I’ve been freelancing for a couple of years, and I wanted to write a little bit about why I think freelancing is kickass. Here are 5 reasons why you should become a freelancer!
*Disclaimer. This article concentrates on many of the positive aspects of being a freelancer. However, freelancing is not for everyone and it takes a lot of hard work. But I will write about that another time.
1. Get rid of the gatekeepers
When you do things in a traditional way, there are a lot of gatekeepers in your life that you need to pass before you can do what you love! In school, teachers have to give you good marks so you can graduate, employers look at your resume and interview you before giving you a job, you need to ask your boss if you want a raise or a vacation, and so on.
We no longer live in a world where we have to go through the traditional GO TO SCHOL AND GET A JOB AND SAVE UP FOR RETIREMENT THEN DIE lifestyle. You can make your own path, eliminates gatekeepers and monetize what you love doing, straight from your living room. You can learn any skills on your own, without going to school (with the exception of doctors and lawyers, just because there are laws against that), start selling your product or delivering your skills directly from you to your client - eliminating the gatekeepers.
Some people tell me developing skills and products sounds like a lot of work. To that I say, going to school for four years, and sending your resume to a hundred different places is a lot of work too. You can start eliminating gatekeepers by thinking of different skills you already have to offer, contacting family and friends, and asking them if they are willing to pay you for it.
2. High value creation
People who have a 9-5 job often confuse income with value creation. The perception is, that getting a paycheck bi-weekly must mean that they are doing something of value. They feel entitled to more pay and job security because of hierarchy and because they've been working at that job for an x number of years. In reality, just because they go into work and nobody yells at them, doesn't mean they are a valuable employee. In the long term, technology can replace them, and if they don't see it in advance, are not innovative and take action, their job is going to be given to a computer or outsourced to another country.
Being a freelancer forces you to be aware of changes in your field, technologically and otherwise. This is a good thing because you are constantly learning new skills that apply and are in high demand from clients. It means you're able to provide your client with more value, in less time, and charge more for it.
3. Work Hard. Play hard.
Freelancing allows you more flexibility with your time.
As a freelancer, I find that I work a lot harder than other people, but finish tasks a lot faster. A good example of this is in photo-retouching. I actually want to keep the hours it takes to do something low for my clients, and have a quick turnaround time, at a high quality result. When there are a lot of clients, doing this can mean you are working super hard. But this just means that you could be making the same income that someone makes at a desk job in one week instead of four.
At times of the year that are less busy, you can do what you love! Take cooking classes, hang out with your cat, go to Morocco.
4. Be your own boss
Hey. so funny thing with freelancing... you don't have a boss. Poof. Gone. You have clients but your client is not your boss. Clients don't tell you when to do your job and how, and you don't need to ask them for a raise or vacation time. You simply tell them your rates are going up or that you're unavailable.
Speaking of clients, you can pick those too. Good freelancers get chased after like cray cray. If it's not working out with a client you can always fire them, you have control over who you work for.
YOUr OWN HOURS
People like to work in different ways, and there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to when people deliver their best work. Not everybody works best from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Freelancing means you can schedule yourself whenever it suits you. This requires a lot of self awareness, self motivation and self management, but if you're someone who wants to make their own schedule, try freelancing.
5. BE CREATIVE
Perhaps the biggest reason to freelance is to satisfy your creative impulse. If you are a designer working at a design firm, pitching new ideas can be hard. More often then not, there isn't a chance to try that idea out within the job scope and confined project requirements. As a freelancer, I constantly get to try new ideas. I stay creative, innovative, and love what I do.
Freelancers don't have to confine themselves to one field, but instead generate different sources of income. If you're not sure you want to be a painter, or make cat-shaped soup and sell it online, you can always try both. If you're already doing something as your main source of income, you can always pick up a side project. Who knows, this side project might turn into something big in the future.