Tools & resources
Created and curated by Samaschool for freelancers.
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Online Work Profile Setup
Preparing for an Interview
Contracts & Invoices
Taxes & Retirement
Community & Blogs
Online Work Profile Setup
Getting your online work profile setup correctly will help you stand out from the crowd and win more work. A complete profile may include the following components:
"About Me" description
Portfolio / work examples
Work categories and skills
Education and work experience
If you're looking for an online work platform, start with the Work Finder, or check out the blog SideHusl to view platforms by work category.
For staffing agencies, start with a Google search for staffing agencies in your city (i.e. "Staffing agencies in San Francisco").
For online job boards, check out our curated list below.
Writing a good proposal is an important part of securing freelance work, since many clients use proposals as a way to compare potential freelancers to one another. A good proposal should accomplish six things:
Introduce yourself and your service offering
Explain why you're a good fit for the job
Highlight your experience and qualifications (as they relate to the job)
Link to your portfolio or other work samples
Provide your availability
Suggest a followup call or interview
To get started, try using our Proposal Generator, or one of our Proposal Templates, to create a draft. Be sure to customize it to express your personal brand, and proofread it before sending to the client.
Preparing for an interview
It's important to prepare for each interview, since this is your main opportunity to impress the client and convince them to hire you.
We recommend carefully reviewing the job description, doing some internet research on the client (if it is a company), and writing down a few questions to ask them about the project.
Remember, the more you can understand about what the client is hoping to achieve by hiring you, the better off you'll be during the interview.
Contracts & invoices
It's important to have a contract in place before you begin work for a client. If you aren't using an online work platform, use one of the tools below to generate a contract, and make sure it is signed by both you and the client.
If you just need a contract, use Shake. If you want additional features, like invoicing, time tracking, and analytics, consider one of the other services.
Freelancers do not receive insurance or benefits, including health insurance, workman's comp, vacation/paid time off, 401k, or other retirement benefits. Additionally, most online work platforms provide little, if any, general liability insurance to workers.
At the very least, we recommend that you purchase your own health insurance — we recommend Stride Health, but there are also many state healthcare exchanges that offer similar services. Search Google for other health insurance options for your state.
We also recommend getting general liability insurance if you do a lot of in-person work and plan on making freelancing a major source of income. Plans are often quite affordable, and could be less than $20 a month — we recommend Verifly or Next Insurance.
Taxes & retirement savings
As a freelancer, you only need to pay taxes if you earn $400 or more over the course of the year.
If you expect to owe more than $1,000 in a given tax year (after subtracting withholding and refundable credits) you are required to pay quarterly estimated taxes or you'll face a penalty. This penalty is variable and approximates 4%, but only for the period of the underpayment. For example, the penalty on $1,000 paid 30 days late would be 4% x $1,000 x 30/365 or $3.28.
If you freelance only (no full-time or part-time work) and have zero withholdings, you should pay quarterly taxes if you expect to earn $6,500 or more per year.
For 2019, the quarterly tax payment dates are:
Earnings made January 1 - March 31: payment due April 15, 2019
Earnings made April 1 - May 31: payment due June 15, 2019
Earnings made June 1 - August 31: payment due September 15, 2019
Earnings made September 1 - December 31: payment due January 15, 2020
You can make payments through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) or one of the other methods listed in IRS Form 1040-ES. For more information, read this article from turbotax.
In terms of filing your taxes, we recommend if you earned less than $66,000 last year. This is a free service provided by H&R Block and the United Way, and is the best way to get a truly free tax filing software for both state and federal taxes.
If you've earned more than $66,000 and are willing to pay for the easiest experience, we like TurboTax Self-Employed, although this will run you about $160 to file both state and federal taxes.
Community & blogs
Freelancing can be a lonely pursuit, but it doesn't need to be. Join our Samaschool alumni community to interact with other people in our network, or check out Reddit to chat with other freelancers.
If you're interested in learning more from freelance experts, check out some of the blogs and podcasts listed below.