For originality purposes, I preferred to make my title as “Freelancing Facts” rather than “Freelancing Myths.” That’s so selfie, of course! Anyway, I can formally say that I’m a real freelancer now because I’ve been doing this business for a year. Now let me share you the three facts about this business.
1. You’ll love this business only if you’re not after the six-figure income.
Who doesn’t want to earn much? But if you want to happen this very soon, better not move your feet towards freelancing or even test the water. If you’re persistent about it, preparation is the key. You must read more about the business and ask other freelancers so you’ll don’t get shocked with the challenges that are waiting for you.
Freelancers experience in the early stage of the business the feast and famine cycle. Feast because you have a client, famine because the contract already ended. Your first contract may give you a one-figure pay-out (in U.S. Dollar) and the next contracts will give you up to four-figure income. Six-figure? Not for a newbie.
There is no assurance in this business because most of the time, it is the client who dictates if you’ll still have a project tomorrow. Of course, they just can’t leave you without paying but it’s written in the contract when the project will end.
When the project ends, here comes famine. Then, you’ll find another client and the cycle repeats over and over and over again. It is necessary as the “come-and-go cycle” is the nature of freelancing. You may have more than three clients at a time but once the contracts ended, you’ll go back to the first stage, “Finding a client.”
As friends come and go, so the clients do.
2. Freelancing is a business and you are the boss.
Honestly speaking, I thought that my clients were my boss. That’s why I just agree on their terms just to have work. However, along the way, I realized that it is me who must dictate my rate. At first, I’m reluctant to bid higher as I’m afraid that no one will hire me. But when I tried to increase my rate and a client agreed, the fear just fly away.
Since freelancing is business, it must grow and expand. That’s why it is necessary that you equip yourself with knowledge necessary for your chosen field. Learning is inevitable and you must embrace the value of innovation. You must also establish yourself as an expert for the clients to include you in their shortlist. Typical clients would ask, “Who’s the plumber in town?” while high-end clients would ask, “Who’s the BEST plumber in town.” The pay-outs will dictate the difference of the two.
Remind yourself that you are in the battlefield, you must know how to spy your competitors. I said, spy, not pirate their clients. Take note of their offers and services and evaluate yourself if your skill is competent. If not, learn the basic then inject innovation. In this way, you will not be accused of copying because you just updated the basic.
3. You have more time to spend for yourself and your loved ones.
Obviously, this is the number one reason why freelancing attracts many people. But this reason will definitely doom you once you’re in. Because most people think that freelancers have more time to do chit-chat, many of your friends will engage you to appointments that are not income-generating. They will ask you to come with them and catch up on things and spend it like there’s no tomorrow.
Who’s to blame? Of course, the ever-popular, freelancing myth. Though it’s hard to make yourself unavailable because of the fact that your time is flexible, although not all the time, you must tell them that you’re observing work hours. If you plan to work from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., you must inform your friends. If you have a deadline to meet and adjusting the schedule will affect the outcome, tell them that you really can’t go with them. In this way, they will be aware that freelancing is not about having fun but it is a real business.
It really depends on the kind of business you are running on how much time you’ll spend with your family and friends. If you work home-based, as in literally working like a caveman, you definitely have more time to spend with your family. But if you do outdoor freelancing such as photography and event planning, well, that’s a different story.
Now, are you ready to drop your 9 to 5 job like a hot potato? If no, make freelancing your part-time and test if this business is for you.