Self-employment: 10 professional tips for organizing

In partnership with Promutuel Insurance

Ah! The freedom to control your schedule and choose your mandates! The world of self-employment is full of promise, but also comes with many responsibilities. As a self-employed person, you can’t count on a steady paycheck, so it’s best to prepare well to get the most out of your new career. Here are some tips and tool suggestions to get you started on the right foot in the world of freelancing!

1. Create your own workplace
Working in bed, at the kitchen table, or on the couch with your computer on your lap may look cool in the photo, but in reality, it’s a good way to be uncomfortable and downright anti-ergonomic.

Take care to designate a dedicated corner for work with a real desk at the right height and a comfortable chair. An enclosed office is ideal, but above all, make sure you separate your living space from your working space. This will help you differentiate between work hours and your personal life.

2. Organize your agenda well
Self-employment freedom is only possible if you achieve your goals. This is why time management is so important to avoid costly time wastage.

There is no magic formula or secret trick to managing your schedule well: only time will tell you which way is best. However, there are some programs that can make your job easier:
• a virtual calendar associated with your email address, such as iCalendar or Google Calendar;
• A tool for scheduling appointments with your clients, such as Calendly;
• To-do list software such as Todoist or TeuxDeux;
• Time tracking software to calculate how much time you spend on each project or task, such as Toggl or Clockify.

It’s also possible that a good old paper diary and whiteboard are perfect for you. The key is to take a critical look at the hours you work to determine if they are profitable.

3. Avoid distractions
Some self-employed people like the Pomodoro technique to increase their productivity and limit distractions. Just make a to-do list and get a timer. Techies will love the virtual timer with checklist. Each work cycle is followed by a small break as a reward, in addition to the satisfaction of ticking a box that gives a sense of progress.

If the urge to constantly open social networks or YouTube is too strong, you can choose a Google Chrome extension as a distraction, which temporarily blocks all sites that tend to drag the search.

4. Take advantage of free software
There are a number of free tools that may be useful or help you while you wait to get the more fully paid version:
• Canva lets you create smooth-looking quality visuals for social media presentations or content. This is an effective tool when you don’t have access to the services or talent of a graphic designer!
• The Pocket extension in Google Chrome lets you save and organize the links you want to keep. You can add labels (tags) to group them better;
• Signing documents without printing HelloSign is very practical. Be sure to check the information security terms of use before entering confidential information into any software. Make sure your data is well protected and choose the paid and secure version if you feel it is necessary.

5. Master collaboration tools
Even if you work “alone”, you’ll probably need to collaborate with clients or other freelancers on some projects. This is where collaboration tools come in handy:
• Asana and Trello are two project management tools that provide an overview of all milestones and allow you to assign tasks and feedback to your teammates. They’re also good for scheduling your tasks if you like that approach;
• Slack is a type of digital communications headquarters where each channel is dedicated to a project or topic. Thus, the client can invite you to the channel of interest, chat, drop files and call.

6. Keep your accounts up to date
Accounting is one of the common pitfalls that self-employed workers, novices or experienced individuals alike encounter. You can choose virtual bookkeeping with Quebec software Momenteo or Quickbooks to ensure you’re writing the right price to the right client, getting paid on time, and getting your tax-deductible expenses right.

7. Know your tax obligations
Fast-track or abbreviated method of calculating taxes, $30,000 threshold, installment payments, deductible expenses: the world of self-employment comes with special tax obligations. Know which one is right for your situation to avoid costly penalties. If necessary, call an accountant or tax professional to fully understand the rules that must be followed.

8. Be well insured
Did you know that a change in your employment status can affect your home insurance? Depending on the type of business you do, you may need to take out business insurance to cover your work equipment and civil liability, among other things. If you work from home, the insurer should also be notified to determine if an update to your insurance file is required.

9. Resist loneliness
Sometimes you can feel isolated because you no longer have colleagues to talk to during breaks or dinner. If it affects your productivity or morale, don’t hesitate to get some fresh air by going to a coffee shop (again, be careful about shared personal information!), and connect with other freelancers in your field or region. to rent a place coworking safe.

10. Know how to take it
The more our work environment merges with our living environment, the more we tend to blur the line between the two. Finishing a file in the evening or working a few hours on a Sunday isn’t a problem in itself, but know how to set your limits so that it doesn’t intrude too much on your privacy. It’s hard for a freelancer to say no, especially before the fear of losing a client, but sometimes it’s important. Learn how to protect your mental health and instead rely on your skills and desire to succeed!

With a well-organized agenda, a dedicated workspace, and the right tools, your personal journey is on track. Good luck!

This content is produced by Le Devoir’s special editions team in collaboration with the advertiser. The editorial staff of Le Devoir had no role in the production of this content.

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