Modern technology, combined with talent and determination, had given a lot of employees a way to switch from a traditional nine to five job to the freedom offered by freelance work. Most of you probably know someone who made the transition successfully and are wondering if it will work for you as well.
The answer largely depends on how prepared you are for the changes that it will bring to your life. Working in a company is often a comfort zone and taking risks, such as not having job security and a regular salary every month, can be terrifying. Add to that the difficulty of landing a client or multiple clients that can provide a steady income that will allow you to make ends meet and you have a real dilemma.
What do you need to consider before plunging headlong into the unknown world of freelancing?
Review the skills that you currently have and what you still need to learn.
The bid for projects in the freelancing world presents a stiff competition and if the skills you acquired in a particular field are not up to par, you will have a tough time convincing clients to choose you over hundreds of other freelancers. This means you have to take a serious look at where you are and how much you have to study to get where you need to be. Upwork, one of the largest freelancing sites, published their top 20 fastest growing skills here.
Be honest with yourself and determine if you are willing to put in the effort and be able to keep up.
If you’ve been at the job for so many years, you’re probably hankering for a change, and the prospect of not having to clock in daily can be exciting. But doing the same thing over and over is totally different from having to keep up with an ever changing environment. It means making an effort everyday to improve your craft and if possible, be better than most. Freelance work is not a one-time attempt to climb the stairs of success. It is an unceasing endeavor for skills development.
Consider that self-discipline can be a real challenge.
When you work at a company, there is always someone to push and keep you accountable for accomplishments, such as a supervisor or a manager. When doing freelance, you alone are responsible for your own timetable. The clients will give you a time frame on when they need the project to be completed, but no one will drive you to get up in the morning (or evening) and complete the tasks that need to be done. It takes tremendous self-discipline to focus on the job at hand even in the midst of distractions or temptations to put it off for a later time.
It can be a lonely world.
The hours that you will need to work may not be the same as that of other people and thus, you will find that there are days when you’re free to go out and your friends are not. You may also have to be awake when everyone in the household is sleeping, especially if your clients are not on the same time zone. There will be times when the people in your life will not understand why you can’t just drop everything and go with them somewhere or grant the favor that they’re asking. This makes for a lonesome situation and if you don’t enjoy solitude, it can adversely affect your work.
Do a check and balance of your financial situation.
To quit your job is easy, but to do it without having a financial safety net is foolhardy. This may be the most important factor that you need to consider as it can affect not just your personal situation but also that of your family, if you are the breadwinner. Financial experts say that you need to have an emergency fund, plus savings equal to six months expenses in order to avoid a crisis in case the situation does not turn out to be favorable. You can find great ideas in this article.
Consider that freelancing may not be for you.
“Many are called, but few are chosen.” Remember this phrase as you go through the struggles of being a freelancer. Put in the effort needed, give everything you have, but learn to acknowledge when it is time to throw the towel. This is not the only field where you can be successful. Each person has a place in the world where you will fit perfectly. If you have already given your best and you don’t see progress, look around, there may be other opportunities for you.
Life will always have its ups and downs, but in the end, you are the one in control of which direction it will go.