Do you Have What it Takes to go Freelance? 7 Unmistakable Signs That Say you do
Much like Hollywood actresses and rock stars, most freelancers always knew they weren’t cut out for the average 9-5 job. The comparison is a bit exaggerated, but you get the point: Something about routine and daily repetition puts you off.
Is that enough to work and make it as a freelancer, though? Well, you already know the answer to that.
Read on to discover the 7 traits that say you are good to go freelance.
1. You can manage your finances
Managing your finances as a freelancer is much more complicated than not spending more than you earn or saving 10% of your income every month.
Before you start working as a freelancer, ask yourself whether you’re willing to do basic accounting tasks that will keep you safe from the notorious feast or famine cycle.
For instance, you’ll have to diligently keep a record of all your financial transactions. That includes all expenses (recurring and non-recurring), invoices issued, hours billed – which means you have to track your work hours too. It’s not all that bad though, as there are billing and invoicing tools that can help you with most of these tasks. Plus, you can always hire an accountant to help you out.
And yes, you have to save money just like everyone else for taxes, retirement, and health insurance. Except you have one more reason to do so: you can’t know for sure what happens next month. Which brings us to our next point.
2. You can handle uncertainty and instability
How comfortable are you knowing that this month you’ve made $3000 but the next one you might be making $100? This is the million-dollar question in freelancing and the number one reason why most people prefer the security of a salary-based job. Of course, these people are progressively getting fewer, and salary-based jobs aren’t guaranteed for life. But that’s another story.
The truth is that after the first rough months, you will have long-term projects and a steady stream of clients, some of which will work with you on a monthly contract. In addition, clients don’t disappear overnight. When a contract is about to end, start looking for your next client to increase your chances of having an income for the months to come.
If that prospect still sounds daunting to you, then maybe you should consider a more stable job, or else you are signing up for a great deal of stress.
3. You’re able to manage your time
Working as a freelancer and having your own schedule sounds liberating. Especially if you’re a night owl that never got quite used to waking up at 7.30. And think about the time you save, too. Commuting alone can amount to one hour or more per day.
Still, when you go freelance you need to have a work routine to stay motivated and meet your deadlines. Even if that routine involves working a few hours in the morning and another few late in the afternoon. They’re your rules, but they’re still rules.
In the same spirit, you need to be able to say no to temptations like checking social media every so often or catching up with friends while you’re in the middle of something. You wouldn’t leave your job to have a cup of coffee with your pal and return in 20 short minutes, right? Well, same here.
If time management is not your strongest skill, you can still work your way around it. All you need is a time tracking tool that will serve as your accountability partner (“You promised me 6 straight hours today!”), or maybe try a time management technique.
4. You don’t mind working alone
Don’t rush into going freelance before giving some thought to what working alone is like. Because it’s not a ride in the park, and it’s definitely not for everyone.
Therefore, as much as you enjoy the idea of not having your boss and colleagues under your feet, paint yourself this picture: It’s going to be you alone 5 days per week, 8 hours a day, give or take. Still sounds more fun than the boss thing? Good.
Besides, the truth is you don’t have to be totally alone. Luckily, there are coffee places and libraries that nest lonely creatures like freelancers.
5. You hate routine. You love your freedom
You’re just not that type of person that enjoys working with the same people, in the same office, the same hours every day. It bores you out of your mind.
As opposed to the routine of a 9-5 job, you prefer to set your own schedule and choose your own clients. You also want to have a bigger say in the work terms and set your rates as you find appropriate depending on the project scope and difficulty. And when the time comes, you’ll raise your hourly rate too.
Being out there on your own is a challenge that excites rather than scares you. Why? Because you know that you can go as far as you want with no one to stop you, but you. It all depends on how much work you want to put into it.
6. You are resilient
Have you heard of instant gratification? Freelancing is pretty much the opposite. It’s nothing like getting hired and instantly feeling somewhat secure and settled. Any success and security that come from freelancing are hard earned.
For starters, it might be months before you land your first client. And when you do, you probably won’t get paid as much as you’d like. You’ll also have to make a major lifestyle change that will take a while to sink in. Work won’t always be steady and come generously to you, either. You’ll have to market yourself correctly to win clients over and, still, sometimes you’ll get rejected.
In other words, it takes patience and perseverance until you can finally say you’re on the right track. But we’ve been through that already – you love the challenge.
7. You enjoy learning
…and you are ambitious too. Because part of the reason why you never want to stop learning is that you never want to stop evolving. You want to stay ahead of the competition and offer your clients the best possible service. And you’re passionate about your job.
However, when you go freelance, you’re the sole responsible for honing your skills and acquiring new ones. There is no boss paying for seminars or training courses. Therefore, you should have a curious mind and a strong desire to constantly learn new things because if you settle for what you already know, eventually you’ll fall behind.
Of course, you don’t need to have all these traits to become a freelancer. Or to be successful in it, for that matter. These are just an indication that you are heading in the right direction. And, after all, no one is to say what you can or can’t do. It all comes down to how much you love your job, and the time and effort you’re willing to dedicate to it. If you feel it in your heart that this is right for you, give it a go!