Can anyone become a freelancer? Possibly, certain types of people can succeed as a freelancer, but it takes some hard work and discipline.
There are many reasons and situations which can make or break your new career choice, but its essential you play your part and make a success out of yourself.
Obviously I don’t think everyone should just quit their jobs and freelance, but if it’s something you have been considering the points below might help you make your decision, whether it inspires you to go for it or just stick with the job and security it provides.
You must have a viable product or skill to become a freelancer, if nobody wants what you are offering you will really struggle to stay afloat, before you make this huge leap you must research the demand for your product or skill in your target niche.
If what you can offer is in high demand, you have a great chance of surviving.
As well as having substantial knowledge about your product or service, you must also have some knowledge of how to run a business.
An idea how to communicate (with clients and others), book keeping, invoicing and record keeping will put you in a good position.
Part of your role as a freelancer will mean you have to network with potential clients and other professionals in your chosen niche, this part is important as it promotes your brand, without this nobody will know anything about your business and you will not get the clients you need.
Before even setting up as a freelancer having a few contacts and potential clients in the pipeline is beneficial as you have a few avenues to pursue instead of going in cold.
The idea of being a freelancer is an attractive one, the thought of being able to stay at home and not have to commute to work each day sounds like bliss but it has its pitfalls.
Attempting to work in your pyjamas and lounging on the sofa will not provide any motivation for you, each day make the effort to get ready for work, as if you were travelling to an office.
You also need a quiet place to work, make the effort to free up a room or arrange a room so you have at least a desk as your personal workspace, this is a must.
The other thing you need to ensure is you cannot allow yourself to slack, with no boss looking over your shoulder the temptation to slack off is unbearable at times, but you need to persevere and complete your tasks at hand.
Task lists or to do lists can be useful tools and ensure you are doing a set amount of work each day and not wasting hours or days on a few tasks that have little benefit.
Having the time to complete your work is another aspect many freelancers overlook, often freelancers still have a fulltime job and freelance on the side, once they have built a solid reputation some may make the leap over to full time freelancer.
The downside to still working whilst freelancing is you have little time and if you take on a number of projects will really struggle to hit deadlines.
You need to set solid career goals and work towards them, plan how you will reach your goals and then eventually surpass them.
A large part of freelancing is risk, sometimes you have to take them, but before taking the risk work out the best and worse case scenarios and if the outcomes are acceptable go for it!
A freelancer has less security than in a “real job”, you are not guaranteed any pay and you are unable to get sick pay and holidays, there will be points in your new career that you may have no work and will not be earning.
You won’t just have one role, you will perform all roles from accountant to marketing representative, to sales person. The amount of time you commit to the actual role you wanted will be considerable less than you imagine.
Working in isolation can be hard, having nobody to help you unwind, help make decisions or help you solve problems can be frustrating.
Finally you are responsible for your own taxes and must ensure you keep good records and pay the correct tax, any big errors could result in you losing your business and potentially getting in some trouble.
So to summarise there is a downside to becoming a freelancer too, before you make your decision you need to weigh up the pros and cons and if you can manage to do so without causing financial hardship its certainly worth considering.