What Do I Need to Know About Freelancing?
The Pros and Cons of Freelancing
When I first began seriously thinking about starting my own business in 2013, I had little idea what I was in for. Freelancing was a term I had heard of, but never really imagined doing it myself. Even though I come from an entrepreneurial family, I initially chose a different career path for myself in “Corporate America.” I started working at IBM within a couple of years of graduating from college and thought I was set for life.
However, life did catch up with me, in the form of marriage and two wonderful children. Somehow, climbing that corporate ladder did not seem quite so important to me anymore. Although I eased back into a couple of different corporate jobs when my boys were a little older, it never felt quite right. I guess my entrepreneurial roots kicked in when my maternal instincts did. At the time though, I had limited work-at-home options and zero stay-at-home-mom options.
Luckily, about the time I began growing weary of my last office job, I discovered my dream career – freelancing as a social media and content marketer. And, as I begin year 3 of freelancing in March, I am thrilled that things have turned out the way they have. Because I am finally where I belong and doing work that I love. Freelancing has allowed me to meet so many interesting people and work on a myriad of different and exciting projects.
Needless to say, freelancing isn’t all “roses and lollipops” though. Just like working in an office environment, some days are much more productive than others. It is also safe to say that freelancing, itself, is not for everyone – but it could be an option for you.
If you are thinking about dipping your toe in the freelancing waters, you probably have plenty of questions as you get started. My number 1 suggestion for you – no matter what your questions are – is to become best friends with Google. You’ll find a wealth of information out there about how to start freelancing, what to expect, and places where you can look for opportunities.
Here are some of the freelancing pros and cons I found and agree with
First of all, let me share a definition of “freelancer.”
Per Jörgen Sundberg for UnderCover Recruiter,
A freelancer, freelance worker, or freelance is somebody who is self-employed and is not committed to a particular employer long term.
Sounding good so far? Then let’s start with some of the positives.
“Pro’s” of Freelancing
1) Number one “pro”: Control
One of the toughest parts of working in a corporate environment for me was the loss of control. For example, I was expected at my office around the same time every day and could not leave until the designated time.
Freelancing, on the other hand, has provide me with the control I was personally seeking in my career. I have flexibility in what times I work, where I work, and who I work for.
2) Higher income potential
As a freelancer, you can work for as many (or as few) people as you wish. The same is true with projects. Depending on which industry you’re interested in, freelancing opportunities are plentiful.
As long as you are willing (and able) to put in the hours, you should have no trouble finding work. As well, you will never worry about being stuck with a capped salary or a ban on overtime pay.
3) Rut? What rut?!
Freelancing has provided me (and countless others) the luxury of “visiting” with clients from other parts of the country without ever leaving my kitchen table. Plus, I currently work on a unique and diverse set of projects, and it offers me new lessons and discoveries every day. It keeps my mind active and I never have boring days anymore.
Still sounding good? Great! However, it would be remiss of me if I only told you about the good side of freelancing. So, here we go with the other side…
“Cons” of Freelancing
1) No guarantees of steady work or clients who pay on time
I often refer to the freelance life as one of “feast or famine.” For some freelancers, there are times when they have to turn down work due to already full plates. Other times, there are no (or very few) projects, or you have clients who “forget” about paying you. That is when you may find yourself scrounging on the freelancing sites for work until your next big break. Don’t knock it though – I have obtained two permanent (and wonderful) clients from projects I applied for on Elance.com.
2) Being your own sales and marketing person
This part can be difficult for some freelancers. You’re not only working, but you must also find your own clients and projects.
3) You must have discipline and (sometimes) embrace solitude
Some people fantasize about working at home in their PJs all day, but I do not recommend it. Get up, take a shower, get dressed…it puts you in the right frame of mind, trust me.
If you are extroverted, you may find working alone a bit unnerving. Some of us visit Starbucks or the local library for a little company. You’ll find what works for you.
Now you know a little more about freelancing. Are you a freelancer or considering becoming one? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please feel free to leave a comment below!
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