We’re taught to go to college, graduate, and get a 9-5. What no one taught us was that you could use those very skills gained through formal education and internships to ultimately become self-employed. Here are a few things to consider when contemplating the freelance life.
The freelance life isn’t for everyone. However, if you value endless autonomy, creativity, and the ability to work when and where you want, it can be highly rewarding and lucrative.
Business Insider highlighted the shift from the traditional 9-5 job to the rise of the independent worker, reporting that 23 million people were self-employed, according to the US Census Bureau in 2013. Established companies are replacing salaried positions with temporary project-based roles and hiring freelancers. If you’re non-commital and prefer less structure, this type of arrangement is ideal.
Sure, I download the apps and join the pools of freelancers looking for gigs and support, but I find that most opportunities I come across are through word-of-mouth. Networking is key if you desire to freelance. I recommend going to at least one business mixer per month to generate leads for your next project. Connecting on social media with local chapters of professional organizations such as the American Marketing Association (AMA) will help you discover the right events happening in your field. You’ll be surprised at the number of executives and recruiters you meet at such events. The more connections, the better. If you’re not down to get out more often, talk to people, and sell yourself to potential clients then freelancing may not be your best option.
Although having that consistent paycheck synonymous with a 9-5 job is convenient, freelancing gives you more control over your income. For instance, you don’t have to accept a single rate of pay for every marketing plan, flyer, or blog post. The more you create, the more you can charge. The rate will also depend on your client’s budget and the project scope.
Building a strong portfolio of work will help you negotiate higher pay rates with your clients.
Just like with any career, you must know which skills you have to offer and more importantly, you must know your worth.
What other things would you consider when opting to freelance? Share your thoughts in the comments.