friendly to independent workers. Some cities’ taxes are cut-throat cut-throat, cost of living is abysmal and opportunities, minimal. A company, Zen99, once conducted a study to discover the best cities for freelancers to live in. It came up with 50 such cities in the US
The fact that freelancing offers you liberty to choose where to work should provide enough incentive to help you choose the most favourable city to live in. You’ll need to weigh your options so as to select a city that will most likely meet your freelancing needs. Choose rightly.
It’s cliché to claim that freelancing isn’t a walk in the park; just like every job out there, freelancing comes with its own peculiar problems that freelancers must grapple with in order to be successful. Among these include how to achieve and sustain financial security in the long term. This article has dealt 5 viable ways to make a go of your freelance business.