Nowadays, whether it’s because of the general state of the economy, companies cutting down on costs via workforce reduction or simply the desire to take matters into their own hands, a lot of folks are joining the ranks of the freelancing population. Depending on your preference, freelancers are also called work-at-home professionals or independent contractors.
The Good News
If you’re a freelancer, there’s no such thing as:
- swearing at heavy traffic
- racing against time to punch in for work
- commitment to a particular employer
- corporate politics to contend with
- some fellow breathing down your neck with every move you make or word you say
If you’re a freelancer:
- you’re your own boss
- you can choose your clients
- you set your own pace and designate your own time
And if you’re an online freelancer, you can take your work anywhere you please, whether while vacationing in Bali, watching the sunset in Santorini or frantically running away from a herd of raging bulls in Madrid.
The Bad News
Freelancing is NOT a bed of roses – a statement that has been used and abused but cannot be emphasized enough. Freelancing has its ups and downs, and it requires a lot of work, especially in the beginning. You would have to diligently market yourself to find trustworthy clients. You might even have to start with pay that’s below industry average just so you can showcase your skills, establish a reputation and an impressive work portfolio. If you’re prepared to swallow all these hook, line and sinker, then, you have a good chance of making it big as a freelancer.
However, before you take the freelancing plunge, here are three questions you might want to consider asking yourself first:
1. Do I have the right tools?
A gardener has his garden tools. A hairdresser has a different set of tools. If your intent is to work online, whether it’s an IBM, a Mac or a Novatech you’ve got, you have to make sure that your computer is always in tip-top shape. That’s not saying you have to have top-of-the-line specs, especially if you can’t afford it. At the very least, invest in hardware (computer, headset, transcription pedal, microphone, etc.) and software that you can constantly rely on.
Oh, and don’t forget, make sure to subscribe with a trustworthy Internet service provider, too.
2. Am I focused and disciplined enough?
When you have the power to choose when to work with no boss hounding you every step of the way, it’s so easy to fall into the procrastination trap. When laziness strikes, everything you’ve diligently memorized about time management flies out of the window.
And even if you’re all prepped up to get things done, social media sites like Facebook, G+, Twitter can divert your attention. Before you know it, time has slipped away and you’re running late for a deadline. How focused and committed you are to accomplish what is expected of you within the time frame agreed upon will determine your success as a freelancer.
3. How long will my cash reserves last?
With freelancing, recognize that the paycheck isn’t going to be deposited to your bank account like clockwork. Your clients will very rarely agree to upfront payments. And you may need to work for a few days up to months on one specific assignment before you receive any compensation. The solution? If you want to make a full-time career out of freelancing, make sure you have enough savings to last for several months (at least six months is ideal). This way, you don’t have to live with just the bare essentials.
Just like anything worth investing your time in, freelancing has its pros and cons. But if after addressing the above questions you’re still all smiles, then, perhaps, it’s time you took the freelancing plunge.
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