For most of us, full-time, full-time freelancing seems like a dream come true. We become our own boss, working at all hours and being responsible for our own success. It all sounds great – and it is – but working 100% freelance isn’t for everyone. While some freelancers succeed, others find that they’re not as good at working for themselves as they are at a 9-to-5 company.
Many people feel great about working full-time in a traditional office environment. Maybe because they like to work in a team like to exchange ideas with each other and can joke with a colleague sitting in the cubicle next to them. There are some people who are not suited to the life of a freelancer. Before you make a decisive move, consider the following aspects of freelance life to see if it’s right for you.
1. You will be working alone (a lot)
Freelancing is a profession for singles. Where once you worked right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the office, now you work from your home, isolated from society.
The kids will be at school, your significant other will be at work, and you will be at home working on your laptop, mac, or PC. There will be days when you will have meetings to provide your services or meet with partners, but sometimes you may go an entire day without uttering a word! Soon the isolation will start to affect your mood and work.
If you’re used to having people working around you, consider renting an office with someone, or working in a co-working space.
2. You are responsible for yourself
Working full-time means that you are more responsible for yourself and your work than ever before. There is no one around to see how much work you do or whether you achieve your goals.
To be a successful freelancer, you have to be responsible for yourself. Otherwise, you may spend half a day on Twitter or other social media.
Your work will suffer and your clients will see negligence in the work you do. There are many tools, applications, and techniques to help you focus on your work, but in the end, it all comes down to self-discipline.
By the way.
3. You will need self-discipline
When you first start freelancing, it’s so tempting to forget everything and work late at night. But what those late-night jobs really do is make you so tired that it’s hard to get up in the morning. Then you think that since you are working for yourself, you can set your own working hours so that it is okay to sleep.
That’s where the main mistake is.
If you sleep and wake up late, your whole day is rearranged. Instead of working in the morning, you work through the night. Not only is this unhealthy, but it turns all your waking hours into working hours.
Stick to your office hours, use time tracking and invoicing software to monitor your activity during the day. After all, your clients work during standard business hours (for the most part) and they will try to contact you during those hours. Be available.
4. You have to deal with customers!
If you haven’t interacted directly with your company’s customers in your office years, your very first checkpoint will be with them.
You have to be polite and honest when communicating with clients. There is no room for irritation or sarcasm – even when they are terrible to work with. Think of it this way: your customer is now your boss, and you must treat them accordingly.
Many clients prefer to work with freelancers who are easy to work with and always try to achieve 100% results. To impress your client, and you’ll do well for the most part.
5. You must learn how to negotiate
In a permanent job, you get a fixed monthly salary with a raise every year, health insurance, paid vacation, and other benefits. In freelancing, your earnings are directly dependent on your rates, and there are no benefits in Full-Time Freelancing.
To succeed, you must be able to negotiate reasonable rates. There is nothing wrong with starting out with low rates – as long as you keep raising them, gain a reputation for yourself and always improve your skills to deserve higher pay.
Failure to negotiate a price means you’ll be stuck on low pay – and no one else will help you raise your rates.
Here’s a quick tip for raising your rates: always price new clients slightly higher than you’re working with current clients, and keep growing.
6. Can’t let emotions get the best of you
Freelancing doesn’t give you a buffer against angry clients, unreasonable demands, and rejections. Instead of hearing claims from your boss or colleague, you’ll hear them directly from the client.
Whether it’s a rejection (they’re the hardest to accept), an unreasonable demand, or just a disgruntled customer, you’ll have to act tactfully.
Keep your emotions under control and instead of going on the offensive, control yourself. Customers are your income; you cannot afford to brush them off.
7. You need to know what’s trending
You need to be aware of trends in your industry to stay ahead of the competition. That doesn’t mean spending time trying everything, but find out what trends are affecting your industry and how you can use them to your advantage.
A few years ago, when blogging was very popular, freelancers who quickly created their own blogs managed not only to attract more clients but also to establish themselves as leaders in their niche.
As a full-time freelancer, you need to keep up with new trends and be able to quickly figure out which trends will benefit your business the most.
8. You need your family and friends
Before you move into a new world for yourself, make sure your family supports your decision. When you start freelancing, things will get pretty stressful. You will spend most of your time looking for clients and you will constantly worry about making ends meet.
If you don’t have the support of your family (and it’s not just financial support), stress levels will skyrocket.
There will be days when you feel like nothing is working out. This is when family support makes the biggest difference. Having someone – your partner, your spouse, your parents, or even one of your children – tell you that things will work out, or they believe in you, can greatly increase your confidence.
Friends are also a great source of support during the first few months. They can help spread the word about your services and direct you to people in their social and professional circles.
9. You must have extra savings
Before you leave your full-time job, start moonlighting in your spare time. This will help you gauge your chances of success, and when you switch to full-time freelancing, you’ll already have a few clients.
But there’s a catch here. After a while, you may feel confident that their payments can keep you afloat, but don’t expect to have the same clients providing you with work when you go full-time freelancing.
Think of it as setting up a business from scratch. Eventually, you will need to go out and find customers, which is time-consuming.
Until you make enough to make ends meet or make a profit, you have to run your hand into savings. Try to have enough savings for six months before you quit your job.
Secrets of success
The secret to success in freelancing is to treat it like a business. You are the CEO of your freelance company. You are responsible for everything that comes with it.
Stick to the work ethic you have in your office days and you’ll be fine. The only difference is that you can take a break when you want and work extra when you need to. You spend more time with your family as you spend less time getting stuck in traffic on the way back from work.
Set your own hours: if you can get your work done in 4 hours instead of 8, no one is forcing you to stay in the office. Isn’t that cool?