Aussies continue to be allured by the freedoms of freelance employment. Not only are companies evolving to utilise remote and short term contractors but the mainstream adoption, of what's been dubbed the 'gig economy', means more workers across further industries have the flexibility to work how and where they want.
But with less structural and hierarchical oversight comes fewer operational processes that enable workers to function and communicate effectively. Best practices are largely placed on the shoulders of the individual and unfortunately freelance life doesn't come with a handbook. Heed our tips and ensure you spend less time making mistakes and more time learning from those made by others before you.
Tech and hardware
All too often, freelancers under invest in their technology. Purchase hardware that will do the job and then some. Ensure you have factory warranty in case anything out of your control goes wrong and spend money on purchasing high quality accessories. Budget cables, chargers and adaptors break easily, charge slowly and cost you more in the long run. Keep the receipts. It's all tax deductible if related to your business.
Bag it up
When you're on the go, you'll want to ensure your hardware is adequately protected.
Brands like LowPro, Vanguard and Manfrotto make high quality protective backpacks with all kinds of compartments for effective space efficient packing on-the-go.
Make sure you purchase something that holds the entirety of your mobile office and can fit into an overhead bin to ensure you can hop on and off flights with ease.
Communication is key
Whether you're bouncing from café to café or country to country, ensure you have the right comms for the job. Upgrade your smartphone and ensure you have high storage capacity. Utalise messaging platforms like Whatsapp and grab a local sim with a heavy stack of data to ensure you can hotspot on the go.
If you're working in an area with sketchy Wi-Fi, look into purchasing a micro hotspot from brands like HTC or TP-Link. Cloud based collaboration software such as Slack or Hipchat will help you keep in touch with teams or collaborators.
Co-working spaces are everywhere now. Many offer weekly or even individual passes so if travelling, reach out to see if you can secure a deal in advance.
Bigger brands like We-Work and Spaces offer access to a global network. Coffee shops and hotels also afford remote workers an easy place to get things done. Some even have dedicated working spaces.
Need a quick email check? Be cheeky and pop into a hotel, café or art gallery lobby for 15 minutes and borrow their connection. Staying in an Airbnb? Ask you host for an internet speed test.
Back it up
Safety and security is everything when you're working remotely. Protect yourself with heavy duty cloud based backup.
Dropbox, Google, Degoo, Mega and pCloud all offer great storage for small business with some offering additional share, team and collaboration tools to support workflow. Make sure if you lose your hardware your work product will be easily accessible from other devices. Data is more valuable than hardware.
Forget your word doc invoices and get set up on a professional accountancy system like Xero or MYOB. They'll not only help with your BAS and TAX return but nudge overdue clients for payment too. Free stripped back versions include Wave or Quickbooks, if you can't spare the monthly subscription fee.
The downside to working for yourself is not being covered by company insurance. Make sure you're au fait with the coverage you need.
Look at things like public liability, health, hardware and loss of income insurance. Basic cover can be obtained relatively cheaply and a proportion can be claimed back at the end of the year. Don't forget to contribute to your superannuation fund too.
Dial a mate
Create your specialised circle of friends. Make sure you have access to the professionals that can service your business needs on the go. Find an accountant and lawyer that can be hired on a case-by-case basis swerving monthly retainer bills.
Looking to appear bigger than you are? Look into remote secretary services from companies like The Virtual Assistant or get help with your admin from companies like Outsource Workers or The Admin Guru.