Going full-time freelance is probably the dream for many creatives out there…
The freedom, self-directed schedule, and ability to work anywhere in the world at anytime are all compelling reasons to become self-employed. However, I think many of us don’t realize that it’s also far more strenuous than we think. I had wondered for a while if and when I would be ready going full-time freelance, but I never had the confidence that I could actually make it. Only recently, Zanita and Gustav gave me that push I needed, which I’m chronicling on my personal blog. Since I know this topic is of high interest, I wanted to enlighten you on what I’ve learned in my first month.
Be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Going full-time freelance requires you to be comfortable with ambiguity. You never know when and if you’ll land that next client or when the income will roll in, but you have to be confident that it will. My biggest concern was always “how am I going to land this client”? My biggest surprise was that I could land even one – and your first one always gives you the confidence to go out and get more. The thing you need to realize is, if you’re doing great work, clients will come. It’s easy for people to recognize honest, sensible, and valuable work, so if you can showcase that, you have nothing to be concerned about.
Be prepared to work even harder!
If you feel like you’re busting ass for someone else, be prepared to bust your ass even more for yourself. Sure, you have all the flexibility in the world, but going full-time freelance is so much work. I’m in disbelief and I have no idea how people keep it together… I barely have any time for anything but work these days. From managing my finances and invoicing to creating content, I really over estimated my organizational skills.
You have to put yourself out there constantly.
I’m a true introvert. Work requires me to frequent NYC and events more than ever before, which really suck the life out of me. However, that face time is incredibly important. I understand now why so many bloggers feel the need to be in NYC. The face-to-face connection is the best way to acquire clients… You have to go out and introduce yourself so people take you seriously. This really pulls me out of my comfort zone, but it’s so necessary for success!
You manage EVERYTHING.
Be prepared to do all the things you love as well as everything you don’t love! My least favorite part of being self-employed is managing the financial aspect of it… It’s quite boring and time-consuming, but who else is going to do it? Constantly keeping track of the money flowing in and out is no fun, but it’s critical to sustaining a long-term business. I also hate negotiating and proposing rates – this is something I’m still working to figure out. However, it makes you much more well-rounded and will take you far in your career.
It’s obvious that I haven’t gotten everything figured out, but learning along the way is a huge part of the process. If you have any specific questions or want to hear more on this topic, drop me a note in the comments below. I realize how lucky I am to be able to do what I do – and I’m always thrilled to share my learnings along the way.