Setting up a freelance business is an exciting prospect. You get to be your own boss, choose your own clients, and set your own hours.
Of course, being a freelancer also means you have to take on additional responsibilities. As your own boss, you’re responsible for the security of your business. Here are my 7 top ways to protect your freelance business.
In This Post:
1. Take Care of Yourself
When you’re starting up your first freelance business, it’s easy for you to neglect your health. When you burn yourself out, you could end up harming your business.
Working from home is convenient, but make sure you don’t neglect things like socializing and exercise. It might feel productive to spend days inside working on your freelance project, but when you neglect the other aspects of your life, it can actually cause you to slow down mentally.
Make sure you get out of the house frequently and don’t neglect your personal time.
2. Back Up Everything
Data loss can be devastating to your freelance business. In fact, losing data could sometimes spell the end of the line for your company.
These days, there’s no excuse for not backing up your important files. The ideal backup system should be able to account for multiple failures.
Having your files on your computer and on an external hard drive isn’t enough. If your house is broken into, you could end up losing both your backups and the original files.
Not only should you back up your files on physical storage, but you should also use some kind of cloud backup service, such as Dropbox. Cloud backups are easy to use. You can set things up so your important files and folders are automatically uploaded to the cloud.
If you have complex files you need to back up, you might consider working with a managed IT company such as Be Structured technology group.
3. Use Antivirus and Firewall Software
Cyber attacks and viruses can have a devastating impact on your business. A computer virus could take lots of time to recover from, leading to you missing deadlines.
Make sure you’re running antivirus and firewall software to protect your computer from cyber threats. For most users, the software that comes with the Windows 10 operating system is enough. But since you’re using your computer professionally, you might want to consider purchasing premium security software such as ESET Smart Security.
4. Have Backup Equipment
If you rely on certain pieces of technology to do your work, consider owning a backup. For example, say you’re a freelance writer or blogger; your mouse, keyboard, and computer are essential parts of what you do. If you run into any problems with these devices, you might not be able to afford the time it’d take to replace them, especially if you have strict deadlines to meet.
Ideally, you should have backups for everything. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have an exact replica of your current setup on standby. You just need something to make sure you still have the ability to work.
This is especially important if you live somewhere where it’s difficult to get hold of equipment. For instance, your city might have shops that are closed on Sundays.
5. Know How to Recognize Scams
Certain kinds of cyber attacks involve social engineering rather than actually breaking into your computer system or network. With these kinds of attacks, your antivirus software might be of limited use.
To protect your freelance business, make sure you understand how to recognize scams such as phishing. Phishing involves tricking you into revealing your username and password.
Often, this is accomplished by setting up a website that looks identical to the one you’d normally log in to. Take care whenever you enter your username and password.
As a freelance business owner, you might also be targeted by scammers who send you fake invoices. For example, you might receive a letter saying you owe $50 in copyright fees. This scam is effective because some freelancers receive so many invoices they don’t question it when they receive another one.
6. Watch Your Finances
As a freelancer, it’s vital that you carefully keep track of your finances. You need to make sure you pay the appropriate taxes for the work you’re doing and you also need to make sure you set aside the right amount of money to do so.
Consider setting up an account to deposit your tax money so you’re not tempted to spend it. You should set aside around 30% of your total income to account for taxes.
You should also try to keep your levels of debt to a minimum. It might be tempting to scale up as quickly as you can, but this can get out of control and leave you in the red. Smart freelancers know to keep a cash buffer in place in case work dries up.
7. Have an Attorney on Standby
You should always have an attorney on standby in case you run into any legal trouble. If something does happen and you need a lawyer, it’s much better to have one available who you’ve already met and understands both you and your business.
Say, for example, you’re being sued. The situation is already stressful enough without you needing to shop around for a good attorney.
Protect Your Freelance Business by Taking Responsibility
When you first start a freelance business, the responsibility can feel overwhelming. Not only do you need to submit quality work to your clients, but you also need to take care of things like your finances and information backups.
Try not to get discouraged in the beginning. It may seem like you have an awful lot to do, but once you have certain things in place, you don’t need to worry about them as much.
For example, setting up your data backup system to protect your freelance business can take time. But once you have the system in place, you don’t need to do much more with it. After the first few months of initial setup, you’ll find freelancing gets a lot less stressful.
Need some side hustles? Then check out my blog post on 40 side hustles you can take on to work from home!