Freelance – working for different companies at different times rather than being permanently employed by one company. – via Google
Not Everyone Can Work Freelance
Truth is, freelancers are a special breed of people. Without a whole lot of determination, a good dose of business sense, and a take-initiative-attitude, you’ll fall flat on your face.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you consider freelancing as a career:
- When I’m faced with a deadline, do I deliver, or am I consistently late?
- How did I handle school assignments? Did I run with the idea and impress, or do the least possible and just make the grade?
- How do I work now? Does my boss constantly have to check in and see that I’m making progress, or does she know she can trust me to deliver a high quality product, on time.
- Do I work well with people outside my immediate team?
To succeed as a freelancer you need to be able to set and meet deadlines. You must be willing to work after-hours to accomplish a task. You have to deliver on time, every time, or your clients will leave. You’ll need to be able to work with the company that hires you, and any other freelancers they’ve hired for the project. You have to take initiative and follow through.
Some people actually need the accountability of working for a boss. That’s not a bad thing. We need those people. If that’s you, thanks for the job you do! If you’re not happy working for someone else, and you think you might want to give this freelancing a try, read on.
About that Flexibility Myth…
When I say my work life is flexible, I mean that I can plan my vacations when I want to, vs when a boss says I can have off. I don’t mean that I can wake up on Tuesday and decide I don’t want to work. Fact is, I travel a lot, and when I do, I take my work with me. I am rarely unavailable to my clients unless I’m driving or at an event. Come evening, I’m working from my hotel room.
At home, I set boundaries. This means regular working hours. I know, you didn’t think us freelancers pulled 9-5 hours, but, we do. Working from home gives me the flexibility to home school my kids. But with that, comes the responsibility to schedule my every waking moment to the half hour. My email signatures state my hours of operation so clients know when to expect to hear from me, or when I’ll pick up the phone. During those hours I work like a mad woman, churning out one project after another… tech articles, WordPress redesigns, freelance writing assignments, Infusionsoft account management projects, and business consulting services. I track my time in FreshBooks and at the end of the month, I generate invoices for the time spent working.
The Benefits of Freelancing
I choose my clients. Yes, I get to decide who I will work for. This varies from year to year, and depending on my schedule and finances I may end up doing work I don’t like, or working with people I wouldn’t normally choose. But, I do have the choice and it’s one of the things I love about freelancing.
I can say no. #1 Perk. The client is not my boss. I can say no, I won’t do that, or no, I can’t do that. I don’t have to worry about being fired and losing my job over something I don’t agree with. Yes, I can lose that client, but I have others and I can get more. I don’t take this lightly, as losing a client can be a big deal, but I do appreciate the freedom to say “no” if I need to.
I can work from anywhere. Due to the nature of my job, I can work from my home office in Texas, or my mom’s living room in Kentucky. So long as the wifi is good, and I have a place to sit, I can work. This means I can travel with my husband when he goes to conferences for work, or I can go stay with my family for weeks at a time. I still have to keep a schedule and complete my projects, but I get to enjoy a change of scenery now and then.