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Why Freelancing May Not Be Right For You
Freelancing is not for everyone. While it can give you some initially appealing opportunities, it’s riddled with hurdles which people typically discover only after they've left their full-time job.
These are some of the factors you should be aware of before you choose to pursue a career as a freelancer, no matter your trade.
Because freelancers are responsible for their own schedules, managing your time effectively is absolutely essential to the job. If a freelancer isn’t organized, things can get out of hand very easily.
You also need to spend a lot of time prioritizing tasks in order to work efficiently. Things can easily fall through the cracks, overwhelming you quickly. And if any emergencies come into play, that could cause an awful domino effect.
Limits and Capabilities
When freelancing, especially in the beginning, you’ll want to say “yes” to every potential job. That can make it very difficult to manage the load. The worst thing you can do is take on too much, leading to missed deadlines or a compromise in quality of work.
Being busy is a good thing, but it can also get in the way of developing relationships with potential clients. Finding that balance is extremely difficult and it takes years to master.
Building a Portfolio
It’s impossible to get work without experience under your belt. Therefore, you will want to build up your portfolio before you become a full-time freelancer. And that’s much easier said than done.
This may means doing pro bono projects after hours and on weekends (with approval from your current job, if necessary), or offering to help friends with your creative services. Either way, it’ll take a while before you earn anything for your efforts.
A freelancer’s network is crucial to a successful career. Sometimes the only way you can get work is by sending emails and asking if decisionmakers have any freelance jobs available. It’s possible to get projects this way, but you increase your chances exponentially if the person you’re reaching out to knows you already.
So if you aren’t already in the industry, it is very difficult to get in. You’ll be competing with experienced freelancers who know and have worked with the client already, and those clients would rather work with someone they know can produce over giving the new kid a shot.
Be Prepared to Revise
Even if you are the best in your trade, there are bound to be rounds of feedback with everything you submit. Revisions are part of the process, but it’s very easy to take them personally.
This may be difficult in creative endeavors, but you’ll feel that pressure to build a trusting relationship with your client. You’ll need to put ego aside for the sake of a project.
Freedom, But With Costs
Setting your schedule and working on your own terms may sound like a dream, but this could compromise the boundaries between your work and personal lives. Especially in the beginning, you may end up working nights and weekends in order to make ends meet and hit deadlines.
You will not have benefits like health insurance, and no guaranteed income. Many people find it difficult to operate without these safety nets.
It’ll be an uphill battle, taking a while to build your network and gain a positive reputation in the industry. There is typically a need to “pay your dues.” You’ll probably be working at a lower rate of compensation than you’d like, but your work could earn more with experience.
So if you’re reconsidering your career path, get to know all of your options and way the pros and cons, all while keeping the reality of the situation. If you’d like to talk strategies and find out what’s possible for you, speak to one of our representatives.