Freelancing has recently become more tempting than ever. With people working from home more, remote work has suddenly become a hotter ticket to freedom. Picture this. You’re enjoying a glass of piña colada with the full view of Santorini in your bedroom window. It’s 10 am and you’re not required to report to work at any time of the day. You finish that glass and fill it up some more.
Because of the pandemic, working anywhere feels less uncertain with lockdowns showing how possible it is to deliver tasks even when not in the office. People have already adjusted to dealing with correspondence done over a phone or laptop. Technology has made freelancing even easier and more desirable. Escaping the 9 to 5 grind and your nagging boss while earning thousands of dollars is within arm’s reach.
You’ve thought about it multiple times but you’ve been back and forth with your decision until now. Take it easy, tiger. Times may have changed and are changing now but it won’t ever alter the core of what it takes to be a freelancer. It’s not as easy or as fun as it sounds. In reality, you’ll be working double or even triple of what you are currently doing. Freelancing is something you’d want to jump into if this particular approach will bring you closer to your goal in your career and life. If the answer to that is yes, then ask the follow-up questions below to determine whether the digital nomad career is the perfect lifestyle for you. Oh, and since I’ve been a freelancer for almost three years now, I added some tips if you’re already decided on becoming a freelancer anyway.
1. Is your network big enough for you to land jobs in your industry?
Most problems you’d encounter in freelancing start at the upfront. How do you look for jobs that will hire you? While there are sites that hire part-time contractual workers such as Upwork or ACX, it’s best if you know people in your industry who will help step on the gas for you.
Tip: Tell everyone you meet that you’re a freelancer and you are open to taking jobs on this and that. Do not even miss one person because right now, everyone is your door to an opportunity. The boyfriend of your friend might know someone in the magazine business or the son of your mom’s best friend may need an architect for a design + build project.
2. Are you known or established in your industry?
While the market has been more welcoming of novice or fresh talent, you would still have a leg up in the industry if you have already established yourself as a name in your field. A lot of people go freelancing when they have already stamped their mark in their industry and are confident that people would come to them because of their level of expertise.
Tip: Now, if you don’t have that much of a network, your skills will be your best asset.
You need to have a portfolio ready, whether you’re a photographer, writer, videographer, or graphic artist.
3. Do you have money saved up in case you run out of jobs?
Times are hard and a fallback is what you need. Freelancing is not as stable as a corporate job so if you really want to go this route, save up from your monthly salary as early as now. You need to have money to pay your bills, my friend.
Tip: Separate an emergency fund from your savings account. You should only get money from your savings account if worst comes to worst and you don’t have anywhere to run anymore.
4. Can you manage your time well without a supervisor?
Time management is probably one of the top skills you should have as a freelancer. Yes, you have flexible hours but of course, you still have outputs to submit. Freelancers often fall into the trap of thinking they have plenty of time in their hands that they usually ran out of at the last minute. If you don’t have proper time management skills, you might lose your jobs or your clients will leave dissatisfied and not recommend you to their peers. You’d only really be able to enjoy the flexibility of being a freelancer if you can manage your time properly.
Tip: Do not pick up your phone immediately when you wake up in the morning. This will be a game-changer for the rest of your day. Consider putting your phone in a different room to avoid the temptation. Have an alarm clock or wear a watch so you could tell time without it. Do your morning routine, maybe even inject a workout that will energize you throughout the day.
Another tip: Keep an organized, ergonomic workspace. Flexispot has a wide array of products in its catalog that assures an efficient workflow. It carries height adjustable standing desks, standing desk converters, desk bikes, and ergonomic chairs that are designed to make you productive and motivated to work.
To assure a clutter-free desk, Flexispot also offers storage solutions ranging from under desk drawers to mesh desk organizers and mobile file cabinets to lateral filing cabinets. Most items come with a lockable system to secure your work essentials and compartmentalized drawers to store your things in an organized manner.
5. Are you a multitasker?
You must be prepared to wear many hats if you decide to become a freelancer. You would need to learn bookkeeping, tax filing, looking for health insurance---the list goes on, etc. And this admin work is on top of what you have to deliver as a freelancer. You also really need to ask yourself if multitasking is the way of life you want to live because often, it takes away the fun of doing focused work.
Tip: Keep a close network of fellow freelancers. This group can be your remote “officemates.” Since you’re all in the freelancing world, you can help one another with admin work the other may already be knowledgeable about.
6. Do you have enough confidence to sell yourself as a brand or personal business?
Freelancing is a business and your company is yourself. You have to be confident with your skills and expertise in order to sell your services to your clients.
Tip: Always undersell and overdeliver.
7. Can you handle rejection?
As a freelancer, you need to have thick skin. Not every opportunity will be a yes. You have to learn to go past a rejection quickly and jump to the next thing in a snap of a finger.
Tip: Don’t put too much value on one opportunity. Always have multiple options so that if you lose a project, there’s already another one waiting.
It’s always better to be prepared than sorry so make sure that your decision is an informed choice.
If you have really been curious about the freelancing industry for too long a time, I say go give it a try when your emergency fund and savings are already worked out. You’ll never really know if it’s for you unless you try it out yourself. Best of luck!