We all know that starting a business from scratch is not easy and it doesn’t only take hard work. Ideally, one should pursue freelancing as a ‘side gig’, while keeping a steady job, which will pay the bills, cover the debt, put food on the table and theoretically help save some money. This is the theory at least.
And yet it doesn’t always work like this.
When I started freelancing (taking it seriously, I’ve been ‘playing’ the freelancer for around 5 years already), my situation was far from being perfect. I just lost my job and the industry I was working in (mass media) was absolutely ‘dead’ in my city.
The best salary I could hope for was 40% of my previous one and wouldn’t quite cover my car payments, lest give me enough to live, save, pay taxes etc. It was clear to me that my future was no longer in this area, no matter how passionate I was to be working as a radio DJ and have my own daily show.
I wasn’t even halfway through my car payments (started 16 months ago and had to make 48 payments), not to mention that I had to pay taxes for my small freelancing business (and in my country these taxes are taken NO MATTER WHAT). So, even if you actually make NOTHING for months, the Romanian state has no problems with asking you to pay a ton of taxes.
The ideal situation would have been for me to have some savings put aside, so that my ‘starting budget’ would be enough to push my small business forward. Yet, I had NOTHING. Oh, excuse me, I did have something: debt and taxes.
So what did I really have?
1. a working computer
As I already mentioned in the ‘about my debt‘ post days ago, I did have a decent computer, so at least I could do the freelancing work and not worry about the PC crashing down every time I had to save a Photoshop file.
2. an internet connection
Fortunately for me, the internet connections were pretty cheap in 2009, compared to what we’d pay 10 years ago for instance. It was fast enough for any of my work, not to mention almost no downtime.
3. me, myself and I
The third element I needed was myself. With a computer and an internet connection, I was able to start doing some serious work for the next months and get my small business off the ground.
I would have loved being able to have a budget to pay for my taxes and solve my debt, but it wasn’t the case. Fortunately money started coming (not much at first, but it was still OK) and it allowed me to keep up with the payments and be able to earn a living.
Starting out as a freelancer (depending on your specialty) might not cost as much as some would think. Sure, it’s always a good idea to save money first, so that you do have even a small budget for any expenses that might arise. I was lucky to make it work like this, but it’s surely not the ideal way to start out.
How about you? How much money did you need to start freelancing? Did you have savings? A budget?