It’s been almost 3 years since I’ve decided to move from a regular job to an online freelancing/consulting job and I don’t regret it one bit. I’ve always hated to wake up at 7 every morning and to commute to work, finish my job at 17/18 and come back home. This feeling of being stuck in one place and doing the same tasks everyday were killing me. I had the feeling that I’m losing my potential, that I can be dished like an old sock at any moment and I couldn’t develop as much as I wanted.
So, why I think you should move on and become independent:
1. Diversity in your work
Being an marketing consultant, I have the opportunity to work on all sorts of projects within: traveling companies, IT companies, Real Estate and so on. Every project that I’m working on is so diverse and so challenging, that keeps me in a hook and I don’t get bored doing the same tasks everyday.
Also, the diversity of my work gave me the chance to develop my business and marketing skills on different business segments.
2. Getting to know people from different cultures
A big advantage of working online, is the opportunity of getting to know people from all over the world. I’ve been working with Americans, Australians, Swedish, French, Japanese, British and so on. It’s really interesting to see, how different cultures interact in the work environment, what they like and dislike, their work efficiency and ethics, business challenges.
3. You will be working alone
I always considered myself a team player. Being a freelancer come with the big disadvantage of working alone – a lot! I’m still a bit melancholic when I’m thinking about my days in Electrolux, where I was in an international environment with colleagues from all over the world and I felt I was a part of the team.
I guess in one moment you will get used to it, but it’s a big factor that you should consider before stepping into this environment. What helped me a lot, was working from co-working spaces. I hate working from home, so working from co-working spaces brought back in away that feeling of being in a team + you have the chance to meet interesting new people.
4. You’ll need self-discipline
When you first start freelancing as a full time job, you will get distracted very easy . You are going to wake up later, going to be bed even later and losing a lot of time on other stuff then work.
Instead of working through the morning, you’re working through the night. Not only is that unhealthy, it turns your free hours into working ones.
What I usually do is that I’m trying to keep a set of hours 8/9 hours that I work daily, because being a freelancer some work will always come up. Keep yourself available just in case you work with people from different time zones.
Image source: Standardmedia.co.ke
5. You need to find your clients and deal with them
I’m not quite passionate of doing the first part – lead generation . Being a freelancer you have to do a lot of sales and to promote yourself (I like to call it personal branding).
When you interact with clients, you have always to be polite, responsive and professional on every project that you do. There is no room for superficiality if you want your clients to come back to you with new projects. I’m trying to give 101% for every client, even if sometimes people don’t realized that or don’t appreciate my efforts.
6. Don’t do work for Free
Unfortunately, nowadays there are so many freelancers that they underrate themselves and do free work, this most of the times is killing the market. Let’s not forget that you are going to meet clients that are asking you for extra-service and give you more work than you agree upon initially. Don’t fall into the trap of overworking just because you are afraid to loose clients, otherwise you will spend a lot of your time doing volunteer work.
What I recommend you, is to set clearly from the beginning the following aspects: job/project description, amount of hours that you spend, budget and duration of the project. This way you are going to have less chances of working for free.
Image source: Typexperiments
7. Don’t let emotions take over
Working as a freelancer your getting to know all sort of people: nice ones, irradiating, pushy, unreasonable etc. Let’s not forget, that you’re going to face a lot of rejections. But, you have to handle the situations with diplomacy and tact.
Keep your emotions in control when dealing with clients, because in the end the clients are the ones that pay the bills.
8. Know what’s trending
As a freelancer, you will need to be up to date with the latest trends in your industry and the latest tools you can use to help your clients achieve their goals. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have to lose hours reading all sorts of online articles or knowing all the tools, but you have to know which trends are affecting you directly and what you can use in your advantage.
For e.g. on marketing the no. 5 sites that I’m always reading are:
9. Good and bad financial months
Another disadvantage of being a freelancer is that you’re going to have months that your income is way up and months that you are close to zero. If you are a person that is feeling comfortable with a regular income in the end of the month than freelancing is not for you.
A big recommendation here is that you really need to learn to save money. This way, you can balance the income between the months.
10. Work from everywhere in the world
I left the best part in the end, because this one I think is the biggest advantage of being a freelancer. At the moment I’m living in Bali, just moved here almost 2 weeks ago.
The fact that you are not committed to one location gives you the advantage of working from everywhere in the world. Think like this: you still need to pay for accommodation, utilities, food and other expenses. Why not leave abroad in some affordable countries where you can even do some savings.
Living in Bali is an incredible experience, but I’ll leave this story for my next post.