Going freelance is a big step for anyone to take. You’re removing the training wheels and going into business for yourself, and one consideration now becomes ten. The work becomes that much harder and your income isn’t stable. If you still want to do it, assess your current situation. Ask yourself these five questions before going freelance.
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1. What Do the Experts Say?
There are many reasons why people might want to go freelance. Ultimately, it’s important that you’re comfortable with the decision. Nevertheless, you also need to look at what some of the experts are saying. Your chosen industry may be difficult to get into, or you may not have the credentials to make it. While it’s good to ignore the doubters, sometimes it’s prudent to get their opinion on matters.
2. Do You Have a Skill to Market?
There’s little point in entering the freelance world if you can’t find someone who’s willing to pay for what you can offer them. The fact is most people don’t have any marketable skills. Marketable skills tend to come with years of experience. Younger people tend to find themselves in a more difficult position in freelancing for this reason. Test the market first by going part-time. Try to secure your clients outside of your day job and see how you progress.
3. Do You Have a Social Network?
No, we’re not talking about Facebook or Twitter. The social network in person is your most important asset. Friends can introduce you to other friends and this is how you secure your biggest clients. You need to have the infrastructure in place to reach out to people. It’s possible to start from nothing, but it can take months and years for you to finally hit any success. This is why it’s good to have some professional connections before you get started.
4. Do You Have the Right Mental Attitude?
The life of a freelancer is a social one. If you find it tiring to be around other people all the time, this probably isn’t the business for you. It’s also a lonely one because most of your time will be spent working independently. Can you get yourself up and running on the days where work is a long, hard slog? Extroverts have the advantage in freelancing for this reason. They have a personality contusive to the right mental attitude. Introverts typically have to work twice as hard to get the same results.
5. Do You Have a Financial Cushion?
Freelancing is an industry where you don’t have a stable income. You don’t always know where the next pay check is going to come from. If that idea scares you, or it’s going to put you in dire financial straits, this isn’t the industry for you. Most successful freelancers should expect to have at least three to six months of income saved up. You should aim to maintain this cushion, even as the money starts to roll in. Freelancers don’t just have bad weeks they can have bad years.
As you can see from these questions, freelancing is a life choice that carries a significant amount of risk. It’s not something you should jump into without giving it due care and attention.
While the freelancing lifestyle is an attractive one, it does come with its disadvantages; chiefly financial. We recommend starting out in a small way. Don’t quit your day job immediately. Concentrate on what you can do with a few hours every day and see how it goes. This way when you do finally go full-time you already have the confidence to shoulder the burdens of this type of working lifestyle.
Would you still become a full-time freelancer? What are your concerns? Let us know in the comments section below.