The number of freelance workers has been steadily increasing over the past few years, and if you have a creative skill such as photography, writing, or web design, then your skills are in demand.
You may even have thought about freelancing yourself but are either too afraid to make the leap or are unsure whether it will fit in with your lifestyle.
Freelancing isn’t for everyone, but the benefits can be huge for those who are successful. I’ve put together this guide to help you decide whether the freelance life is for you.
Flexible working hours – the key selling point of working as a freelancer. You can take holidays without any restrictions. You can juggle your schedule to make room for personal appointments and other commitments. You can work Sundays instead of Mondays, or evenings instead of mornings. Freelancing is ideal for busy parents with childcare issues and anyone who wants to work outside of the usual 9 to 5.
Being your own boss – As a freelancer, you don’t have anyone to answer to except yourself. I find this particularly motivating and empowering, setting my own rules and directly seeing the benefits of all my hard work.
Job satisfaction & fulfillment – Aside from freelancing, I’ve dreaded almost every other job I’ve had. On a Sunday evening, I would feel ill at the thought of having to go to work the next day. But since I’ve started working for myself, that feeling has completely disappeared! Now I look forward to each day, as I’m constantly learning and developing while doing something I love.
Variety – One day, I could be writing about top holiday destinations, and the next, I’m doing a sales page for a gas and electric company. No two days are ever the same.
Work from anywhere – your bedroom, home office, coworking space, coffee shop, abroad. The possibilities are endless.
No daily commute – enough said!
Irregular work schedule – Not having set working hours means that some days you’ll have to put in a 16-hour shift to get things done on time. Effective planning and scheduling can reduce these instances, although, on some occasions, you may still have to work longer hours.
No holiday pay or benefits – Any time you take off work will be unpaid. Also, you won’t have any in-work benefits such as private medical insurance, gym membership, or company pension.
Admin and accounting – It’s surprising how much time you spend on administration work as a Freelancer. Again, this is all unpaid since you can’t bill for the hours spent on these tasks.
No regular payment schedule – It’s difficult to budget for household costs and expenses as a freelancer since you don’t have a regular payment date each month. You need to budget well in advance, as some months you may have loads of money coming in, while some months you don’t earn as much.
Loneliness – Not having colleagues around can feel incredibly lonely at times. You have to ensure you still get out and about and interact with other people.
There is no blueprint or guide – you have to do it for yourself and learn from your mistakes.
So, how do I know if freelancing is for me?
- Have you struggled to fit in at work in a typical office environment?
- Would you be happy managing an irregular payment schedule?
- Are you happy to work on your own for long periods at a time?
- Do you have experience in your chosen field?
- Do you have the self-discipline to work from home and not be distracted by family members, television, social media?
- Would you be confident in hustling for business and promoting your services?
- Do you love what you do?
- Do you have a backup plan?
If you can answer “yes” to most of the above, then freelancing might be a great career move for you!
If You’re Unsure About Freelancing
Try it out first. Do a bit of moonlighting as a freelancer in your free time. That’s how I got started. I worked 40 hours a week in my regular job, and I did some freelancing during weekends and evenings. Sure, I didn’t have much of a social life during this period, but it’s worth it to find out whether freelancing is really for you.
I loved the feeling that I was working for myself instead of a horrible boss, and I was much more motivated as a result. If you find that freelancing isn’t for you, you can go back to your usual job, no harm is done. It doesn’t hurt to find out. It could just be the best decision you ever made.
So there you have it. Freelancing needn’t be daunting or intimidating. Hopefully, this guide will help you decide whether to freelance or not, and I’d love to hear any comments or suggestions below.