Copyright 2004 Vishal P. Rao
Not that long ago, freelancing was something people did mainly in larger metropolitan areas where work for writers, artists, and other creative types was plentiful and easily accessible. Today, however, freelance landscape has dramatically changed.
For one, you can live practically anywhere in world and still be able to maintain a successful freelance career. Not to mention that creative fields aren't only areas where freelancing is popular any more.
Today, accountants, trainers, computer technicians, etc. are all able to earn a living as freelancers. Regardless of freelancing field you are interested in, there are some important things you should know that will help you get started and get successful.
Before we discuss those, however, we need to talk briefly about pros and cons of being a freelancer. You need to know both sides before you make your decision so you truly understand what you're getting into.
1. You set your own schedule As a freelancer, you get to determine what time you get out of bed and what time you turn in at night. You get to decide how much vacation time you can afford to take this year and you can elect to skip work one afternoon to spend time with your children.
2. You don't work for a boss Even though you are answerable to your clients, they don't wield same power over your life that a boss does. Yes, they can fire you, but you can also quit working for them if things get too difficult.
3. You determine how much you earn While a conventional job pays a set amount of money regardless of how hard you work (and in some cases how long you work), freelancing allows you to make practically any amount of money that you wish because you determine how much your services cost and how many jobs you take on at one time.
4. You are able to work from your own office Whether you prefer working in a home office or renting space somewhere to do your business, you are in charge of designing and maintaining your own comfortable office. You get to pick people you work with. You get to pick type of computer, post-it notes, and bottled water that you use on a daily basis also.
1. You can become overworked quickly When you start working steadily as a freelancer, it becomes nearly impossible for you to truly take a vacation. You have projects and clients that need your constant attention, so being gone or getting sick even for a day can put you behind schedule.
2. You have to deal with clients who can be more difficult than bosses Most of clients freelancers work with are genuinely good people, but there are others out there that are not. Every freelancer has probably been ripped off by a client at one time or another, even if they take steps to protect themselves.
3. You don't have a steady income Unless you have one or two truly constant streams of work, you can expect your income to fluctuate dramatically. Some months you may feel like you struck lottery while others may make you think you're heading for food stamp line, especially when you are starting out.
4. You don't have a way to separate work from home life If you have a home office, you may find it difficult to recognize difference between being at home and being at work which means that while your watching television or eating dinner you may begin to feel like you're actually still on job.