Working from home, being a freelancer and making a living by doing what you're passionate about. It sounds like a dream come true, right? Well, it can be, but as anyone who works freelance will tell you, it's not any easier than working a traditional job. In fact, it can be more complicated and filled with problems that you wouldn't expect.
This isn't to say that freelancing isn't worth it. Far from it. As a freelancer myself, I will tell you that I love my job and I have the amazing opportunity to do lots of different types of work and every day has a new challenge. Freelancing is basically working for yourself and doing a job for a company rather than being an employee. This means that you are free to take on several jobs for a variety of companies. Because you are self-employed, you trade off job security, benefits, sick days and the like and instead, you can set your own prices, decide which jobs to take and handle your own business.
With the economic recession and so many people struggling to find work, many out-of-work professionals have begun to look for freelance opportunities to help supplement their incomes and some even find that they prefer to work for themselves and stop looking for a full-time job. If you've been considering becoming a freelancer, there are a few things you should consider before making a decision:
Living your passion isn't always fun - If you are doing something you love or do as a hobby and want to turn it into a freelance career, be prepared for the shock of losing your hobby. It can be hard when suddenly, the thing you did in your free time for fun becomes the thing you have to do to pay the bills. For example, I love to write. Before becoming a freelance writer, I contributed to blogs, ran a few of my own and worked with several writing groups that read, edited and gave support to other aspiring authors. It was fun and it was something I did outside of work as my primary hobby. Now, I write everyday for several clients. It's still fun and I wouldn't want to do anything else, but there are days when the last thing I want to do is write. Between deadlines and the daily structure, writing has become something I have to do instead of something I simply did. That's not to say that it isn't worth it, it's just that work is always going to be work, this is no different. It isn't always the daydream that people imagine it to be.There will be times when you don't want to do it anymore, when you just get tired of it or wish you had a break - it's completely normal.
You'll have to work at keeping a work/life balance - Working from home doesn't make the challenge of finding balance go away. If anything, it makes it a little more difficult. Suddenly, you're at home all the time and friends, family members and other might have a hard time understanding that even though you are there, you're "at work." It's easy to get distracted and often the ones we love assume that we are available to hang out, run errands or whatever else they need. It's tempting to leave the work for later, but when later comes, it isn't any easier. To combat this, set up a schedule for your days and stick to it. Of course, leave a little room for flexibility, but remember that you have to make your work a priority. If you don't, who will?
Be ready for the nay-sayers - I've been working as a freelancer for almost two years. Although I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination, I pay my own rent, bills, etc. Still, to this day, I hear people (friends and family included) say things like, "Well, it's not like you have a real job." Trust me, work is work and freelancing is a "real job". As with anything else, it takes time to work your way up the ladder, but I do have a real job. To fight this, you have to be strong in your decision and tune out negativity. Do what feels right for you.
Your personal life will change - Suddenly, you're at home all the time. If you have a partner, they might become sick of you and long for a little bit of alone time. If you don't have one, you might find yourself feeling isolated and alone. When I first started working from home, I became so lonely that I would go to my bank, the grocery store and other places just to talk to the employees. I missed having co-workers and the social interaction of working in an office. To keep this in check, get your closest friends to support your decisions and plan activities on weekends and after work. Just because you didn't spend your day in an office doesn't mean you can't change out of your pajamas and go to happy hour with the other professionals.
Freelancing isn't for everyone, but if you want to be in control of your own career, it might be a risk worth taking.
What do you think? Have you considered freelancing? Why or why not?