Why freelancing is not for everyone?
I would be a terrible liar if I told you that anyone can be a freelancer. Even though I do believe that everyone has a potential to become one. Confusing? That is right cause opinions about freelance are so different and even the way we mentally and even physically react to freelancing is at times perplexing.
But what is freelance and is becoming a freelancer worth it?
Here is a brief definition of freelance that I personally think to be enough to pinpoint the main idea standing behind this widely used these days, word.
Freelance is an independent provision of services online or somehow else.
Now, if you have a valuable skill to offer to businesses or individuals you can potentially become a freelancer. But should you? I guess we all are grown-ups here and so we can find our own answers to this question but as someone who cannot see her life separately from freelancing anymore I have some things to share with you on this topic.
1. Having a skill is not enough
It is like owning a bakery and be the only employee there – this is how freelancing really feels most of the time. You have no managers to help you to negotiate with your potential clients, no one to help you find those clients or solve different kinds of misunderstandings that may and more likely will occur from time to time in your work.
First few years, I did not feel safe or protected (legally or otherwise) working as a freelance translator but here is what I tell you, this is not a bad thing actually.
First years are the hardest. You are learning a lot. You get disappointed and demotivated a lot. Most of the time you are confused about what to do and what not to do. And despite how hard it can be, those few years are actually the ones you grow the most. You learn more new skills such as: how to communicate and negotiate with clients, how to approach your potential clients, how to more effectively manage the actual work you are doing as a freelancer and so on. It is the time when you are learning what freelance is really about and what is your place and perspective in it.
And if for some these first few years can be the reason why freelancing is not worth it, there are other for whom this might be a good chance to level-up in their professional life.
2. Stability is not the priority
What is stable for one can be unstable for other. But let’s be real, the main difference between regular (traditional) job and freelance is that the first one can provide you with a humble stability in form of monthly salary and medical insurance for example, whereas freelance cannot.
One month you can be a dollar magnate and the next one a beggar. Is it a bad thing or a good one, you tell. But there is a trick, a simple one, that most of full-time freelancers as myself use to secure their living and do not get into a situation when they have no money to even buy food. And it is financial management.
If it is something you might be interested in, let me know in the comment section below and I will write in more details about it and maybe even dedicate an episode on my podcast ‘Translation with Franka’ to this topic.
But in short, it is a system using which allows you to wisely plan, organize, direct, and control your finances inside of your freelance business as well as outside of it. Because, well, in freelance there is no division between these two.
What freelancer does inside of their freelance business means as much as what they do outside of it.
Undoubtedly, financial instability is scary part of freelance world but even this can be solved.
3. Self-discipline is absolutely required
How many hours a day you work, 8 or 18; how much you earn a month; can you work on one project at a time or on a few – in freelance, it all depends on you.
When your desk is just a few feet away from your bed and TV, it can be really hard to stay focused and productive doing your freelance work. And as a freelancer you always have so many things to take care of, such like: delivering your work on time, not missing an important email in a flood of spam, constantly developing your professional skills (yes, I will never get tired of repeating this), finding new clients, and just trying to put your freelance business on the map.
So here comes this, absolutely required thing, called self-discipline that will help you to do what is needed to be done when you do not feel like doing it at all.
But I do not have a magic wand to help you with this. All I know about self-discipline is that:
It is willingness to repeatedly gain small victories over your laziness, fears, tiredness, chronic sleep deprivation, and general demotivation.
These are the main reasons why freelancing might be not the best choice for you. But please, keep in mind that if you are ready to constantly work on developing your skills and your mindset towards your freelance work and your place in it, then I am sure you can at least try yourself in freelancing. Who knows, maybe that is what you have been looking for.