The economy is changing, and while change can be scary, it also offers the opportunity for growth. Freelancing is becoming more and more popular among professionals. Working as a full-time freelancer can be exciting, challenging, inspiring, and more, all at the same time. Freelancing allows you the opportunity to explore work you may not have had the chance to at a regular job. It also gives you the freedom to make your own schedule, work from home, and explore your creative side. However, freelancing is not perfect and you will have to contend with some not so great aspects of working for yourself. Here are four things you should know about freelancing before you decide to strike off on your own.
Just about every job comes with some downtime. Freelancing is no different. Sometimes people think as a freelancer, you will never have to stay late or work on weekends again. But you will have periods where things are extremely hectic, and have days where you may have nothing to do.
Depending on the type of work you do, your hectic periods and downtime may be cyclical or they can be completely random. If you are someone who needs to have a set schedule or you are extremely uncomfortable with having wide open days, try to plan ahead.
If you need to run errands, drum up more business, update some proposals, or do other tasks, that can also be scheduled for the periods when you have downtime.
As a freelancer you will have to become your own marketer and promoter. Gone are the days where you had a separate department for this work. It is up to you to get your name and your business out there.
Create a website, utilize social media, make business cards, attend networking events and talk to people. It is important to perfect your 3 minute spiel about who you are and what services you offer. You never know when you will run into a potential client, so it is important to always have a business card with you.
One of the good things about a regular office job is you know when you will receive your paycheck. Most pay schedules fall on either every other week or on the 1st and the 15th of the month.
As a freelancer you are at the mercy of your clients and when they decide or are able to pay. This means you can sometimes go months waiting on payment from a client. It is important to prepare by building up a savings to help provide a cushion through the lean times.
As a freelancer, you will likely be working from home or a rented office, which means you will be on your own a lot. This may take some getting used to, though some thrive off the solitude.
You can easily schedule lunch dates with friends or work from a coffee shop to avoid physical solitude, but emotional loneliness can also get to you. Make sure to build a network for yourself of supportive friends, family, and even other freelancers who you can vent to, confide in, and provide a space for you to express your emotions, whatever they may be.
Deciding to freelance full-time is not always an easy decision. If you are considering freelancing as a full-time job, make sure you research the ups and downs, and prepare yourself as much as possible. Freelancing can be great and provide you with the chance to do work you truly enjoy in your own time and in your own way. However, it is important to know what you are getting yourself into, as much as possible so you do not freak out when these challenges come.
Photo Credit: Matt Kolf