It may seem like a real-life dream to give up your desk job for a freelancing career. After all, if you are your own boss, you can be in control of your entire lifestyle–from the time you wake up in the morning to the hours you put in. Still, freelancing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be if you aren’t prepared for its freedoms and flexibilities. Read on to discover if freelance is actually the right path for you.
Think back to the time when you were a kid:
What did you want to be as an adult?
Whatever the answer, there is no chance you dreamed of a 9-to-5 office job with monotonous tasks and strict deadlines. For children, there’s nothing more frightening than boredom; but the same holds true for adults. We want more freedom and flexibility, and that’s why so many of us decide to give up office work for a career in freelancing.
You wake up late, drink coffee along the beach, go in for yoga… and then, after the heat goes down, start working on your freelance projects. Seems legit? You bet! But not everything in the freelance garden is rosy.
Freelance work has many benefits: you are your own boss, you can take your “office” everywhere, control your surroundings and develop your creativity for more efficient results. But it cuts two ways. Freelancing has its cons, and you should think twice if you are ready to meet and deal with them.
Decided to change office for freelance? First, do this:
1) Take Your Time
Keep calm and have your wits about freelancing. What you need is a detailed plan.
“The most common mistake of future freelancers is they burn all bridges behind them when decide to leave office work,” comments Mike Hanski, a tutor of remote writers at Bid4Papers. “Before you go, it makes sense to get a client base and steady financial income. It may take months or even years to reach a comfortable freelance routine, so make sure you have a ‘safety bag’ for this time.”
2) Evaluate Your Talents
Most likely, you already know what you’ll do while freelancing: write texts, teach dancing, cook tailor-made cakes, take photos, etc. It’s all well and fine, but don’t forget about “Plan B.” I mean, don’t disregard your other talents; there is a dead season in every niche, so your hobbies and alternative skills may come in handy then.
Once you choose two or three talents of yours, start writing a resume. Resumes of freelancers are different from those of full-time workers. You need to show examples of your skills. Build a portfolio and add it to your resume together with all recommendations from clients.
3) Search For Clients
If you want to become a successful freelancer, then peek into your chosen niche. For that, spend time at relevant forums and communities:
— First, you’ll know what challenges your peers meet and how they solve them.
— Second, you’ll see a price policy in your niche. It’s critical because it’s your steady source of income now.
— And third, a presence at such forums will help to grow your professional credibility, Often, people check profiles there to learn more about given freelancers and decide if they want to hire them.
Also, do your best to find new clients. Register at popular websites for freelancers, take relevant projects, build a client base there as well as your reputation as a professional and reliable contributor. I’m sure you know such marketplaces as Upwork, Fiverr, Behance, Creative Market, People Per Hour and so forth. Join them to start your freelancing journey.
4) Get Feedback
For freelancers, positive feedback and recommendations are the currency of higher value than money. So, as soon as you complete a project and see that a client is happy with your work, ask them to rate your profile or leave a recommendation for others to know you are a responsible and reliable specialist.
Before leaving an office job, ask your manager to write a recommendation at the company letterhead. Even if your freelancing niche bears no relation to your official duties, this letter of reference still may be proof of your good character and repute.
5) Plan Your Time and Money
Math will become your best friend for the next few years. Calculate how much money you need for easy street and how many working hours you will spend to get it. Decide when you work best — on mornings or nights — so you could organize the working process efficiently.
Remember about days off, holidays and vacations. No one in their sober senses can work without rest. Giving up weekends and holidays for more work means you’ll sacrifice quality and your mental health. As I wrote in the article for Let’s Reach Success, ignoring days off would eventually lead you to burnouts and nervous breakdowns.
Somehow, after a while, you’ll organize your freelance work as best you can. And the moment will come when you need to answer the question: “So what?” Do you plan to freelance from the cradle to the grave? Or, maybe you want to launch a startup with productive employees? What about getting back to the office in a few years?
After all, your openness to changes is what matters most, right?