Recently, I wondered whether I am “cut out” for this freelancer lifestyle. If I had “what it takes” to be a freelancer. And so, here are my thoughts; this is what I think it takes to succeed as a freelancer…
*Obviously, as no expert myself!*
In order to be a freelancer, you need to be self-motivated. There’s no one telling you what to do. There’s no boss. Therefore, to get any real work done, you need to be self-motivated. You need to be a self-starter. Without the independence and motivation to get yourself going, you will continue to fail to meet deadlines or even get any business for yourself at all.
When you work for yourself, you often work from home or coffee shops or libraries. This means you are responsible for what you do. There’s no one stopping you from going on Twitter, watching Netflix, or waking up at 2pm. There’s no one holding you accountable.
This is why you must be self-motivated and disciplined. You must make sure you’re actually working! You must make sure that you’re communicating with clients and meeting deadlines effectively. You are your boss, so you must set a strict structure for yourself if you hope to succeed.
And of course, with discipline comes Time Management. As I said, you can’t sleep in until 2pm. You need to be able to set your own schedule, deadlines, and routines. You need to know when you work best to then ensure that the big parts of your workday are done at the optimal times.
Don’t waste your day; don’t waste your time.
Freelancers are likely to work more hours than normal workers, too. Are you able to put in the needed time? Are you able to also recognise when it’s time to take a break, for your wellbeing? Well, you should.
Unlike in an office, as a freelancer, you must be the receptionist, the social media content writer, the content writer, the accountant, the this and the that for your business. You’ll need a website, social media accounts, emails, invoices and accounts, and constant content to put out to show your abilities.
And this will all be done by you (unless you’re lucky enough to have helpers or if you have the money to hire others).
So, you will need to be more than just someone who can work. You’re all the workers now, can you handle that?
Freelancers need to be able to find the right workspaces. You can’t work from your bed every day, for example; you need your bed to be for sleep not work! You need to be able to find space in your home that works as an appropriate office space. You also need to try out outside workspaces, like cafes, coffee shops, and libraries until you find places you like that work for you.
Finding the right place could be the difference between work done well or wasted days.
Home and Work-Life Balance
As I said, it can be difficult as a freelancer to know when work stops and home life begins. The two blend together if you’re not careful. In order for this lifestyle to work, you need to be able to separate the two. You need to be able to switch off, detach, and keep work in certain hours of the day, and family/home life in other periods.
A bad work-life balance can cause stress, strained relationships, and a poor reality for yourself in general.
It will be a very tough road, being a freelancer and self-employed, and so you need to be resilient. You need to be able to handle the ups and downs, ebbs and flows. If you’re someone who’s easily knocked down and stays down, this may not be for you.
I don’t necessarily mean networking events (although these can help immensely), but you do need to be friendly, approachable, and always willing and ready to meet new people. You never know who might be able to help land you a gig. So, are you the networking type? Do you know your business or skills well enough to sell yourself when in conversation with someone unexpectedly?
Also, you will need to be comfortable with messaging and emailing loads of people to find work, often with little return.
You can’t just do this for the money, because you might not have any for a while. This is why you need genuine drive and passion for what you’re doing, otherwise, you will quit when the going gets tough.
I’ve always been a writer. I’m always writing on my blog or for my novels. Writing is most definitely a genuine interest of mine that I do with passion. This means that sales or not, clients or not, I will continue to write. Always.
So, do I tick these boxes? Mostly, yes! And so, maybe, just maybe, I am cut out for this after all. Are you? Do you have what it takes to be a freelancer?