Whether you were fired from a position, laid off or like me, planning for the next chapter of your life, freelancing can offer many benefits and flexibility for most any lifestyle.
I prepared for two years to make the leap into the freelancing. My reasoning was simple, Boredom! I was not challenged at all. I was miserable. Sure, I made great money, a 401k, insurance and vacation days. That didn’t matter to me. I couldn’t handle it. So I developed a plan and a timeline and of course, I needed my hubby’s buy-in.~Marcia
It’s important that you identify your ‘why’, because as you grow your business you may second-guess your decision many times along the way. The temptation of getting a “real job” will come in forms of regular income, 401k match, affordable health insurance and paid sick days.
Here are some of the top reasons that you may want to freelance. You can decide your own ‘why’.
You can decide your niche and switch at any time. You can determine where and how you’ll make money. Be careful to switch it up too often, and at the same time don’t stick with something that isn’t working. Set goals with expected ROI so that you can track your progress or lack thereof.
Things to think about:
What income level would you like to sustain?
How many clients would you like to attain?
How many hours per week do you want to work?
How many days per year would you like to take off?
Flexible work schedule
This is huge. You can set your schedule and work when you’re most productive. You are in charge of your own calendar. However, with this freedom, there is a great responsibility. You need to be self-disciplined so that you actually get work done. Calendar blocking boosts productivity and is a great way to schedule your ‘to do’s’. As the old saying goes, if it’s not scheduled it won’t get done.
Calendar blocking examples:
Be sure to block time for commuting
Working through emails
Connecting through social media
Following up with leads
Work from home
This can be both good and bad. You don’t have to fight the traffic during rush hour, you save on gas and you don’t have to dress up every day. At the same time, you have to watch yourself. You need to be more disciplined when you’re at home. You need to declare dedicated hours for working. If you don’t, you may be tempted to sleep too late, watch too much TV, start cleaning the house, doing chores and all that jazz.
Freedom from corporate politics/lifestyle
I love this! Of course, I’m introverted and enjoy working alone. I felt it was such a waste of time going to endless meetings and being interrupted throughout the day with idle chit-chat. I used to reserve a conference room so that I could be by myself and work alone. I remember thinking that I got more done in one hour than four hours at my desk. It was amazing.
Although, if you’re extroverted, you can still embrace your new work from home lifestyle, in a different way. Schedule time to be with people that energize you. Join networking and meetup groups, volunteer, join a co-working space. It’s important that you carve out time to work and be with people. Whereas the introvert has to be more deliberate in scheduling time to be with people, extraverts need to be more deliberate in scheduling work time.
More control over your projects
This is surprisingly true. When you are hired as the expert, you can set the timeline and project expectations. This allows you to work at your pace. Of course, your client will need to agree to your terms. Most clients look to you to tell them when you can complete the project. Use your freedom and time wisely. It’s a great idea to buffer in a few extra days for yourself. Life happens and you can’t prepare for everything. It’s better to deliver ahead of schedule than be late.
It’s important to keep track of all your projects, details, timelines and deadlines. Trello is a free tool or you could use a Google sheet or an Excel spreadsheet. We recommend free tools when you’re first getting started. You need to be super conservative with your budget. Don’t let anyone pressure you into buying tools that are simply a luxury or cool in the very beginning.
Your opinion is valued and appreciated as an expert
The more you do the more confident you’ll be. When you show up to a meeting with a client, show confidence, dress the part and deem yourself as the expert. If you don’t feel and look the part, it will show and the client may not hire you. Continue your education so that you stay on top of things and network with your peers so that you can be sure to stay on top of trends.
You’ll open new doors
When you’re out and about networking and gaining new clients, you’ll never know what new opportunities and relationships you’ll find and the amazing people you’ll meet. Make sure you connect with people on LinkedIn and keep a list of leads. You can use a spreadsheet to compile this information (i.e., Name, date, phone, email, notes, follow-up and etc).
Ability to tap into new skills
This is a fun one. So, this is what happens. You agree to do X, Y, and Z for a client and then they ask you to do W. You’ve never done W before. You definitely don’t want to turn down your client because it’s much easier and cheaper to keep a client versus finding a new one to replace them. So you may need to learn a new skill or task. There are plenty of free resources (i.e., YouTube, Google for Education Training Center, Facebook BluePrint and etc.). If it’s not in your comfort zone, hire a freelancer to do the work and you manage the project. Stretch yourself as often as you can. The experience will help you along in your Freelance career.
The opportunity to increase your income
At the beginning of Freelance life, you need to know that the income is inconsistent. Don’t let that stop you. There are many ways to diversify so that you can have other income streams in addition to your client base.
Offer to speak and share your expertise
Create webinars and sell them online
Sell Your Creatives
Be sure to stick to your budget and keep your overhead low. This is vitally important since freelance income is inconsistent.
You like to travel
What a beautiful thing to be able to work virtually anywhere that has internet access. When traveling, carve out time for work and adventure. It’s your schedule, own it. Be sure to sure to share your availability with your clients if you’ll be out of the country in a different time zone.
They’ll appreciate you sharing the information with them. Make sure you put on an ‘out of office’ message when your away. We all need a respite. Don’t think you need to work all the time. You have a right to a non-work vacation. Plan ahead and work ahead so you will enjoy yourself and not be concerned about work.
Enjoy holidays and leisure time
I think this is one of my favorite benefits of freelancing. Spending time with family and friends is vitally important to your mental health. You’ll find that you are a better person because you’re able to spend time with people that are most important to you and that you’re not bound to a work schedule. Plan ahead and work ahead so you won’t be stressed out while you’re spending time with the people you love.
Do you know your freelancing ‘why’? Or are you just entertaining the thought? We offer training and coaching to help you get your freelance business start.
Contact us for more information.