According to Fastcompany, 35% of the United States workforce is made up of freelance workers. That’s significant. In fact, there were over 53 million freelance workers in the US in 2019. What’s hiding behind that rise? Technology. That doesn’t mean all of those jobs are tech-centric but it still has played a huge role in this increase.
Monster claims any job can be a freelance job. And they’re right. Thanks to technology, you can do nearly any activity remotely. From advertising, HR, Sales, Admin, writing/transcribing, design/illustration, driving, and many more don’t require a full-time, cubical-dwelling worker to fulfil.
However, although a vast majority of jobs are cut out for freelance, not every person is cut out to be a freelancer. It takes a special kind of person to enjoy the freelance life.
Are you that person? This is a rather important question to ask yourself before you hand in your two weeks notice to that full time IT outsourcing service gig. You certainly don’t want to quit that job without giving this plenty of thought.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what you need to find success and satisfaction working as a freelancer.
Can You Find Work?
This is crucial. Why? Because one aspect of being a freelancer that turns most people off is having to find work constantly. Mot often you won’t be working for a single company, but instead working for several at the same time. And many of these jobs will be contract gigs that have expiration dates.
Working under such a contract means you’ll be needing to find more work before that contract expires. This leads many freelance workers down one of two paths:
- Always being on the edge of having too much work, so when one contract expires they don’t struggle financially.
- In a constant state of networking.
So the truth of the matter is, if you hate looking for work, chances are you’re not going to enjoy freelancing. On the other hand, if you never have trouble finding gigs, freelance life might suit you well.
To be successful as a freelancer you have to be able to sell yourself to anyone for any gig. It’s a constant hustle.
Raises and Benefits
This is where most people quickly realize the freelance life isn’t the best fit for them. As a freelancer, there are only two ways you can get a raise:
- Negotiate a new contract.
- Add more work to your load.
In other words, you want to make more money, you’ve got to do more work. It’s a rare occasion that you can convince a company that has been paying you X dollars for freelance work to pay you more. Why? Because there are always other freelance workers out there willing to do the work for the same or even for less pay.
Another issue is the benefits. Or, should we say, the lack thereof. One of the reasons so many companies are more than happy to hire freelance workers is that they don’t have to offer benefits. They can get away with having you do full-time work without the benefits of you being a full-time employee.
Although that might be a bit frightening (especially in countries that don’t offer a universal-type healthcare option), the pros of calling your own shots, working on your own timeline and pace, and not having to deal with the constant onslaught of other people is a pretty good incentive to work without those benefits.
But there are those who wouldn’t dare work without them or without the possibility of climbing up the corporate ladder to make bank. If that’s you, freelance work is not your gig.
Being a freelancer means having to manage your own time. You are your own boss, so you set the schedule. Some have no problem with that. Some do. And the freelance schedule can be handled in different ways. You could opt to wake up in the morning, get all of your work done at once, and have the rest of the day to yourself.
Another option is to scatter your work throughout the day. This type of schedule is quite appealing to many, as it makes for a very relaxing day. Instead of working yourself into a frenzy to get everything done, you can slow it down and work at a pace that is more conducive to a relaxing and peaceful life.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? There’s a caveat, though. You need the commitment to make that work.
Either one of those types of schedules requires a certain level of dedication and time management. You don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder, so you are your only motivator.
Are you capable of self-motivation? Are you capable of developing a work schedule that not only fits your personality but allows you to get everything done by the end of the day? If not, freelancing isn’t for you.
One thing you must remember: If you’re not working, you’re not making money. Because of this, scheduling your workday is crucial to your life as a freelancer. You are in charge of both your success and your failure. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving for Uber or working with IT offshore outsourcing, it’s all on you.
Freelancing is an incredibly rewarding gig. If you like the idea of spending the day at home in your pyjamas, doing what you love, so long as you are resourceful and dedicated, you can make it work. Of course, it also needs you to be focused, organized, and methodical to get your work done.
In the end, freelancing isn’t for everybody. So, before diving into a freelance career, make sure you know all the details about it and be honest with yourself about what you’re willing to do to get the most out of it.