These days, the freelancing has become so much common. I guess you hear people acclaiming that they are freelancers. These are people who are just starting out or failed to get jobs or left their jobs. According to Upwork, 53% of people aged 18 to 22 are freelancers. This has surged up especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic where companies are outsourcing their work to people working remotely to reduce on their work force.
In this article, you are going to learn what is freelancing and how it works, its pros and cons and how to get started. You will also find out if it is really for you and what you need to before becoming a freelancer.
What is freelancing?
Freelancing is just being self-employed. Freelancing means working independently without a boss and work is based on contracts with customers. Your customers are your bosses and you are not recruited by a company to work solely for it, though you can also work for companies but the contract is job-based and short term.
Who is a freelancer
A freelancer is that individual who doesn’t work for a particular organization but earns on every job accomplished. He/she is a mercenary who is free to work for anyone he/she wants unless there is a contractual agreement with specific conditions. And one of these conditions may be not to work with any person or organization till the work he/she is doing is accomplished.
Freelancing is spicy as spicy can be and you will find that it solves the problems that are associated with being attached to one employer or organization.
Pros of freelancing
Working from home on anywhere
When you get a job, among the first things you have to know is where you will work from. You have to be at your work station during working hours. But when you are a freelancer, you have the liberty to work anywhere. Whether at a bus station or in a class room or at a friend’s home. You can literally work from anywhere as long as you find the place suitable to do your work from.
Freedom and flexibility
Nothing here is fixed. First of all you have the privilege and space to increase your earning potential. Not where you have the same paycheck no matter how much work you do or value you add to the organization.
Still you have the flexibility to determine everything related to your work. And you don’t have to commit to the same thing every day. Routine breeds boredom. When you do or go through the same thing every time, it becomes boring. And when you get bored you lose the passion and curiosity and work become unexciting and forceful.
Determine your own working time
There can be times when you really don’t feel like working and want to postpone work yet you have to report to work. You may decide not go sometimes when you have an acceptable excuse to present but this doesn’t happen all the time and the consequences are harsh.
Freelancing allows you to decide whether you will one hour or two or seven or whether you will work in the morning or at midnight. I mean no one has to tell you to work from 9AM to 5PM six days a week. You can even decide to work one hour once every week.
This can be a disadvantage to some people like my sister who is a teacher and enjoys company like nothing. But for me and those who are like me, freelancing can be enjoyable since we enjoy being alone than being with so and so. With freelancing you won’t have to be bothered by workmates.
Pick and choose projects/jobs
Here you have the right to choose what and what not to do. You can say, “Am not in the right mood for your work, try someone else”. You can always click next if a client becomes a nail in the throat to you. This is not the case where you have to do everything your employer throws at you.
Cons of freelancing
Nothing in this world is perfect, the sun that gives us light also burns us out and the rain that brings life can interfere in one’s programs and calling them off. Likewise freelancing can also become a hard nut to crack sometimes.
Today you got money but who tells you that you will assuredly get it tomorrow. There is no employer who will pay you daily or weekly or monthly. Here you get paid on the basis of work accomplished and if clients are not lining up at your home or inbox, there is no guarantee you will get money tomorrow.
Here where I live, there is NSSF (National Social Security Fund) where employers have to deposit 15% of the gross salary to cater for requirement of their workers. But that does not accrue if you are a freelancer. In short freelancers don’t get benefits, no health insurance or retirement pension. You are basically in charge of your holidays, sick time, retirement. You just need to be good at managing your finances.
Lack of work community
I don’t have an encyclopedia of the work I do in my head and I guess you are just like me. Everyone needs some assistance and you need people who can help you with some more information or new knowledge about what you are doing. Most times you will find yourself locked alone doing work when you are a freelancer. And if you don’t have friends to call or run to, you will end up throwing the work in the dustbin.
Dealing with hard clients
People are hard to deal with and if you are a freelancer you have to deal with them. You have to push and pull with clients while negotiating with them, asking for your demands and also take in some insults sometimes and of course you don’t have to feel offended because it is normal with freelancing. You have to deal with whatever the clients throw at you.
Separation of work and home
Non freelancers leave their homes and go to their work places and then start doing their jobs till time comes for going off. But you are home and no one tells you to do this or this. Or your kids will start jumping on you. You will have to learn how to put a line between personal life and work if the moment you decide to freelance.
Is freelancing for you
You want to be a freelancer but to be honest freelancing is not for everyone and you would find more people would do well being employed than being freelancers. Let’s go on and you also find out if you are better off being pushed around to work than pushing yourself.
You don’t like to learn
When you are working in an organization, you are working with people with different skill sets and levels. You can learn a lot from these people. And more often than not you will be notified about the new advancements in the field you are working in and sometimes your employers will arrange skilling upgrade sessions. Here learning is a bit less deliberate and available. If you are freelancing you don’t have this advantage of learning.
Lack concentration (jumpy)
These days we are distracted with many things. From social media, TV shows and movies, games, phone push notifications, our daily life problems and a lot more. You find it easy for one to jump from this to another. For someone who is employed, work is streamlined and guided but if you are a freelancer, you have teach yourself to concentrate on what you have to do.
Trouble managing time
You can decide to work 30 minutes a day when in reality it is not enough time for you to accomplish the work you have at hand. You will find yourself ever working in deadlines and clashing with clients.
Trouble dealing with clients
Freelancing can’t be a match for you if you don’t know how to manage people. You have to be able to read people and situations and make your claim otherwise you will be taken advantage of.
Uncomfortable with being alone
Most times with freelancing you have to face the world of work with no company and just a thought of being alone is a nightmare to some people.
Trouble being motivated
However much your work is enjoyable, there are times you feel like not working. This can happen anytime but if you are a freelancer you can face a hard time convincing yourself to work unless you are self-motivated. But not all people can be self-motivated and freelancing would be a bad idea to them.
You can however learn all this, you can learn working alone, dealing with people, managing time, avoiding distractions and so. But it requires commitment, time and still another learning. You can’t get these skills in days or weeks. It takes months and years. And if you are serious about freelancing but have these issues, it would be a good idea to first get employed as you are attaining the personal development you need to be a freelancer.
What to do before starting freelancing
Decide the services/work of your main focus
Of course you won’t start jumping from this work to another one unless you are destined to fail. Having a focus helps you identify clients and retaining them plus also gaining more experience in what you are doing.
Learn as much as you can
No one will give you work unless you know what you say you do. If you accept someone’s job without having knowledge about it, wait for the consequences.
Create a business and documents
You should have the pricing ready plus contract invoices. This makes you present yourself as a profession. There are many people who have the skills you have but those who get the money are those who package their skills as a business aimed at solving people’s problems.
Build your brand, portfolio/website
This is a rule of thumb. How can you create awareness about what you do without building a brand and presenting it on a website and social media.
Above all be confident. You won’t be an expert when first starting out but you will be after sometime. You will build your skill set and confidence with each job done. Also give clients realistic time frames. Don’t try pleasing a client while making life difficult for you.
Where to find freelancing jobs
You can find freelance jobs on online networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This time you don’t go there to chat or scroll through feeds but presenting yourself as a profession and looking for job gigs.
You can also get freelance jobs when doing real life networking. You have to physically socialize with people with the aim of getting clients. On events, restaurants, parks. Just anywhere there are people.
Still you can fish for job gigs with online advertising with advertising platforms like Google Ads, Facebooks Ads and so on.