Are you tired of your 9-5 grind, or do you want more freedom and flexibility to spend more time with your loved ones? Freelancing might be your way out of the old office job routine.
In this article, you will find out about the basics of freelancing, its pros and cons, and how to market yourself as a freelancer.
What is freelancing?
Freelancing is a type of work that allows you to provide services independently without being tied to a specific employer. This means that you may be working for multiple clients simultaneously as well.
There are a lot of misconceptions about freelancing. People often think freelancers cannot find full-time jobs or are just doing it for some extra money. But the truth is freelancing can be a great way to build a successful career.
You need to know a few things before you start freelancing, though. Having a clear idea of your skills and experience will help you sell yourself and your services effectively, which we will discuss further in the article.
What are the Pros and Cons of Freelancing?
Freedom and Flexibility
Freedom in choosing which projects to work on and when to work
With your skills and experience, you can choose which projects and clients to take in. Though you have the freedom to work on several projects simultaneously, you have to keep in mind to always fulfill your tasks as expected. Never compromise quality (over quantity of projects).
Freelancers can also choose when to work since they are only bound to a particular project for a time. Scheduling when to take a vacation or travel is much easier when freelancing.
Freedom in choosing a career path in freelancing
Your career ladder is set when you work full-time for a company. Yes, lateral movement is possible; however, you are still stuck in the same industry. While this may be alright, it can also limit your capacity. If you want to experience working for various industries and exploring (and stretching) your ability, freelancing is ideal.
Freedom from the hassle of commute
Many workers are stressed out even before they reach their workplace. The heavy traffic, especially in congested cities, is stressful enough. By the time you clock in, your energy has been zapped.
Unless you are a digital nomad, then you are more likely to make less commute when working as a freelancer. Instead of spending an hour or more commuting to work, you can spend extra time in the morning meditating or exercising. And if you have kids, every minute is precious. You can prepare their meals or spend some time helping them with their academics.
Freedom in controlling income flow
Since you can work with multiple clients at a time, there is a strong possibility for you to earn more. Setting an income quota monthly to know how much workload you need to get would be good.
Flexibility in working hours
Being able to work flexible hours is one of the most popular reasons people transition to freelancing; some even pursue business while freelancing. Freelancing has also become favorable for single mothers and single parents because they get to care for their children while earning a living. Some freelancers make most of the flexible work hours to study. Whatever your situation, freelancing allows you to have some control over working hours.
Flexibility in location
Another advantage of freelancing is that you can work anywhere as long as you have access to the internet. So, if you are into traveling and exploring the world, be a freelancer. You could even blog about your travels and earn from blogging.
In freelancing, you can work for different clients from different countries, and you will be able to expand your network locally and globally. As you work with different nationalities, your understanding and worldview will become more expansive as you get exposed to various cultures.
Development and Growth
Though this still depends on the individual, there is much room for personal development and growth with freelancing. You will learn new skills and gain the knowledge you could not achieve if you were stuck in a particular role. As a freelancer, you will eventually learn about niches that are in demand that will want you to gain some training or mentorship.
It is typical among freelancers to shift from one niche to another. You may start as a writer and later transition into something more technical such as Search Engine Optimization, or from graphic design to UX/UI design. The possibility is endless in freelancing.
How to Market Yourself as a Freelancer
- As a freelancer, you are your boss and set your hours and prices. When marketing yourself, you cannot just sit back and hope that clients will come to you; you have to be proactive and put yourself out there. Below are some tips on how you can market yourself better:
- Define your niche- What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? What are your strengths?
- Build a strong portfolio- By showcasing your previous work and highlighting your skills, you can show potential clients what you’re capable of and why they should hire you. Once you have a portfolio of work to show potential clients, ensure it is easily accessible. It is best to include a link to your portfolio on your website or blog and ensure it is up-to-date with your latest projects.
- Create a memorable brand
How to establish a memorable brand in freelancing
- Describe yourself. What makes you unique? What are your strengths? Knowing what sets you apart makes it easier to market yourself effectively.
- Create a professional website and social media profiles. Make sure your online presence is polished and professional. Include links to your work, testimonials from satisfied clients, and anything else that would showcase your skills and abilities.
- Stay active online. Regularly update your blog or website, post interesting articles or videos, and participate in relevant online discussions. This will help keep your name top of mind with potential clients.
- Get involved in your community. Attend local networking events, join relevant online communities, and volunteer for causes that align with your brand. This will help you meet like-minded people and build valuable relationships.
- Use social media to your advantage.- People spend a significant amount of time on social media platforms. So being present in those will give you many opportunities to showcase what you are capable of. For example, tweet links to articles you have written or post samples of your work on LinkedIn. Potential clients can gain insights into your writing style, which is what they might be looking for.
- Stay up-to-date on industry news. You can stay up-to-date on industry news and trends by following relevant hashtags and influencers on social media. This valuable information can help you position yourself as an expert in your field.
- Connect with other freelancers. Connecting with other freelancers on social media is a great way to share resources, advice, and support. It is also great for building relationships with potential collaborators or referral sources.
You need to put in effort and time to market yourself. As you transition to freelancing, you should know that it is not a walk in the park and can be challenging.
What are the cons of freelancing?
- No stability
Since you are not working as a full-time or permanent employee, there are instances when your client suddenly runs out of budget and has to let you go. While you can always have multiple clients, it can be exhausting to juggle numerous clients to make ends meet. You also always need to look out for prospective clients and projects, which can take up some of your time. However, this is manageable as long as you have a good workflow.
- Lack of other work benefits
Unlike when working for a company, you do not have access to work benefits and incentives, such as health insurance or pension. You will need to allocate your earnings from your projects for this. You have to be able to plan your finances well and schedule to meet your target income.
- Working on your taxes
You will have to work on your taxes yourself as an independent contractor or hire an accountant. It is your sole responsibility to pay your dues.
- Possible isolation
If you are not mindful and intentional about spending time with your loved ones, freelancing can be pretty isolating. You work alone, and often you become too preoccupied with meeting your targets that you forget to socialize. This can take a toll on your mental health in the long run. So be intentional in setting time to meet up with your friends and family. You can read more about the inconveniences of freelance work in this post.
Overcome the Cons of Freelancing
You can overcome all these disadvantages with proper resource management. Have the right attitude and mindset to succeed in freelancing because the pros of freelancing can still outweigh its cons.
We hope you all the best with your career decision! All the pros and cons we listed are what you can expect when you start freelancing.