why-freelance

Are you thinking about jumping into freelancing? Whether you’re looking at becoming an engineering consultant, a writer, or a web designer, freelancing can be a rewarding and challenging career.

But it’s also harder than many people think. In fact, one recent CreditDonkey survey showed that 58% of freelancers aren’t making enough to support the type of life they want to live. It’s hard to make a really good living as a freelancer, regardless of your field, and it takes a lot of work.

So before you quit your day job, make sure freelancing is right for you. Here are seven signs that it is:

1. You have an emergency fund

This is, perhaps, the most often missed prerequisite to freelancing. If you don’t have money to fall back on, you’ll quickly find yourself in dire straits. And when you find yourself there, you’ll get stuck in a cycle of low-paying, junk jobs that can be hard to break out of. A business line of credit or small business credit card (check here) might help you manage cash flow in these dire straits.

2. You’re good at managing your money

Another CreditDonkey analysis showed that for 56% of freelancers, living with an uncertain income is the biggest complaint. Living on a variable income is difficult, especially if you’re used to a salaried paycheck.

Even if you end up with an hourly pay raise from freelancing, it can be a boom or bust business. Some months, the money will come flooding in, and others, work will be scarce. The ability to manage your finances – and to spend and save in a disciplined manner – is essential for freelancing success.

3. You can create boundaries for work and daily life

If you work in a regular day job and already have trouble with work invading your private life and vice versa, you may have trouble freelancing. Especially if you work at home, you’ll have to create hard boundaries between your work and personal life. Otherwise, you risk never getting anything done or never stopping work.

Another common complaint of freelancers is that friends and family think you don’t have a real job or aren’t busy, just because you can set your own hours. This can invite lots of interruptions, which you’ll need to ward off if you’re going to be a successful freelancer.

4. You can handle criticism

Many freelancers complain about criticism from friends and family, and this can be a problem. But, on the other hand, you’ll also have to deal with criticism from your clients.

When you work for a company, you have one or two superiors who will offer (hopefully constructive) criticism. As a freelancer, you could have ten or fifteen clients to answer to. And you’ll have to handle all negative comments professionally in order to keep those clients and get good recommendations.

5. You work well alone

Most freelancers spend the vast majority of their working time working alone. There are some exceptions, such as when two freelancers work on a joint project. But, generally, you need to be able to work well alone to freelance successfully. This means motivating yourself and being content without much physical human interaction during the work day.

If you do crave the company of others, though, co-working may be a good solution for you. This recent phenomenon is taking off across the nation. Co-working spaces will allow you to rent a desk or small office, where you can work alongside – although not usually with – other freelancers and entrepreneurs.

6. You’re not afraid to put yourself out there

The CreditDonkey survey on freelancers’ complaints showed that 9% hate the constant hustling to get new work and 10% hate the difficulty of finding new clients. That makes nearly 20% of freelancers whose worst complaints are about marketing.

But as a freelancer, you’re basically a small business owner, and you’ll have to market your business to get new clients. Marketing is hard, whether it’s because you don’t know where to start or because you just hate tooting your own horn. So if you’re not afraid of marketing, you may be ready to freelance.

7. You actually have skills to market

The final sign that you’re ready to freelance is that you actually have something to market. You absolutely can’t make it as a freelancer unless you can offer the marketplace something valuable.

The good news is that more and more skills are becoming marketable, as we are now in an era of consulting. If you have significant experience and expertise in an area, you can probably freelance as a consultant in that field, whether it’s marketing, engineering, or mathematics. If you’re just starting out, though, you may need to get some experience in your field before you can really make it as a freelancer.

If you’re still thinking about freelancing, good for you. A good freelancing career can let you turn your passion into a money maker, as long as you know how to run your business well. So if you see these seven signs in your own life, consider becoming a freelancer today.

image source: hongkiat