Tips For Becoming A Successful Freelancer After Moving To Canada

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Moving to another country can be an anxiety-fuelled time. However, it’s also a moment of fun and adventure. Choosing to live and work in Canada is a phenomenal choice for those searching for an exciting new environment with plenty of opportunities, both for work and leisure. However, while this can be an amazing new chapter in your life as a freelancer, there are still plenty of things you’re going to have to do to ensure that you have a successful time after moving here. We’ve listed some of the most important things you’ll need to consider to ensure that everything goes according to plan and that you have the best experience possible in Canada.

The Benefits Of Being A Freelancer

It’s worthwhile talking about the benefits of this decision to freelance in Canada, as it’s important to strengthen your resolve and reassure yourself that it’s a perfectly acceptable choice, even if at times it can feel tough. Flexibility is one of the best things about being a freelancer, and while it’s important to manage this flexibility properly by remaining as professional as possible, which we’ll discuss later, it can be a great benefit to you as a professional and a personal level. Freelancing also allows you to pursue your dreams much more than you may be able to when being in full-time employment. This is partly due to the flexibility, but being your boss allows you to choose what to focus on in your professional life. Of course, freelancing also opens the door to full-time career opportunities if you decide that you want to change pace in the future. Working with businesses as a freelancer will allow you to demonstrate your value and skill without being beholden to them.

Forging A Strong Network

The first thing you’ll want to consider as a professional when moving to Canada, whether you’re looking for a permanent job or are planning to stick with freelancing, is building up your professional network. It’s a good idea to do this as early as possible, and preferably before you move, as you may find opportunities ready for you once you arrive. However, it’s never too late to start doing this. Use social media sites like Linkedin to connect with other professionals either within your industry or that could benefit from your abilities. There’s no shame in reaching out to people in this way to spark up a business relationship and enquire about potential work. It’s also a good idea to search for networking events where you could go along and speak to other like-minded individuals or business owners and managers who may need your talents.

Register Your Business

Once you’ve got your business into a functional state, you’re now going to have to register your company before you start doing work for people if you intend for it to become its entity. This must be done through the Canadian government and can be hugely beneficial for you. Of course, you could continue onwards simply as a freelancer without being attributed to your own business, but the benefits are worth considering. Registering under a business may significantly boost your reputation within your network and increase the chances that more companies will want to work with you. You’re also going to have access to tax benefits when operating as a registered business rather than as a self-employed individual, and you’ll also gain protection for your assets and possessions if there are ever any legal issues involving your company.

Know Your Value

Depending on how new you are to the world of freelancing, you’ll likely be unsure as to what exactly you should be charging people for your services. It may even be a source of great anxiety for you to negotiate a price, and you may end up doing work for next to nothing. But remember, if a business approaches you for work, they need your services. In many instances, a business owner will respect the price you put forward; however, this doesn’t go for everyone. Plenty of businesses out there will try to squeeze other professionals, especially younger and inexperienced ones, for everything they’ve got. Remember that if a business owner tries to claim that exposure and experience are more valuable than the payment you’re asking for, they really don’t have your best interests at heart and merely want you to work for free. If a business can’t afford to pay you, then they’re not worth working for.

Managing Your Taxes

Something that all of us need to think about is keeping our taxes in order. This is especially important for freelancers, as there’s no employer above you managing your paycheck and deducting your taxes. Instead, this is something you have to worry about yourself. However, doing your taxes is not as complicated as you may fear, especially if you keep on top of things. Using software like this 2021 tax calculator for Alberta, you can identify exactly how much you’ll have to deduct from your earnings to pay your taxes. Once you’ve done that, put aside that money each month and don’t touch it. Consider it to no longer be a part of your finances as it will be required once you have to pay your taxes. Keep a record of everything you make throughout the year so that it’s all at hand once the tax season comes around. As a freelancer, you’ll have to fill out a T2125 form specifically designed for those who are self-employed. Having all of your detailed logs together will allow you to fill this out much easier than searching around for every invoice and receipt.

Become An Invoice Wizard

An important aspect of working as a freelancer is keeping your invoices in order. It can be easy to forget to send an invoice, and while you can issue an invoice any time within two years of providing a service, forgotten and delayed invoices can lead to a loss of earnings. This can be disastrous for a freelancer. Don’t forget many companies will happily pay you on time and within the generally accepted 30-day time limit of when an invoice is issued. But in some cases, it may be necessary to chase up those invoices if the client is dragging their heels. Of course, many businesses will set out a day each month to which they pay all invoices together, and that 30-day time limit should cover this. To ensure you get paid for your services in a good timeframe, though, you should try to issue your invoices as soon as possible after completing the job. Try to aim to get that invoice to your client within 48 hours so that you reduce your risk of forgetting to issue it in the first place.

Remain Focused

The flexibility of being a freelancer can be both a blessing and a curse. The freedom to pursue your job as you see fit is great for creating a healthy work/life balance for yourself. Unfortunately, this also comes with the risk of getting distracted by the potential overlap of your personal life with your professional work. Try to stay as focused as possible on your workload and create a routine for you to follow to encourage you to stay on track. As well as this, try setting boundaries, wherever possible, for yourself and your friends and family. Let people know when you’re working and shouldn’t be disturbed, and try to treat that time as your professional time. Get into the mindset of being in the office during this time. If you’re working from home, get dressed, have something to eat, and start at the time you set for yourself without fail. This will remove the temptation to just do the work whenever you feel like it and will help you get into a positive and productive mindset.

Create A Business Plan

When working as a freelancer, it’s important to consider creating your business plan to follow, and this will allow you to identify goals and stick to a general guide during your work. Writing a business plan is fairly straightforward, and it’s worth remembering that your freelancer business plan doesn’t necessarily need to include everything that a larger company would include either. Your business plan should include your long-term targets as well as your budget. It should also contain your plans for managing unexpected issues such as a lack of work coming your way. The best way to handle this issue is to create an emergency fund within your budget and plan to set a portion of your income aside for it after each invoice is paid.

Take Care Of Yourself

When working alone as a freelancer, it’s easy to lose sight of the reasons you’ve chosen to do it in the first place. The chances are, you were looking for a more forgiving work schedule and added flexibility, which should be helping you to remain motivated and positive while working. However, the stress of freelancing along with regular feelings of isolation can start to harm your mental and physical health. Don’t forget to take care of yourself during this time and allow some time to get away from work regularly. To help yourself with this, make use of the boundaries you set and stick to your routine. Make sure that you switch off from work entirely once you’re finished for the day.

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