If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either thinking about making the leap into freelancing or are already doing so, happily. Congrats!
But what happens if the rug gets pulled out from under you? What happens if you realize that being a struggling, independent contractor isn’t for you?
Well, here’s a scenario. You’ve got a kid, you’ve got a mortgage, and you’ve got a full-time job. It’s a lot to juggle, to say the least. And if you’re anything like me, you’re already feeling a bit overwhelmed.
Here’s the crux of the problem: unless you’re prepared to embrace total independence, you don’t stand a chance of thriving as a freelancer. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be. Here are some of the things you’ll need to know.
The Growing Pains Of Being A Freelancer
Let’s start with the bad news. Being a freelancer is no walk in the park. Far from it, in fact. For one thing, you’ll have to learn to manage your time. Being your own boss means you’ll have complete control over when you work and how much you work. But that also means there’s no set schedule to follow, no set hours you can clock in and out of. You make your own hours. You can decide when you work and how much you work. But there’s no telling when you’ll get the next paycheck, if ever. Because you’re responsible for generating your own work, there’s no one to fall back on if things go wrong.
This can be a real pain. If you’re used to being able to clock in every day, have a set schedule, and knowing exactly what’s expected of you, the independence may feel a bit too much at first. It’s also worth mentioning that the only way to generate more work is to be able to prove that you can do the job well. And what’s the best way to prove that you can do a job well? By doing it. By putting in the time and effort to learn how to do it well. And that takes time. Time that you may not have, due to your other responsibilities in life. Like raising a child, for instance.
How To Budget Your Way to Prosperity
Being a freelancer is also not the most affordable option out there. There are all kinds of unexpected expenses that you’ll incur, like equipment and software costs, business or legal fees, office space, etc. The list is endless. Add all of that up, and you’ll end up with a truly daunting figure. Especially since none of this will generate any revenue, at least not in the near future.
The answer is to budget. You’ll have to set some money aside from your earnings in a special account called a “savings account”. This is separate from your normal checking account, which you’ll use to pay your bills. Bringing money in from various small jobs is the key to being able to afford all of this. By the way, if you’re looking for quick and easy ways to make extra cash, you could try renting out your bike or parking it across the street from a busy area and seeing if anyone is willing to pay you to park. There are lots of possibilities out there.
Career Choices Are Important
There are also plenty of options outside of writing for money that you might consider. For example, you could become an online freelancer, which means you’ll be doing a lot of your work from home. Or you could become an independent sales representative, where you’ll sell products for a commission. Or you could become a brand ambassador or a product demonstrator and get paid to show off a product or service.
What you decide to do will depend on your personality, your ambitions, and what feels right for you. But just about anything is possible as a freelancer, as long as you’re open to new ideas and willing to learn new skills.
The Necessary Rough
If you’re thinking about making the leap into freelancing, then perhaps the best thing for you to do is to surround yourself with people who know what they’re doing. People who have already successfully made the transition. Talking to other freelancers is also a great idea. Especially since many of them will be able to give you advice on how to manage your new life style. In the end, nobody knows your situation better than you. So by learning from others, you’ll be able to form a much better opinion of what will and won’t work for you.
With just a little planning ahead of the inevitable challenges, you’ll be able to get through this period with your head held high. Proudly. Knowing that you did everything you could, that you tried your best and didn’t give up. Which is exactly what you should do.
If you decide that this wasn’t for you, then you’ve got several options. You could consider getting a regular job. But even then, being independent doesn’t mean you’re assured of steady employment. Many new freelancers get hit by a wave of temporary layoffs, at least until the economy picks back up. Or you could try getting a side gig, something that doesn’t require a lot of effort but can bring in some extra cash.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. But no matter what you decide, just remember to breathe. And don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.