Freelancers enjoy many luxuries that traditional full-timers don’t get to experience. But if you’re stuck in the office right now, you may be talking yourself out of pursuing a freelance career because you’re just not sure whether the benefits are all they’re cracked up to be.
To help you decide whether freelancing is right for you, here’s a quick list of things freelancers never have to worry about that might help you make your decision:
1. Showing Up at 8 a.m.
Freelancers are masters of their own schedules.
If you’re a freelancer and you have a big project that requires extra time, you can wake up early or stay up late to get it done. What’s even better is that you can finish that project in your home office, on your couch, or at the kitchen table. You’re not restricted to an office building.
2. Retirement Structures
The traditional “work 40 years, retire, live off your 401(k), and then travel” model doesn’t sit well with everyone, and I’ve found that bucking the norm is a great reason to become a freelancer.
If you don’t want to wait to collect your retirement money and would rather take vacations now, then why not freelance? You won’t be tied to a set retirement structure that may not work with your goals.
You’ll have the final say about where your money goes — and when.
3. Workflow Management
Corporate workers are bound to the constantly growing stacks of paper on their desks, but freelancers aren’t. They determine which projects they want to take on and which they turn down.
Freelancers in the service industry get to pick and choose what works for them because there are only so many hours in a day. Unlike their corporate counterparts, they truly don’t have to take on every project.
Overcoming Common Objections
You may now be thinking, “Freelancing sounds great, but it’s too expensive.” Not true.
Starting a website, hanging a digital shingle and acquiring customers isn’t costly at all. And technology has made launching freelance operations easier and cheaper than ever before.
For example, setting up your business is as simple as going to the secretary of state’s website, filling out the required form online, and paying a small fee. You’re done: No expensive attorneys or antiquated forms are necessary.
When it comes to setting up a website: you don’t have to rely on expensive firms to build and code your website. Lots of companies will do it all for a low monthly cost — or even for free. Look around and find the option that works best for you.
You might also be thinking that marketing is difficult or expensive. Again, these things have never been easier. The explosion of social media over the past five years has streamlined the process of getting your name out there.
Create a strong online presence through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and your own website, and look into your advertising options on social networks and search engines.
Wait to join the freelancing sector until you’ve proven that you can pay the bills with your freelancing career. See how much you can make on the side, and project it across a 40-hour-per-week period.
If you can pay your bills and taxes and still put some money in savings, then it’s freelance time.
This may not be the exciting “jump in” advice that entrepreneurs want to hear, but you have to play it smart at the beginning to set yourself up for success down the road.
Additionally, consider how much time you spend thinking about your side project. If you’re more focused on your freelance work than your real job, then it’s time for freelancing.
Once you find something you’re passionate about, work turns into joy, so chase that passion.
About the Author: J. Melissa Cooper is a freelancer, net entrepreneur, and micro-enterpriser. She has dedicated her career to all facets of the job market and organizational effectiveness. She started her first company with $700 and a VoIP phone and within five years grew it to more than 400 virtual workers and sold it for several million dollars. A dual-certified HR professional holding both the SPHR and PHR designations, Melissa is a recognized human resources expert and has over nine years of experience in the field.