Is freelancing right for me?

Freelancing isn't necessarily a good fit for everyone. Follow this guide to find out if a freelancing career is something that would be beneficial to you.
Is freelancing right for me?

Hero image by I'sha Gaines

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many of us transitioned to working from home. While things may have been wild at first, you may have discovered that you actually enjoy the freedom and convenience of your WFH setup. But with vaccines rolling out and your company moving back to an in-office footing, you may be looking at launching a freelancing career.

Freelance work can be an amazing career opportunity, but it isn’t for everyone. Read on to discover what this career path takes and if it’s the right choice for you.

Do you want more independence?

One of the first things you need to ask yourself when you’re considering launching a freelance business is whether you want more independence in your work life. Freelancers work on their own schedules and choose the projects they like. They answer to no boss except their clients, and they can work anywhere at any time, as long as they have an internet connection.

While this may sound like a dream, it means you have to do all the work a manager or supervisor traditionally would, in addition to your normal work. You have to handle your schedule to make sure you get projects done on time. You may also have to make arrangements to work with other freelancers if a portion of a project falls outside your scope of expertise.

Are you a self-driven person?

If you decide you want more independence in your career, the next thing you need to evaluate is how self-motivated you are. When you work for a traditional company, you’re not in charge of advancing the business. You may need to work hard to advance your personal career, but the success or failure of the company doesn’t rest on your shoulders.

In your freelance career, you’ll have to drive every part of your success. You’ll need to market, interface with clients, complete work on time, and handle billing and tax information all at the same time. You have to have a strong work ethic and the ability to self-motivate if you want to create a successful freelance career.

Are you self-disciplined?

Self-discipline is another essential trait for freelancers to have. While setting your own schedule can be amazing, it can also present plenty of opportunities for temptation. There’s no boss who will discipline you if you stay in bed until noon or decide to take every third day off work.

To succeed as a freelancer, you have to be willing and make yourself stick to your work commitments. This may mean getting up at a certain time every day, committing to spending a certain number of hours working, and setting boundaries with your loved ones.

That said, you'll also gain more freedom to build your own schedule. By planning ahead and improving time management, you can do more of what you want as a freelancer than you could at your former job.

Do you like to learn?

No matter what job you’re in, a love of lifelong learning will serve you well. If you work a traditional job, pursuing opportunities to learn more about your field can be a benefit that can help you excel in your field. But in the freelance world, willingness to constantly learn and grow is an absolute must for success.

Your clients will be looking for the latest and greatest service in your industry, and they won’t care who they get it from. If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, you need to be up to date on the newest techniques, innovations, and software in your field. Plan to invest some time and money each year in continuing education for the programs and techniques you use in your daily work.

Can you deal with instability?

When many people look at the freelance world, they see freedom. There’s no denying that the field offers a good bit of that. More and more people are making their living on the road while traveling the world, unhampered by a 9 to 5 desk job. But the tradeoff for that freedom is that you’ll experience significantly more instability in your career.

As a freelancer, you won’t have a guaranteed monthly salary or standard benefits, including health insurance or retirement. You won’t have vacation days or sick leave, and if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Your paycheck can vary wildly from month to month, and you have to be prepared to deal with that instability.

How in-demand are your skills?

In addition to the personality questions, there are also some practical considerations you need to take into account when considering a freelance career. One of the most important questions you need to ask is how in-demand your skills are. No matter how talented you are, you won’t make a living if there’s no market for your expertise.

Things like web design, blog writing, social media consulting, and graphic design are nearly always in high demand. Demand for things like driving and delivery services, dog walking, and ecommerce may fluctuate, as we’ve seen in the past year. If possible, develop skills that make your work appealing to some of the steadier freelance industries to make sure you can make it through lulls in your other work.

Launch your freelancing career

A freelance career can be an incredibly rewarding and lucrative option if you manage it correctly. However, you have to make sure you have the necessary skills and traits to succeed in this field. You need to be a self-driven, self-disciplined person who is prepared to handle instability and is willing to continue learning new skills to meet market demands.

If you’d like to get more tools to launch your freelancing career, check out the rest of our site at Hectic. You’re building the future, and we’re here to help with all the tools you need to get in control of your freelance business in one place. Get started today and start freelancing smarter, not harder.

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Our team of career freelancers writes about best invoice practices, what makes a great client, and repeats the mantra, "never work without a contract." We're opinionated about the future of work and will always be on the side of freelancers.
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