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How To Tell If Freelancing Is Right For You?

For the past five years of my freelancing career I received more than a handful of questions about it from several professionals. Questions about how to do it, what things to consider, and if it's actually worth the risk.
Currently, I can say that it turned out just what I wanted it to be. It's awesome being my own boss, and being able to choose what I want to work on. I'm able to pay my bills, worked on flexible schedules, etcetera. I have no regrets taking the leap from the corporate world to being a nomadic freelancer.
But where I am now, as a freelancer, is the result of the prices I've paid because honestly, freelancing is not all about backpacking and chasing sunsets. Every (successful) freelancer has a story to tell about handwork, perseverance, determination, and sticking around despite of all the detours along the way.

So, here are some questions you may want to consider asking yourself before jumping in.

What is your why?

Sorry to pop your bubbles, but freelancing is not for the faint-hearted. I had my share of disappointments, rejections, and discouragements (even from friends and families) during my first year. And I'm sure almost all freelancers had experienced it too. But what will help you stick around is your inner desire why you have to stay and make it work.
I quit the corporate world because I'm that type who can't stand routine. I wanted to find my passion and pursue it. I wanted to do creative work. At the same time, I wanted to travel as often as opportunity knocks on my door. I know I cannot do it if I'm employed with a fixed schedule and a limited number of vacation leave. I also wanted to recover from my OC kind of "disorder" or should I say, hardworking perfectionism (if there is such a term). I just couldn't stop working until the job is done and with the best results possible. Nevertheless, the truth is, when you are employed the work doesn't stop when you send that EOD report. It just keeps on piling and it's very exhausting.

Unlike freelancing, you have the ability to control or be notified just how much work you need to do, stop there and get paid. Not to mention, you determine which work you are willing to do, when to do it, and for how much. Thus, it gives you an advantage to take further steps in pursuing your passion, the work you would love to do.
So, make sure you have a reason big enough to make your freelancing career a success and not just because you like the idea of it.

Are you independent enough to work alone?
Some clients provide training to new freelancers, but most of the time they won't. This is because clients have an expectation that you are an expert or have an experience doing the job. Some clients do some minimum supervision, but again, most of the time you do it alone.
Besides this, are you comfortable enough working alone? I mean physically alone? If you're a highly socialized individual or if you thrive working on a team, then this setup may not be right for you. Unless you find a way to counter this dilemma.

Do you have enough savings?
It's very important to honestly answer this question. You need to have a plan B, C and D when the money isn't coming in regularly. You need to know how your bills will be paid. You need to make sure you have enough food to keep your mind working and buy yourself a good cup of coffee.
The truth is, if you are just starting, not all clients are inclined to risk having a taste of your work. You will still need to build your portfolio and reputation, and so it's an illusion to think that money will come in pouring to the brim instantly.

Do you have a profitable expertise or skill?
While it may look like anyone can do freelance work, in the real world of freelancing there's a very tough competition. Not only your price should be right, but you have to be really good at something. An expert. A master.

Clients want experts not just workers. If you want to survive as a freelancer you need to know what kind of work you would love to do, and then be VERY GOOD doing it.

That's it! It's a short list, yet I assure you there are other things to consider too! Nonetheless I'm confident these four considerations are best to start with. 😉

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