It’s that time of year again, when we starting thinking about all the things that we accomplished in the year. As the year ends and we look back upon all the things we did in this year and what we would like to change for the coming year, our job and our career is often one of the first things we look at.
Do you like your job? Should you change it? Should you change your career? Should you continue working for ‘the man’ or should you become a freelancer?
That word, ‘freelancing’ is becoming more and more common and a lot of people are actually considering becoming a freelancer. But, before you fall into the trap of flexible working hours and no boss, you will have to understand what it takes to actually become a Freelancer and if Freelancing is the right career path for you?
• What is Freelancing?
A Freelancer, in the simplest terms, is someone who works for multiple companies on contract bases, instead of being on the payroll. Freelancers, often sell their time by the hour or on project bases. They can either be self-employed or represented by an agency or firm. Another term for freelancing also includes ‘independent contractor’.
The common benefits of freelancing is commonly the ability to work on your own terms, from wherever you want, instead of reporting to a desk job with a 9-5 shift. It can frequently be found in fields such as: music, writing, acting, computer programming, web design, translating and illustrating, film and video production.
• Traits Required to Become a Freelancer
As with every industry, knowledge is just not enough to become successful. You need to have a set of certain traits that follow along with the requirement of the job. Some jobs require working late hours, some require socializing, some require being able to manage time, and so on.
Freelancing is no different. In order for you to become a freelancer, there are a few traits that are often required if you want to become a successful freelancer. Without these traits, you might just not be able to become a freelancer.
→ Self-Discipline – Freelance requires being able to self-discipline because there is no one on top of you to constantly hold you to your deadlines or ensure that you are doing what you are supposed to do. Freelancers must create their own schedules, follow them and ensure that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. They must also have the ability to understand what they must do and when.
→ Independence – If you are not an independent person, you might not make it in Freelance. In this field, there is no one who will hold your hand and lead you through the hoops. What you don’t know you must learn by yourself. So, if you don’t do so well when it comes to learning the ropes by yourself, then you might not make a good freelancer.
→ Time Management Skills – As a freelancer, you are often selling your time. This means whatever time you weren’t working was money wasted. The popular saying ‘Time is Money’ proves extremely relevant in this industry. You must know how to manage your time, as well as see how many projects you can take on and work with.
→ Good Communication – If you are the type of person who cannot deal with people or aren’t a good communicator, then freelance is not for you. Freelancers are required to source their own projects, speak to people, work with other people on projects, and so on. You are required to haggle with people regarding the price and even the conditions of the projects you take on, which means if you aren’t a people charmer, you might just end up losing out on projects.
→ Self Motivated – As previously mentioned that there is no carrot dangling on your head, which means the only motivation you have in this field is the money and your love for the work. If these aren’t the best motivators, then Freelance is not for you. If you need a manager or a leader to help you finish your targets or your projects, then you will not fare well given all the freedom that comes with freelancing.
→ Work Random Hours – You should be able to work random hours and be on call 24/7. Sometimes you might end up with projects that are not even in the same country, this might require you to take up either odd hours or be on call whenever they require. Even if you aren’t working on international projects, freelancers often work non-traditional hours, which means that you might not always have the same shift – some days you might work 9-5, while other days you might end up working all night.
• Why Should You Become a Freelancer
Freelancing is gaining more fame because it allows people to work more creatively on what they want. The major reasons that people are choosing to work non-traditional jobs is because they don’t want to work 9-5 jobs that may not utilize their full creativity. Whereas, when Freelancing, they get to choose the type of job or project that they take on.
Additionally, they are also not limited to a desk job for 9-5. Freelancing gives them more freedom to work the hours they want. Some people are not meant for a 9-5 shifts, but instead their creativity shines at odd hours, like in the night. These people prefer being able to work through the night and instead sleep during the day.
With Freelancing, you are also your own boss. So this is also a great option if you have trouble working with an authority, but do not forget that you will still have to adhere to some guidelines such as the ones that are given by the project manger. So, you might not always be able to run away from an authority figure. This is also a great side job to take up if you want a little extra income.
If all of these ideals appeal to you, then this is a great time to get into freelancing with websites such as Upwork and Fiverr.
• Why Should You Not Become a Freelancer
Freelancing isn’t always all that is promised, and while it does allow you to be your own boss it is a rocky source of income. There are definitely a few cases in which you should not freelance.
If you have steady payments to make, then freelance is definitely not something you should look into. Freelance doesn’t offer a steady paycheck, but instead it brings in money sporadically. So, you would only get paid at the end of a project or work that you’ve finished. There are also times where you might not be able to secure clients in which case, money can be short.
Freelance also comes with zero benefits, which means no paid vacations or 401k or even medical insurance, which are things that full time jobs commonly offer. Also, Freelance is often a lonely task, where you work for hours on your computer without anyone to interact with, so if you are a social butterfly and hate working alone, then Freelancing is definitely not your calling.
• Is Freelancing Right For You
Freelancing is not the right choice for everyone, while some are made for working crazy hours others require a sense of stability. There are also people who have steady payments to make on houses or have mouths to feed in which case, freelancing is a horrible option as it doesn’t offer a steady income.
Before you quit your job for the dream of working from a beach with your toes in the sand, understand if you are the type of person who is suited for Freelancing. Don’t worry though even if you aren’t suited for freelancing, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you, it just means that you are well suited for routine and stability or that you have way to many financial constraints that won’t allow you work how you want.
In this scenario, you can take up freelancing work along with your job and see how it plays out. See if you can keep the commitments before you leave your steady 9-5.