Ready to quit your job and start freelancing? Wait just a minute! Here are five crucial things you should know about being a freelancer before you start.
Freelancing is an exciting venture, but it’s not for everyone.
Sure, the perks are nice:
You get to make your own hours, be your own boss, and work from anywhere.
But, succeeding as a freelancer takes a lot of effort. You have to market yourself, consistently build skills, and be your own cheerleader.
There may be busy periods when you’re struggling to keep up with your work, and slow periods where you don’t have as much. It’s not all flowers and roses.
So, don’t quit your day job just yet. While freelancing can be a good life, there are some things to consider before you leap into the world of contracting.
Here are five questions to ask yourself before you make the jump:
Freelancing means saying goodbye to the morning commute, and hello to hustling like there’s no tomorrow.
This means finding your own clients and working as long as it takes for you to get the job done. You may not have a boss standing over your shoulder, but now you’re the one responsible for managing your time.
Before you set out on your own, understand there will be a shift in how much time you dedicate to your work. If a client needs their project done by 9:00 AM the next morning, you may have to pull an all-nighter to finish it. The most successful freelancers are as flexible as possible.
And the work doesn’t end when you complete a job. Even when you’re not busy, you’ll have to market yourself and look for new work. Sometimes, this means facing weeks of rejection without getting paid.
So, be ready to hustle. If you have the drive to power through good times and bad ones, you’ll be far more likely to succeed.
It’s exciting when freelance work is consistent. But inevitably, work will slow down at some point.
When that happens, will you be prepared? Do you have enough money to pay your bills until the next gig? These are questions that every freelancer must ask themselves.
Unfortunately, stability isn’t a job perk for independent contractors. If you jump into freelancing, you must be comfortable with uncertainty. Even if work feels steady, it could slow down at any time.
If you’re a strong financial planner and you’re willing to roll with the tide, then freelancing may be your cup of tea.
But if you’re scared by instability, you should reconsider whether this is the right career path.
Most jobs require a variety of skills. Even if you were a doctor, you might still need to know how to create a spreadsheet.
In a traditional workplace, there are training programs to teach you these skills. But as a self-employed contractor, you’ll have to learn them on your own.
If you’re a freelance marketer, for example, your clients might expect you to know about social media, SEO, and blogging. If you lack these skills, you’ll miss out on opportunities.
Part of being a freelancer is learning how to improve your existing skills. In order to secure gigs, you should be as well-rounded as possible.
So, you’ll have to take the time to educate yourself and fill in the gaps in your skillset. Yes, it may sound challenging, but it pays off in the long run.
Speaking of skills…
If you’re leaving your job to be your own boss, you probably already have some talents to market.
But that’s not enough. You must be very confident in your skills.
After all, people are going to pay you for your services. If something goes wrong, the fault falls on you.
The fear of freelancing is easy to get over. To increase your confidence, all you need is to get your feet wet doing a few projects. The more experience you collect, the more confident you’ll become.
But, you should be 100% positive that you’re talented enough to sell your services before you attempt to do so. The rest will follow, and you can learn along the way.
A large part of being a freelancer is meeting goals. To meet your goals, you must set them, and you should come up with new ones regularly.
Here are a few examples of goals you might set:
- Sticking to an 8 AM – 5 PM schedule (or at least trying)
- Learning a new software program
- Saying “no” to clients when you’re feeling overwhelmed and overworked
- Saving enough money to pay your bills for six months
Regardless or whether the goal is large or small, setting goals will keep you on track to success. They’ll give you a roadmap to guide you when the journey gets turbulent.
Freelancing is a popular profession. Many people earn a good income working for themselves.
But in order to thrive in this field, you must have confidence and be ready to work hard.
If you decide freelancing is right for you, it may take some time to learn the ins and outs of working independently. Not to mention, you’ll be working for multiple clients and not just one.
I have to admit:
It’s nice to be able to work at home in your PJs. But, you’ll have to learn to set work-life boundaries in order to stay sane.
Are you ready to take advantage of everything the gig economy has to offer? If so, why not give it a shot?
Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He has over ten years of experience in the student housing industry and works with dwell Tenn Street to help them with their marketing efforts.