Freelance is an easy way out for anyone who finds a regular 9 to 5 boring and over-demanding. The benefits that come with freelancing are attractive to mention like being your boss, setting your rates, and working on your terms. But it is easy to place your focus only on the benefits associated with being a freelancer while underestimating the challenges associated with it. Like going after debtors who hardly ever pay you for example.
Challenges or not, the gig economy is here to stay and the stats don’t lie. A recent survey by Upwork shows 35% of U.S. workers are now freelancing. The total number of freelancers in the U.S. has increased to 57 million, up by 4 million since 2014. There is a likelihood of more younger generations taking up freelancing with generation Z making 53% of the current freelance workforce.
Are you thinking right now, “I should take up freelancing”? Bitter truth is, not everyone is suited to this way of working. Most people have taken up freelancing only to find work for their clients more grueling than working for a boss.
There are character traits you need if you want to succeed as a freelancer. You should possess a good number of them, not all of them.
So how can you tell whether freelancing is a good fit for you?
In this article, we will answer 10 questions to help you determine whether freelancing is a good fit for you.
1. Can you handle time management?
When you work as a freelancer, you have full control of the hours you work daily. At first thought, this is very liberating but it comes with a huge sense of responsibility. Your clients are the ones who determine the deadlines and the volume of projects you work on. However, you have control over when and where you work.
A good number of successful freelancers make use of time tracking tools to help them micromanage their time.
If you’re naturally an organized person, then you will do fine as a freelancer. If not, you can work on improving your time management skills.
2. Can you handle working alone?
Some of the projects you work on will need you to collaborate with other freelancers. However, most of the time, you will find yourself working alone. If you find it difficult to work alone for long hours, then freelancing may be a difficult career choice.
3. Can you multitask?
Contrary to what you think, freelancing is much more than working on clients’ projects.
Your freelancing career is a business and you should treat it as such. You’ll need to carry out tasks involving marketing your skills, invoicing, bookkeeping, negotiating contracts, website maintenance, networking, continuous self-development, and much more.
In addition to managing your time, the ability to handle these tasks means you’re ready for freelancing.
4. Can you handle risks and uncertainties?
Starting down the freelancing path does not come with guarantees written in the stars that your journey will be a success. To be candid, as earlier mentioned, most people have tried it and ended up more frustrated than working a 9-5. Shrewd planning, hard work, and an inward drive to succeed will increase your likelihood to reach your goals and succeed.
You must be ready to go head-on during uncertain times. Building a successful freelance career takes time and you must show patience.
5. Are you self-motivated?
It’s a bit easier to stay motivated when handling a new adventure. You get excited working hard in these times. But then when the going gets tough or when there is a drought it becomes a lot harder to stay motivated.
However, you need to stay motivated if you want to succeed. You will have to ward off different temptations. Whether it is television, unnecessary hangouts, social media, or undue attention to your mobile.
If you can motivate yourself, then you are set up for a successful freelance career.
6. Are you flexible?
With each client comes a unique problem they say. It is important to bear in mind that not all clients are the same. You have to be flexible and creative enough to adjust your service to fit each client’s requirements.
Another instance you will require flexibility is how the gig market works. Your business will need changes along the way to suit the changes of the market you offer your service. If you are not willing to work with such unpredictability, freelancing will not work for you.
7. Do you have good communication skills?
Like it or not, when a business hires you as a freelancer, your point person in the company is your boss. And like your regular boss, he/she expects you to perform specific tasks while keeping the lines of communication open. Open communication will ensure both parties are getting what they need.
“Use IM, video chat, and email to talk with potential employers, ask questions, and connect on a deeper level,” said Nikolas Badminton, an author, researcher, and keynote speaker for Futurist.
Whether uneasy or not, you’ll need to communicate confidence, control, and likeability. You can lose a prospect if you come across as nervous on your first phone conversation with the prospect. If you are better at chatting, you will be successful in getting more clients. As you go on with your freelance career, your communication skills will greatly improve. Many successful freelancers believe they became better communicators as they handled more projects.
8. Do you have self-confidence?
No one will believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. You will need a lot of self-confidence.
Know what your skills are worth especially when negotiating rates with clients. You will meet some bad clients along the way and you will need guts and self-belief to stand up to them.
Also, rejection is part of the job. Often may stop working with you based on different reasons such as budgets or even working relationships. Always ensure to not take issues personally when working as a freelancer.
Mindy, a freelance content writer says “Get cozy with rejection, don’t get discouraged, just keep grinding. If you do good work, people will talk and more people will want to work with you.”
If you are severely lacking in self-confidence, then you might find a freelance career difficult, especially when it comes to earning decent fees.
9. Can you stay focused in any environment?
One big bonus of running a freelance business is the ability to work anywhere. All you need is your computer and WiFi. You can work while traveling to a coffee shop, at the beach just anywhere.
This is however only possible if you can stay focused on your work in any environment. The distractions are huge outside your home office but if you can see beyond that and get the job done, then freelancing business is a good fit for you.
10. Do You have a skill?
Without a skill, freelancing is a frustrating journey to embark on. To be a freelancer, you need a skill many that people are willing to pay good money for.
The competition is fierce. Therefore, professional development is important, as 87 percent of Millennials will attest. Just as employees move on to other jobs when there is no room for growth, your clients will move on to other freelancers with sharper skills. To keep maintaining the competitive edge, you must set aside funds for personal development.
Is freelancing right for me?
At this point, think well and hard about the questions discussed above. The success of your freelancing career depends largely on your answers. It’s okay even if you don’t have a positive answer to all the questions above. You can work on your weaknesses and develop the traits you don’t have.
Freelancing is a fantastic choice if you have a passion for what you do. You will work with amazing people and reap great rewards if you put in the hard work.