One of the biggest growth areas in terms of job types in recent years has been the rise of the freelancer. This is someone who is self-employed or maybe is even their own company. They work with other businesses or individuals offering freelance services. There are nearly countless different types of job you can try in this area but how do you know if it is the right choice for you?
Is it right for you?
Being a freelancer of any description has its pros and cons. Even some of the things that might seem like a major benefit can also be a major downside – you can have whatever holidays you want but remember you won’t get paid when you don’t work is just one example. You can work whatever hours you want but you are the only person to get things done and you don’t get paid if the work isn’t finished.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help evaluate if the freelance career option is right for you.
1. Can you manage your time?
If you are someone who needs to be chased to do things and lacks the drive to get things done without a boss over your shoulder, then freelancing might not be right for you. There’s nothing wrong with that but you need to recognize this trait. If you can manage your time, motivate yourself and make sure stuff gets done, then you could have the right mentality for the freelance life.
2. Can you bounce back?
Being your own business can be difficult and if you get knocks, you need to bounce back. If you take things to heart and find it hard to recover from knock-backs, then the freelance life might not be for you. Having a support network of other freelancers, friends and family can help as well.
3. Can you market yourself?
Some people aren’t comfortable marketing themselves and what they do but to get work, you need to do just this. There are lots of different ways and there’s no need to be old-fashioned salesy to get work. But you need to market yourself, network and showcase what you do in different ways to get those clients.
4. Do you love learning and being challenged?
Often being a freelancer means constantly being challenged and learning new things. Even if you have decades experience in your industry, there are still new things to learn. And then there’s the whole business of being a business – admin, bookkeeping, marketing, client networking. There’s always something new to learn.
Why you might want to be a freelancer
If you answered positively to these questions above, then you are already in a good position to consider a freelance career. But why would you want to be a freelancer?
You are the boss
Top of any list of reasons to become a freelancer is the benefit of being your own boss. Unless you are very lucky, there’s a chance you have run into a less than admirable boss or manager at some point in your career. The idea of removing that person from your life is a big benefit.
But there’s also something to remember about this. Being the boss also means the responsibility is all yours. There’s no one to blame if things go wrong. No one to refer the awkward customer to. So bear in mind that being the boss means being in charge. If you are good with that, you have a ticked box.
You control the business direction
Like the dodgy manager, we have most all worked in situations where the business has taken a direction that seemed baffling or counter-intuitive. We’ve been left scratching our heads. Being your own company means you set the course, decide where the company is going and make the big choices. Like being the boss that also means the big responsibility but at least you can stand behind what you chose with confidence.
Time and location freedom
If you are the boss and set the direction of the business, you can also set the working hours and where you work. That means if you are a night owl and want to work from midnight until 6 am, you can. However, also remember that there’s a good percentage of your clients will work normal hours, so you might need to be around to communicate with them.
The ability to work where you want is one of the positives of being a freelance with few downsides. Many choose to work at home while others like to use coworking spaces.
You can even spend the morning working in the local coffee shop with free Wi-Fi or the local library. You can work on the beach, in the back of a camper-van, in a hotel or anywhere else you want.
You choose who and what you work on
Like choosing the company direction, you also get the freedom to choose who you want to work with and what you want to work on. Maybe you want to be a web designer and concentrate on creating websites for companies working in the food industry – that’s your choice. Choosing a niche can be beneficial for your business and means when you create that freelance CV, you have loads of the right experience on it. Just make sure it is a profitable one first.
Your earnings potential is limitless
When you are an employee, you are paid a salary. It might increase on a regular basis, say every year. But there is always a limit because the company will have a pay scale. When you work for yourself, the sky is the limit. You can earn as much as you have the ability to earn. There’s no upper limit apart from time and your physical ability to do the work.
Being a freelancer isn’t for everyone and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you can tick the boxes and the benefits appeal, you can set yourself on an amazing and interesting career path. You may even end up running an agency with others working for you or a collection of freelancers working together. There are so many potential paths that you will always have something to work towards and goals to achieve.