If you’re thinking of discarding the idea of the traditional work schedule and replacing it with a flexible work schedule, then freelancing is the way to go! But, as with other things in life, deciding to do something and turning it into reality are two different concepts.
Speaking from my personal freelancer perspective, shifting to a flexible work schedule has significantly changed my life for the better. But, (yes, there is always but) this doesn’t mean that the freelancing world is the promised land of milk and honey in unlimited quantities.
Just like any other work, freelancing has its ups and downs, and that’s why I choose to be realistic and honest with you by accentuating the following:
Freelancing is tough, but it also brings a lot of benefits!
So, before going freelance, it’s advisable first to consider all the pros and cons of it to save yourself from unnecessary trouble and disappointments.
And, after that, if you feel like you’re ready to enter the world of freelancing, you’ll find the list of helpful advice on how to freelance like a boss! So, buckle up and let’s get started!
The Benefits of Freelancing
There are many benefits of freelancing, and that is the main reason why more and more people are drawn to becoming their own boss. From being your own boss to preserving your own well-being, here are some more benefits of going freelance:
1. A flexible work schedule
If you’ve never been a fan of early morning wakeups (like myself), then going freelance will help you avoid this “inconvenience” like the plague. How?
Because being a freelancer means making your own work schedule, working at your own pace, and having the flexibility to accept new jobs/tasks when you want, or better said, when you’re feeling ready. With this flexible work concept, you have more time to do the things you love – to play games, to go for a walk, to cook, to hang out with your friends, and so on.
Also, being a freelancer means having fewer working hours than those who work full-time because you’re the one who organizes your own workload. So, this means that you won’t spend 40 hours per week on your job, but probably less than that.
Summarized, this means that you have the opportunity to manage your own work schedule in accordance with your lifestyle, needs, and wishes.
2. The ability to work anywhere
This is probably one of the best things about being a freelancer. When you imagine that you have the ability to work anywhere, meaning that you’re not tied to one place, you immediately feel more carefree and flexible.
You can set your own home office. You can work from your favorite coffee shop, and best of all is that you can literally work from the beach in the Maldives and cruise around the world all the while you’re still “working”.
You don’t have to worry that you’ll miss certain events or that you’ll miss visiting all those magical places just because you have to stay where your work is. When you’re freelancing, you have the ability to carry your work with yourself wherever you go (even though sometimes this can also be a curse).
3. You control your work relationships
When you’re working full-time, you’re obliged to check your emails all the time, but when you’re freelancing, you become the one in control of your work relationships.
You can set your own policy for when you will be checking emails, and you don’t have to worry about ignoring your boss, your clients, or your colleagues – you don’t have to worry about finding yourself in a stressful situation.
4. You can exercise whenever it works for you
If you’re a healthy lifestyle & gym freak like myself, then you’ll love the freedom of exercising whenever you want. This can actually help you improve your work because ten squats in between your tasks can significantly improve your brain’s memory and cognitive abilities.
When you’re feeling tired or drained from work, you can easily decide to hit the gym and sweat out all the stress that has accumulated in your body. After that, you’ll feel rejuvenated and ready for new challenges!
5. You’re less likely to get sick
Since the majority of freelancers are working from home, this means they’re less likely to get sick because they don’t have to share one room with their co-workers or to commute by bus or other public transport. As a freelancer, you have higher chances of avoiding contagious diseases!
The (Potential) Drawbacks of Freelancing
I deliberately wrote potential because the following are not necessarily drawbacks in every case, but rather potential drawbacks that you should keep in mind when deciding whether or not to go freelance:
1. Inconsistent work
Being a freelancer means that at some periods, you will be overworked, and at others, you might have no work at all. Inconsistent work can reflect on your income, and that’s why it’s important not to rely on only one client.
2. No employer benefits
Freelancers don’t have employer’s benefits, meaning you have to pay for your own coverage, you don’t get paid sick leave or vacation, and you can’t just not to show up at your work because if you don’t, you won’t earn any money that day.
3. Some clients will try to take advantage of you!
Some clients won’t pay on time, and others will try to get more for their money without paying extra for it. Basically, some clients will try to take advantage of you, but I guess that’s just how things work in almost every business.
4. Not every hour is billable
Unlike full-time employees, freelancers are not paid for every hour they spend at work. Finding new jobs and clients might take a lot of your unpaid time.
5. You need a head for business
Being a freelancer means dealing with things like finances, expenses, income taxes, accounting, billing, licensing, contracts, etc. and that’s why you need a head for business (or a faithful advisor). When you’re running your own freelance business, things can easily escalate into stress mode (especially if you’re doing it for the first time).
How to Freelance Like a Boss?
If you’ve just made a decision that freelancing is the right thing for you, you need to learn how to freelance like a boss! To help you with that, here is the list of things you should pay attention to in order to become a freelance master, so let’s see:
1. Create a strong personal brand
Creating a strong personal brand is the essence of every business. You want people to know what you’re offering, to recognize your quality assistance, and to attract more clients. Take some time to decide how you would want to present yourself to the public and be creative about establishing your own personal brand.
2. Build up your network
If you want to learn to freelance like a boss, then you’ll have to build up your network and connections by joining groups, forums, and professionals who are in the same niche of your work. The math is pretty much simple here. The more connections you have – the easier it will be for you to find jobs. In addition to these, you can sign up for some of the best platforms for online freelance which allow professionals to reach potential clients and get work on a more regular basis such as Upwork or Fiverr.
3. Set your own rates in accordance with your budget and time
When it comes to charging, the wisest thing to do is to pay attention to your budget and how much time you need for a specific project and charge accordingly. Also, keep in mind that through the time you’ll be able to raise your rates, but you need to make sure to keep providing the same quality of work as before.
4. Have a dedicated workspace
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as being a freelancer is the need for a dedicated workspace with minimum distraction. Also, it’s important to separate your workspace from your personal life so that when you’re finished with your work, you can close the door and leave all the work and stress behind you.
5. Setting boundaries
Freelancing requires discipline and devotion because freelancers can easily lose themselves in multiple tasks and fail at separating work hours from leisure time.
If you don’t set boundaries, your workday might turn into the scenery from the movie “Groundhog Day”.
Also, it’s important to set boundaries with your clients as well, so that they know when you will be available to discuss all of the details regarding projects and similar. Think of it like office hours in college. When you organize everything, it will be ten times easier for you to freelance like a boss!
6. Share your progress with the client
Even though many clients will not require you to share your progress with them regarding the ongoing projects, it’s advisable to take the initiative on this one and share your progress with the client on a daily or weekly basis. By doing so, you will avoid any potential failure or misunderstanding and save plenty of your time in the future.
7. Trust your instincts
If you feel like something’s off with the project and you’re having second thoughts regarding accepting it or not, it’s always recommended to trust your instincts regardless of how inviting the offer is.
Working in a stressful environment or with highly demanding or confusing clients can negatively reflect on your health, and no amount of money will ever be worthy of that.
As already stated, freelancing is tough, but it also brings a lot of benefits, and it’s up to you to decide whether going freelance is the right choice for you. I always say: “If you never try, you’ll never know!” So, if you have the will, opportunity, and time, you should definitely try yourself in freelancing waters, and who knows, perhaps you continue swimming and enjoying it for a long time in the future! Best of luck!