A flexible schedule; selective clients; the ability to price and service on your terms. Do the freedoms that come along with freelancing outweigh the fallbacks? The answer really depends on who you are, and what your career goals are.
Freelancing takes a special kind of mindset and skillset that varies from your typical 9-5 office job, and that’s not the right fit for everyone. To help you determine if you’re ready to take the dive into freelancing, the Guide to Graduate team has compiled the pros and cons to working for yourself. Starting with the basics:
What does it mean to freelance, anyway?
Freelancers take on work for themselves on behalf of other companies, but they are ultimately self-employed.
As an example, a freelancer may take on an ongoing series of blog writing for a company. While they have certain deadlines and criteria to meet, it’s ultimately up to the freelancer to determine how to price the project, and how to design their work schedule to get the job done.
Competitive and deadline-driven? Freelancing may be the perfect fit for you!
Freelancing is often viewed through rose-tinted glasses, ignoring some of its challenges in place of not having a demanding boss to report to. However, depending on what you do, freelancing can be even more demanding than said boss, especially if you’re just starting out and trying to build up a cliente.
If you’re up for the challenge, and are someone who is deadline driven and excels at multitasking, freelancing could be the perfect fit for your working style. Freelancers often have to balance meeting multiple deadlines for multiple different clients, at multiple different times.
If you’re organized and that kind of working style excites you, great! But, if the thought of putting in long hours, bidding on, and sometimes losing, jobs gives you anxiety, you may be better served in another role – and that’s okay.
Additionally, if you’re more of the “deadlines are meant to break” type, you may want to consider another profession. As most freelancers bill by completed project, you could be setting yourself up for a lot of late or unfulfilled payments (not to mention angry clients!).
Still sounds good? Let’s get you started, then!
It helps to have a niche
As you begin to think through starting a freelance project for the first time, it helps if you have a niche area of expertise. Chances are your talent is in-demand!
Hone in on your strengths by applying them to side gigs and freelance projects. You’ll not only begin to better capitalize on your skillset, but can also unblock your career purpose while growing in a potentially under-served market.
Freelancing certainly has its pros and cons, and isn’t right for everyone. The best advice our team can give is to start off with a freelance project to get a feel for how you like (or dislike) it, then grow your output from there.
It’s a lot easier to scale back a small project. Scaling down 10 – 15 projects once you find out you’re in too deep, on the other hand, is every freelancer’s worst nightmare.
Tap your network
Starting new projects can be scary! But, it’s a lot less scary when you have a support system backing you each step of the way. Share your new ventures and ideas with your network, from managers and coaches, to peers. You never know what feedback, advice, or new business connections they could share!
Are you a freelancer that can relate? Share your story with us in the comments!