Advances in technology have made it easier than ever to work remotely from home. There are high-quality video conferencing apps and chat platforms that come close to duplicating working in an office. Job boards are full of freelance gigs. And, everyone has been using the technology and making remote work for more than a year.
However, technology is not all you need. Plus, working full-time as a freelancer is vastly different from having a full-time job and taking occasional sideline work. Let's take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of working as a freelancer, and how to know if now is the time for you.
Is Now a Good Time To Go Freelance?
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the labor landscape. Many employees are now working remotely, and companies are more willing to hire freelancers. More professions have opened up to remote work, and, as a result, more freelancing jobs are available now than ever before.
According to Intuit, there are currently 53 million people working as freelancers in the United States. A survey indicates 55 percent of companies have plans to hire more freelancers in the future. Intuit projects that by 2027, 51 percent of the population will be working in freelance jobs.
These numbers give you good reason to expect there will be work to be had.
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What Are the Consequences of Going Freelance Full-time?
On the other time, a full-time job means you have a consistent paycheck, healthcare insurance and paid time off.
With freelancing, you don't have the certainty that you're going to get a paycheck every week; you have to find your own health insurance and you don't get paid vacations. This means that if you don't work, you don't get paid. It also means that even though you've done the work, your check may be delayed or on a payment cycle that is far longer than you would have with a full-time job.
If you miss talking with your co-workers, freelancing can be lonely. Some people need to interact socially with other people on a regular basis, while others do not. You have to find out for yourself which type of person you are and find ways to interact with people if that's something you enjoy.
With freelancing, you get to decide what you do every day and what career goals you pursue. You don't have an employer telling you what to do. Of course, that only goes so far if you want to have a steady flow of work.
To go freelance, you need to have a plan.
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Do You Have a Freelancer’s Mindset?
Freelancing is not easy. You're going to get a lot of rejection, and you have to be able to accept that and move on. Freelancers must have these three traits:
Must be proactive - Freelancers need to proactively manage their time. They need to take action to build relationships, develop skills and market their services. Freelancers take steps to build their brand and develop trust with their clients. No one is going to build a business for a freelancer; they must do it themselves.
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Must be emotionally tough - Freelancers will face adversity, uncertainty and numerous roadblocks in their quest to develop business. A freelancer will have to learn how to see setbacks as a challenge and a learning experience and move on. If it ruins your day when someone says no, being a freelancer might not be for you.
Must be mentally flexible - Freelancers must be capable of adapting to different situations and finding flexible solutions to getting work. Being adaptable to the client's demands will lead to more jobs and create a foundation for financial security. Being able to take the skills you have and apply them to a variety of work is also key.
Consider also: 5 Sites for Freelance Success
Do You Have a Plan?
To go freelance, you need to have a plan. You should prepare your portfolio and decide how you are going to obtain clients. You should identify your specific market and have a list of prospects.
Project how much work you're going to need to pay your expenses. Figure out how many clients you have to have and how much you'll be able to charge to cover your costs. Your budget must also include self-employment taxes and premiums for health insurance. Remember that payment may not arrive as quickly as you anticipate, so add the time to your first payment-in-hand to your savings cushion.
If you have your portfolio prepared, a client and work already lined up and enough savings to cover three to six months of expenses, you may be ready to take on a freelance job.
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