You are reading part “1” in a 5 part series called the Freelancers Blueprint. You can also download a free copy of the entire guide by signing up for our newsletter! It is totally free, no strings attached. Now let’s get down to business!
Did you know that one-third of the American workforce has freelanced at some point in their career? Or that freelancing contributed nearly $1 trillion to the US economy in 2019?
The allure of being your own boss proves undeniable. No wonder so many people research how to become a freelancer!
You can set your own hours and work from anywhere. (Hello, nomads!) You get to choose the projects you take on, the clients you work with, and what your workflow looks like from day-to-day.
It’s no surprise that sixty-one percent of freelancers report getting into this work by choice. One-quarter highly value their ability to find extra paying work within 24 hours, if needed.
Those who freelance rank their happiness levels and productivity as higher than those in the traditional workforce. That said, you must weigh the pros and cons carefully before quitting your day job.
Does this lifestyle appeal to you? If so, keep reading for our ultimate guide to being a freelancer.
How do you get started in the freelancing world? It depends on your background, current financial state, level of dedication, and industry of choice.
You’ll also need to consider your personality type, how far you’re willing to venture outside of your comfort zone, and what your short- and long-term goals look like.
That said, we’ve distilled the overall process of becoming a freelancer into an easy-to-understand freelancing blueprint. What are the steps in the freelancer blueprint you ask? They include:
- Understanding the pros and cons
- Making the decision
- Developing the right attitude
- Choosing a new freelancer job
- Upskilling and expanding your knowledge
- Leaving your day job
- Finding work
- Promoting yourself
- Starting out
- Taking care of yourself
Let’s examine each of these steps in greater detail. That way, you’ll have a thorough understanding of each step in the process, why it matters, and how to go about implementing it.
Understanding the Pros and Cons
Many people wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to their perceptions of freelancing. They romanticize working from home, associating it with unparalleled freedom and unlimited potential for growth and revenue generation.
All of this sounds great, especially if you work for a company that makes Office Space or The Devil Wears Prada look like a vacation. But freelancing isn’t for everyone. No matter what people say about it, it still is work.
Despite the massive freelance revolution we’re currently experiencing, some individuals require a greater sense of stability and security than freelancing may provide.
As a freelancer, you must learn to stomach:
- Working alone
- Intermittent jobs
- Feeling isolated
- Hustling 24/7 for new clients
- No annual reviews (if you’re the type of person who requires validation)
- No paid time off or vacations
- No company-sponsored health benefits, 401(k), etc. (until you’re well-established)
- Juggling multiple clients
- Responsibility to many clients instead of one boss
Looking at this list, you might question why 61 percent of freelancers choose this lifestyle. Have they gone mad? Not at all.
What sets freelancers apart? The ability to proactively deal with stress and insecurity.
These individuals recognize that the stability of corporate life is ultimately just a facade. Companies merge, people get fired, and non-essential companies languish in regulated inaction.
For these individuals, the following pros outweigh the cons:
- Freedom (e.g., flexible work location, hours, and schedule)
- Casual work attire (hello, pajamas!)
- Unlimited earning potential
- Pursuit of passion projects
- No annual reviews (if validation isn’t your thing)
- No office politics
- No commute or commuting costs
- Calling the shots
- Firing problem clients (thanks to multiple revenue streams)
- Rarely feeling bored (e.g., tackling a variety of projects)
Solopreneurship represents a heady admixture of liberation and worries, especially in the beginning. But going in with an understanding of the pros and cons of freelancing will help you succeed.
Once you let go of your anxieties, you can focus on what matters. Like cultivating an adaptive attitude, sharpening your skillset, and honing your business acumen.
Deciding on a freelance career shouldn’t be done lightly. Of course, COVID-19 has taken that choice away for many. Two million Americans turned to freelance work in 2020 to compensate for evaporating jobs.
Now, many have no intention of looking back.
For others, the need to work remotely during the pandemic provided the final push needed to take the freelancing plunge.
No matter your situation, we can agree that difficult economic times call for innovative adaptations. Necessity doesn’t make the transition any less uncomfortable, though.
From grade school, most of us were conditioned for office or corporate work. We learned to follow instructions and work hard, earning praise and affirmation for teamwork and compliance.
Busy work and repetition trumped independent thought and innovation. Motivation came from external sources like consequences and rewards meted out by the “boss” (a.k.a. teacher). But freelancers break away from this status quo, trailblazing new directions.
Working Your Freelance Muscles
Many of us took these skills into the workplace, following the CEO’s orders, bowing to our colleagues’ consensus, and looking for validation through evaluations and bonuses. After all, wasn’t that expected of us?
We indulged in plenty of busy work with the surety of a paycheck despite productivity dips. Along the way, our self-motivation, self-management, and self-awareness “muscles” atrophied.
Why the muscle analogy? Because when you don’t use these skills, you lose them. Fortunately, a little exercise will get them in tip-top shape again.
What’s our point? Your first few months in freelancing won’t feel like a Hallmark movie.
That’s why it’s so easy to get stuck in the decision zone, procrastinating about genuine commitment to this life-changing decision. Don’t let this happen to you.
You have just read part “1” in a 5 part series. Feel free to proceed to the next post one Developing The Right Attitude For Freelancing or download your free copy in eBook format by signing up for our newsletter which is full of community-only content we save exclusively for our family of freelancers.