For some, the idea of being a freelancer is rather appealing. To be someone who creates or finds work for themselves by making use of their abilities to write, perform or provide any kind of service.
What does it entail
If you want to be a freelancer, you need to have responsibility, motivation and understand independence. It can be a lonely road with bits of work here and there when you start out and you’ll be sacrificing many luxuries before your name really gets out there and brings you proper business.
But, besides the risk, there are advantages to going down the freelancing route.
Control: You have control over the amount of work you pile on your desk and you set your own due dates (according to the client’s request, of course). There is no need to overload yourself with work, you call the shots. And if a client is causing too many problems, let them go. You’re the boss.
Balance: Working as a freelancer gives you the freedom and flexibility to set your own hours, decide on your own work environment and, as previously mentioned, set your workload. This means you have the ability to find a work/life balance that allows you to maintain a healthy lifestyle, spend time with your family or even make sure you get the amount of sleep you need.
Time: As you are in charge of your work hours and office, you save time on travelling to and from a set office and can choose to spend that saved time however you like. How about doing some sales and marketing courses online in your spare time? You could use those skills without needing a marketing department or sales team to get client work for you.
Profits: All profits will go to you. You are the sole service provider and there is nobody to split your profits in favour of the company.
Recognition: Just as all the profits go to you, so does all the glory. You no longer need to feel unacknowledged for the hard work you do as you may have experienced in your office job. You will receive your due recognition and your reputation will be built purely on your work done under your name, not the name of some corporate bully.
It’s not all sunshine and daisies being your own boss and, although you may really be enjoying the work you’re doing, work is still work at the end of the day. Stress is still a real thing and because you’re a one-man show, there’s a lot you need to do for yourself that you never had to worry about before.
Unreliable: As nice as it is to choose your own clients, you do need to find them and try to keep a consistent amount of work going in order for you to “survive”. Freelancing can be an unreliable source of income with few jobs here and there when what you really need is returning client work and a large enough client base to keep you afloat without drowning in the workload.
Responsibility: You are responsible for everything that happens during your freelancing venture. Run out of time for a project? That means you didn’t budget your personal and work times properly and you’re likely to lose the job. Didn’t make a profit this month? That means you’re not getting paid, despite the time you’ve put in. You hold full responsibility and accountability in every department. And that can be extremely stressful.
Lonely: The reality is, you are alone. It’s you and your set of skills, occasionally meeting with clients, but mostly working on your own. But you could always work in public areas like cafes to keep yourself from feeling too lonely.
Multitasker: Considering yourself as a multitasker is generally a good thing. But as a freelancer, it means that you have to take on the roles of every department in a business, basically. You need to be sales and get in clients, marketing to get your name out there, a specialist in your service offering, accountant and the legal person working out client contracts. Skills you need to learn and perfect if you want to be in the freelance business.
You need to decide for yourself whether the freelance route is something you would be able to pull-off and handle. It definitely isn’t something for everyone, but, if you can get it right, it is definitely worth the risk.
So… do you still want to be a freelancer?