Working as a freelancer can be a liberating and rewarding experience. IF you can successfully beat the Procrastination Monster each day. It allows you to be your own boss, set your own schedule, and choose the projects that interest you. However, freelancing also comes with its own set of challenges, from finding clients to managing your time effectively.
Benefits of freelancing:
Flexibility You can work from anywhere in the world, at any time that suits you. This means you can fit your work around other commitments, such as family or travel. It also means you can work when you are most productive, whether that is early in the morning or late at night.
Variety As a freelancer, you can choose to work on projects that interest you, rather than being tied to the same job day after day. This means you can constantly learn new skills and expand your knowledge, which can be incredibly satisfying.
The option to choose which projects you work on is an empowering feeling when you’ve been used to working on whatever the boss hands you in your day job. If you like variety and learning new things, running your own freelance business is a crash course in business studies + adulting + building a resilient mindset + financial management + project management + time management + marketing. I’m sure there are more things that I’ve ‘majored’ in over the last three years of freelancing.
You will grow like you’ve never grown before and if you’re not ready for change and the management of that change, then ease slowly into freelancing while still working so you can adjust to your new way of life at a pace that suits you. That’s the great thing about freelancing - you don’t need to make a drastic choice to quit your job - take your time and build your business organically.
Challenges of freelancing:
Finding Clients requires a lot of networking, marketing, and self-promotion. You need to sell your skills and convince potential clients that you are the right person for the job. This can take time and effort, but it is essential if you want to build a successful freelance career.
I’ve found clients through my friendship group, networking events, business groups and online freelance job sites. I’ve had no clients come to me through social media yet, as I only have just over 1000 followers across all my social media channels. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through marketing my business is that having an email client list is essential. You must have multiple lead-generation techniques to gather email addresses and add them to your email list. This email list is then your audience. Unlike social media platforms, which we can’t control and are at the mercy of trends and algorithms; an email list will reach your audience directly into their inboxes and usually has a higher return on investment than social media ads in most cases.
Time Management As a freelancer, you handle your own schedule and deadlines, which can be both a blessing and a curse. You’re responsible for being your own boss, so you might need to get tough with yourself if your attention wanders. It is important to set realistic goals and prioritize your workload to ensure you meet your client’s expectations.
One way to manage your time is to use productivity tools, such as time-tracking software and project management apps. These can help you stay on top of your workload and ensure you are making the most of your time.
Over the last three years, I’ve trialled many techniques to focus my distractible brain. Some worked for a while, some didn’t work at all. But these three techniques have worked consistently and long-term to keep me focused and motivated.
Pomodoro timer - I set my timer for 25 minutes and do the work! I can do up to four 25-minute sessions before my focus wanders.
Focusmate sessions - I signed up to Focusmate.com where I can book an online work session with another user and we do our work together on screen, which adds an extra layer of accountability and removes the urge to procrastinate.
Noise-cancelling headphones - you can use them with music or without. When I need to focus, I listen to an anti-procrastination meditation soundtrack. Otherwise, I’d recommend listening to instrumental music (no lyrics) especially if you’re writing because other people’s words and voices can interrupt hearing your own when you need to create.
Finances As a freelancer, you invoice clients, manage your expenses, and pay your own taxes. It is important to keep accurate records and stay on top of your finances to ensure you are making a profit.
Despite the challenges, freelancing can be a highly rewarding career choice. It allows you to take control of your own career and build a portfolio of work that reflects your skills and interests. It also provides the freedom to work on your own terms and pursue projects that excite you.
To freelance or not to freelance?
Freelancing is not suitable for everyone. If you like financial stability, then make sure you ease into freelancing and only quit your day job when you have a steady flow of clients and income. Don’t do what I did and jump in headfirst with your boots on and quit your job before you had an excellent base of new clients. Slow and steady is best when transitioning from a day job to freelancing. Now, there's a steady flow of work, but it was tough for a while between clients.
Is freelancing the right choice for you? Working as a freelancer can be a great way to build a fulfilling career. It offers flexibility, variety, and the opportunity to take control of your own work. However, it also requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and self-discipline. If you will put in the effort, freelancing is a highly rewarding and empowering career choice.