You don’t need Money & Mimosas to tell you that being a freelancer has its benefits. Everyone knows that by now, and it’s why we’re in something of a freelance boom. In fact, estimates suggest that an astounding 40% of the U.S. population could be working independently by as early as 2020.
Many freelancers pursue this path for the freedom and flexibility in schedule. You get to pick your hours. If you need to free up the next day, you could opt to work through the evening to make up the time. However a challenge may arise when you get sick. Whether an illness is short or long-lived, it can unravel your freelancer budget if you are not prepared.
Do you have to deal with long-term illness and injury on no earnings at all? Not necessarily. Falling sick as a freelancer does not mean have to be a catastrophic financial event. In reality, dealing with the cost of freelancer illness is more a case of putting precautionary measures in place. Let’s take a look at your options.
Look into getting insurance
Insurance can be the freelancer’s best friend. Most notably, this applies to health insurance. Without this, you could face expensive medical costs compounded at the same time as lost money from time off. That’s a recipe for disaster. But, you may also want to seek more generalized freelancer insurance. While this can be more expensive, there are options which cover sick pay for you. That can be invaluable for bringing back some of the security you enjoyed in your office job.
It pays to know your rights
Too often we assume that rights are an employment-only thing, and in some cases that is true. But, you still have rights on a personal basis. If someone else is responsible for an injury or illness which leads to time off, for instance, it’s vital to remember that you have the legal right to take action. Contacting a personal injury attorney in such events could at least financially cover the work you lose. Note, too, that it’s down to you to dictate how long a job will take when you start it. By adding a few days to each estimate, you buy a little wiggle room and exercise your right to buy yourself some (kind of) covered sick pay. And you impress your client if you finish early!
Save for rainy days
As freelancers we are always told to save, which can be challenging to do with a variable income. But as best as we can, it is good to practice this habit. The fact is that you are your employer now, and it’s down to you to pay those sick days. If you get in the habit of saving something as small as 10% of each commission, you should soon find that you can pretty much cover all the days you miss ill in a year. That alone can help you to pay for your sick leave no matter why or when it happens.
About Money & Mimosas: Money & Mimosas was started as a passion project by Danetha, a former NFL cheerleader turned entrepreneur and financial journalist. After a brunch conversation with girlfriends, Danetha was inspired to launch a resource to explore her journey to achieving financial independence and maintaining financial well-being.