What are the Start-up Costs for the Freelance Writer?

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Freelancers have perhaps the lowest start-up costs of any business enterprise known to man. After all, most freelancers don’t have to worry about inventory and since most freelancers work from home, they don’t have to rent or buy a business location.  In addition, most freelancers already have some experience in their chosen occupation; some of them have already been doing their proposed freelance work, either as a hobby or to supplement their income.  So what kind of start-up costs do most freelancers have to consider in order to hang out their own shingle?

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Online Freelancing Requires a Computer

Technically, you could go to the public library, but let’s get real. Public libraries have business hours that are not exactly conducive to freelancers and even then, the restrictions imposed won’t help you get ahead either.  Save the library’s computer for emergencies and invest in one of your own if you don’t already have one.  Most likely, you’re going to need specific programs, either now or in the future that you won’t find on public computers so before you can even think seriously about freelancing, you’ll need your own computer.

That’s not to say that you’re going to have to purchase expensive software, or hardware, for that matter, to do your job. In most cases, you won’t need all the bells and whistles but you will need a computer with plenty of good sized hard drive.  Many of the programs you may use in your freelance business can be found free online, depending upon your area of expertise.  However, the more specialized your services are, the more specialized your tools will need to be.  For example, graphic designers will need tools that writers won’t need and photographers will need software that other experts won’t need.

Buy Only What You Really Need at First

While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of being your own boss, it can take a while to generate freelancing income at first so don’t go crazy getting set up in your new business. If you’re considering becoming a freelance photographer, for instance, you probably already have a camera.  If you don’t, you may not have the experience required to freelance anyway so don’t jump off the deep end and buy expensive camera equipment to start a business doing something you have no intimate knowledge about.

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Don’t go Crazy Buying Office Supplies

Freelancers who work online need minimal office supplies. Sure, you need a computer and a printer, pens, paper, and file folders, but keep it simple.  Don’t buy out the office supply store before you’ve made your first dime.  Chances are, you probably already have most of what you need.  Depending on your area of freelancing, you may need more specialized supplies but make sure you really need them before you lay out money you might need to spend for groceries.

Take it easy on the books, too. Although books are my first love, well almost, they can be expensive.  If you’re freelancing as a writer, save that $50 dictionary purchase for when you can really afford it and in the meantime, use the free online dictionaries and other free resources.

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All the best,


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