Today more than ever, planning for periods of unemployment while maintaining your family the best way you can is a critical component of getting through tough times. Unemployment help isn’t nearly as helpful as politicians would like us to believe, and unemployment insurance benefits hover over the chopping block of government programs as politicians and companies seek ways to reduce expenses. Even Freelancing online has taken a significant hit in recent years, but it can still help you to keep your head above water.
Unemployment insurance benefits replacement
There was a time when a single-income family was affluent and could reasonable be assured that when they turned 65, they would be able to retire comfortably, perhaps buy a small vacation cabin somewhere and live the “snowbird” lifestyle. Unfortunately, those days have come to an end, as even those who are currently retired face steeply mounting debt, the inability to compete in a workforce that is shrinking and increasingly is moving good paying jobs overseas. They aren’t alone. Even college graduates, assured by their educational institutions that their advanced degrees would earn them top-paying positions and a healthy slice of the American dream are finding themselves out in the cold, often hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and stuck with minimum-wage jobs, if they can find any job at all. For these students and retirees, unemployment assistance, unemployment insurance and benefits are unobtainable. After all, you can’t collect unemployment benefits if you’ve been retired or in school full-time.
Professional Freelancing Work
More and more, companies are turning to freelancing or contract work to save on expenses, while unemployed professionals are turning to freelancing to earn a living. Once solely the realm of artists and writers, freelancing has expanded in recent years to include professions such as motivational speaking, business advising and even landscaping. Considering yourself a freelancer is the same as considering yourself a small businessperson. You just have to open your eyes to the possibilities. Depending on one revenue stream from Freelancing, though, particularly if you choose to freelance online, is a poor approach to regaining financial independence.
Consider for a moment your strengths. What are you good at? This doesn’t necessarily mean what you were good at in your old job, but rather what are your interests? Perhaps you have a fondness for vegetable gardening or tending to your lawn. Maybe you enjoy espousing the benefits of siding with a specific political cause. Even someone who considers themselves relatively unskilled may be surprised to find that you have skills you’ve never tapped into.
There are primarily two categories of freelancing that can replace unemployment insurance and get you back on your feet again. The first is physical freelancing. This is what an auto mechanic might do if they are laid off and begin taking work in their garage. The second is mental freelancing. This form involves distributing what you know in the same way that a writer produces information to sell to magazines. Both essentially operate the same way- with locating and performing work in exchange for payment, generally done by yourself or within your family.
While you’re working out ways to freelance, you need to also be conscious of your existing bills. What is the bare minimum you need in order to get by? Organize your bills and your debt, leaving out non-necessities such as cable bills or eating out. This bare-bones number is what you will need to make as a freelancer to get by without unemployment insurance. Food and clothing are easier to come by than you might think, so put those needs aside for now. Let your neighbors and friends know that you will be beginning to do freelancing work, and the terms for payment that you’ll accept. While they themselves may not have work you can do, they might just know someone who does. This is called word of mouth advertisement, and it’s one of the most successful ways of getting your name out there in front of potential customers.
The first few jobs you take, make a mental note to yourself about how long it took to complete the project, the relative amount of effort necessary to do the work, and finally, how much you invested into the project. It is from this calculation that you will be able to tell whether your pricing fits your needs. While you should set a weekly goal for how much you will make during unemployment, you also have to be considerate of how much each project costs to complete.
Eventually, you may get to the point at which you feel secure in knowing that your freelancing work is as lucrative or more so than the job you held before you became unemployed. If this is the case, You may wish to begin working professionally in your capacity as a freelancer, and you’ll have to begin taking care of taxes, particularly if you plan to open up shop and do more than traditional word-of-mouth advertising. If this is the case, and you don’t want to have to rely on unemployment insurance again, begin setting aside at least 1/3 of what you make in freelancing for taxes, remembering not only federal taxes, but local and state taxes, as well. Once you’ve begun paying taxes on your freelance earnings, you can say without reservation that you are no longer fettered by the unemployment bonds that keep many Americans from striking out on their own. That, in a nutshell, is the essence of a true capitalist society, one in which unemployment insurance is no longer necessary for anyone.
About.com: Freelancing – Guide to Freelancing; Randy Duermyer; homebusiness.about.com