Nowadays more and more people are considering freelancing. With its flexible nature, freelancing can be very appealing. However it is not for everyone. You need to have the right attitude and develop certain entrepreneurial traits in order to truly make it as a freelancer.
Before embarking on your freelancing journey, I recommend asking yourself these questions. It helps writing them down and then gradually answering them. If you see yourself answering yes to most of these questions then maybe you should give freelancing a try.
1-Are you an extrovert?
Since freelancers are in charge of their own income, they need to be on the constant search of new clients. That means : Going to networking events. Meeting and connecting with peers. Sending countless follow up and cold pitch emails. If you are an introvert, this may be tough for you to manage therefore you must be able to overcome this challenge. There are many workshops that will help you network as an introvert.
2) Are you willing to diversify your income?
Being a freelancer means that your income will greatly fluctuate. It takes time and experience to build a relationship with clients. And even then, you may find yourself in a situation where one of your clients need to downsize therefore cannot continue with your services. In this case, you may have to start doing other side hustles to support your freelance work. For instance, you could take on low commitment short-term gigs that will help you stay afloat.
3- Do you need help getting motivated?
Do you always need someone to help you stay motivated? Are you proactive about the work you do? Do you passively wait for clients to come to you or are you always on the lookout for them?
These questions are crucial. One of the greatest characteristics of a freelancer is the ability to stay motivated. That motivation comes from believing in what they do and that they can achieve it if they put in the hard work.
4-Do you believe in what you do?
In life, you have to believe in yourself. As a freelancer, it’s especially important to believe in the service you are offering. You should consider yourself as “the best thing since sliced bread”. Since you’ll be constantly seeking new clients and pitching yourself, it’s important to value yourself and what you do. I mean if you don’t believe in yourself who will?
5-Do you have a support system and a professional network?
Having a strong support system is key in staying motivated. My parents are great supporters of my freelance work. Whenever I feel unmotivated, they are the ones who push me to keep going. Your support system can be anyone from friends to peers to old managers. By the same token , a professional network is as important. Even though they might not provide you with emotional support, they are a tremendous resource for growth. They can help you land clients, spread the word about your work and will introduce you to their extended network. It’s important to foster these relationships. For example, my freelancer friend was able to land a videography gig simply after following up with her old boss. He was able to refer her and she eventually ended up working with the client.
6-Are you able to prioritize?
When it comes to freelancing, you have to be able to prioritize especially when you are starting out. There will be days when you’ll be torn between work and pleasure. You have to be willing to say no to certain activities such as staying home and finding new clients instead of going out with your friends. As Gary Vaynerchuck said: “if you are in your 20’s please consider “punting” your first 3-4 years and go all in on your dream and don’t worry about stuff and trips and going out, because if you have the audacity to want to live your dream life, it takes sacrifice” It’s important to be able to see the bigger picture by focusing on the current hustle that will lead you to your dream life.
7-Do you have money saved up?
Before taking that leap and committing to freelance, you have to be realistic. The first few months of freelancing are hard, it takes time and experience to create a steady flow of income from freelancing. You have to build relationships with clients and that takes a certain amount of time. You need to have an amount of money that you can rely on.
Freelancing is hard. Don’t get fooled by how glamorous some try to make it seem. However if you truly believe in your work, have the right attitude and implement strategies, you will have a successful freelancing career.
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Christy Joseph, Writer, Shortstints