Is Freelancing For You?
Have you been reading about the gig economy and freelancers wishing you were in on it? Yet part of you is wondering if you can really make it — right? Freelancing is not for the faint of heart, nor is it easy, but it can be done. I’m here to tell you that after 14 years as a freelancer, the rewards are great! Let’s take a look at the big question, though — Is freelancing for you?
I thought it might help to share the characteristics of many freelancers. Everyone is different and all have many qualities so I will only touch the surface, I am sure. Perhaps this will help put you on the path to freelancing if you recognize these characteristics within yourself.
Let’s begin by defining what a Freelancer is…
“free·lanc·er, free-lanc·er . a person who works as a writer, designer, performer, or the like, selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc., rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer.”
Basically, a freelancer is a person who is an independent contractor and is paid by the hour or an agreed-upon flat project/service rate. Freelancers do not have employee benefits but do have other benefits that far outweigh the employee benefits for most. Our benefits come in the way of freedom, flexibility, more time with family, the ability to work when & how we want, along with many more benefits. If, however, you need stability, security, and benefits, then freelancing is probably not a good fit for you. It is a wonderfully exciting journey if you are up for the adventure.
Freelancers Are Resilient
To be a freelancer you must be resilient and tough. There will be days when you doubt and question why you did this but if you stick with it and really work on your business it can be an amazing journey.
Definition of resilience
“2: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”
Resilient people may get knocked down but they also bounce back and get back up quickly. Client work is not guaranteed but if you are good and you overdeliver you will have an abundance of clients and client referrals. Losing one can be devasting early on and that is why I say resiliency is a necessity.
Freelancers Are Flexible
There are times when a project or task does not go according to plan. You have to be willing to go with the flow sometimes. I am a planner and I like things to go the way I think they will go on a given day and when it doesn’t I do not always react as well as I should perhaps. I have learned, however, that with my clients I must be flexible. When a client is going through something themselves they do not always remember to give freelancers the information or digital assets needed. There are even times when they do not realize the urgency of a project and then want you to turn it around in a very tight timeline.
This doesn’t mean you always do this for clients. You should certainly have clauses in your contract that has wording about your ‘normal turn-around time’. There are, however, circumstances that warrant your understanding and if you can be flexible it is a big plus.
Freelancers Work Hard
I know there are people who get into the freelance or virtual assistant world thinking they can make a few extra dollars without putting in much effort. I also know they received a big surprise when it wasn’t an overnight windfall of money. Hard work is a given part of the freelance world. I’ve spent hours and hours on my business. When I had the agencies and we were full of clients I often worked 12 to 14+ hours a day. The only time I could work on (not in it) my business was the weekend. I would encourage you to not follow my example as I think there should be a balance. I’ve learned from this over the years and try to balance my hard work with family and other activities.
I suggest that you put together a list of your priorities and then also write down your definition of success.
What would success look like for you?
I ask my clients this question all the time. It is not a small thing. Defining success for yourself will not only help your mindset but will also help you set goals and micro-goals to reach your definition of success.
“Success looks very different for everyone.”
For me, success is being able to work from my bed when needed because of a bad MS day and still earn revenue! What is success for you? You will have to work hard but if you define your goals and know what it (success) will look like for you it will be easier to achieve.
Freelancers Are Superheroes
Freelancers are superheroes to their clients! Did you know you were a superhero if you are a freelancer? It is true, that your clients could not do it without you. You are part of their success. Freelancers do all types of tasks to help others succeed. From administrative to marketing and strategy, to coaching — all to help support someone else’s success. Always remember if you are a Freelancer, you are a superhero!!!
Freelancers Are Independent
We work independently and need to be self-motivated. Are you self-motivated and able to work on your own without someone else cheering you on or giving you instructions each time? This is a very important part of freelancing. Clients want to be able to hand over the tasks needed and expect that you know what you are doing (aside from the informational things at the beginning of your client-freelancer relationship).
Just as a Painter comes to your home and brings all his/her tools and knows how to paint, clients expect us to know what we are doing when they give the work. It does not mean never asking for clarification but means once you know what is needed you can work by yourself and get the project accomplished.
Freelancers Are Responsible
In general, Freelancers are very responsible people. We know when we have a deadline and we know how to accomplish the work by that deadline. We also know the work given to us is confidential and may involve intellectual property.
1 — “(of a person’s tone of voice) indicating that what one says is private or secret.”
2 — “entrusted with private or restricted information.”
Freelancers must be responsible and keep clients’ confidential matters and work private.
Freelancers Are Not Perfect
Although we have all these wonderful traits we are not perfect. Freelancers make mistakes too and must be willing to apologize to clients. It is not an easy thing to admit to our mistakes. I have come to realize, however, that when I am vulnerable and own my mistakes, clients are more willing to forgive me. I have found that when you are honest in all your dealings with clients they tend to be more loyal as well.
Freelancers Have Freedom
I think it is only fair to also mention the freedom that Freelancers have as well. In mentioning being flexible for clients we also have the benefit of being flexible and free in our own work and family life. Freelancers can set their schedules as a contractor. Yes, we may have deadlines but usually, these are our days to weeks out and not urgent. It, therefore, allows freelancers the freedom to travel and do other things they desire to do.
Is Freelancing For You
- Work Hard
- Not Perfect
- Those Who Create Freedom for Themselves
What Freelancing Is Not…
- Quick Money
- Easy Work
- A Vacation
- Overnight Success
Are You Ready?
What is the verdict for you? Do you have what it takes to be a freelancer? I hope you do because I believe in you!
If you are ready for the hard work and are ready to give it try with a little help — I would love to partner with you to walk you through the steps needed to get set upright.
How Can I Help
Is Freelancing for you? If you are ready to step into this service-based freelancing world, I would love to help you! I help freelancers, virtual assistants, graphic designers, and many other small service-based businesses get started all the time. We use proven steps and methods along with strategies to get you started in the right way. You can be up and running your own business in a relatively short time.
If you would like to chat about your future as a freelancer Let’s Chat!
To Your Continued Success!
Tammy S. Durden
- Originally posted on Fearless Business Boss’ website