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7 Realities You Need to Understand Before Working as a Freelancer

7 Realities You Need to Understand Before Working as a Freelancer

The freelancing industry enables talented and hard-working people to cash in their skills and abilities. Nothing similar to it has ever existed. However, people have many misconceptions about what it really is and how it functions. Some believe that it’s a source of quick and easy cash, while others think of it as if it were a promised land for artists. The only way to truly know what’s going on in the world of freelancing is to experience it first hand, but I believe I can get you a bit closer to the truth.

You Won’t Have One Boss, You’ll Have a Ton of Them

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02 Man

    The first and the most popular misconception is that, as a freelancer, you’re your own boss. Technically, this is true, but in reality you need to answer to each one of your clients, because you have a responsibility to deliver a certain amount of material in a previously set time frame. To be precise, you won’t have one boss, you’ll have a ton of them, and each one will require you to be available 24/7, answer absolutely every email, and make as many corrections as they find necessary. Building a professional relationship with that many different people may be tiring at first, but it will help you develop your people skills. The secret is in being persistent and putting your best effort into satisfying your client.

    You Are in Charge of Your Free Time, of Which There Will Be None

    When you’re a freelance newbie, this part can be particularly overwhelming. Sure, you won’t have to mind the clock (except when it comes to deadlines), and you’ll be able to arrange your tasks however you find suitable, but – and this is one big but – this usually leads to doing no or very little work until you really have to. Once you realize that you can pull an all-nighter only so many times, you will either give up being a freelancer, or your organizational skills will go through an amazing change.

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    You’ll Have a Decent Income, but You Need to Get There

    03 Notebook

      You have probably heard or read about those unbelievable successful freelancers that don’t know what to do with their money anymore. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a lie, because finally consolidating your student loans thanks to freelancing, and making some serious money is possible, but not when you’re a clueless beginner. You should allow for a period of adaptation before your master plan of becoming a millionaire can be set in motion.

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      You Only Need a Website, but It Needs to Be Great

      Another misconception about freelancing is that you only need a website and the offers will come flying in. The first part is true – you do need a website, but it needs to be properly maintained, created according to the latest trends, mobile-friendly and updated regularly. Unless you’re a developer, this is going to cost you. All sorts of new age professions, like making a living out of blogging, seem so simple to learn and easy to do, until you actually start doing them. The success rate of online jobs mostly depends on how much you invest in your portfolio, which obviously requires dedication to passion projects, lots of experience and a desire to grow. The fact that you can direct your career by yourself and develop exactly the way you want is liberating, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t have to work really hard.

      You’ll Do What You Like, but You Won’t Like All of It

      As a freelancer, you can be as selective as you want when it comes to jobs. This obviously means that you can remain strictly in your area of expertise, which is pretty great, but it also means that you will have to deal with a repetitive processes, and similar tasks that simply can’t be avoided. Loving what you do gives you an amazing feeling of fulfillment, but freelancing is based on completing various projects, and all of them have similar stages, so be prepared for a bit of grunt work.

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      You’ll Be a Freelancer, but Also an Accountant, a Lawyer, a Project Manager and a Creative Director

      05 Profit

        Becoming a freelancer differs from everything you did so far. Your job description will include using all your previous knowledge to create some kind of content, but it will also imply that you handle your own transactions, making sure your rights aren’t violated, managing your projects, and being in charge of brainstorming. If you pay attention to unemployment statistics, the fact that one person needs to take on multiple jobs at once during a time when so many can’t even find one may seem daunting, but no one said that freelancing was easy money. Anyway, you better be prepared to do some serious research and expand your knowledge of some areas that you aren’t the least interested in.

        You’ll Be Finally on Your Own, but You’ll Be All Alone

        Being a loner might be fun at first, but once you realize that you didn’t change for the last five days, and that you haven’t talked to a real live person, will come as a shock. When people turn to freelancing, they believe their social life will flourish. We already mentioned how managing your time can be overwhelming at first – have no doubt, it will reflect on the way you spend quality time with your family and friends. Also, that lack of gossiping and annoying colleagues might seem like a great thing at first, but after a while you’ll be surprised with that feeling of nostalgia, which will undoubtedly appear. However, once you get the hang of it and truly start understanding your new job description, I’m sure you’ll get right back on the social track!

        Freelancing comes with many amazing perks, but you’ll encounter more than a few things you didn’t expect. It’s just a matter of practice really – the fact is that you’re changing your lifestyle radically and, consequently, you’ll need time to adopt and accept everything that comes with it. If you don’t give up easily, try really hard to develop your skills and work on your tolerance, you’ll get the hang of it.

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        Last Updated on July 10, 2020

        Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

        Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

        Have you ever caught yourself in a daydream where you’ve gone for that upcoming promotion, and you’re now the boss at work? Or how about the one where you’ve summoned up all your courage to quit a job where you’re feeling stuck in your career and live your dream instead? Or when you’ve changed career paths to do what really makes you happy?

        Then, you snapped back to reality and realized that you’re not the boss, not living your dream, and not even happy in the career path that you’re on.

        Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals who’ve told me they feel stuck in their careers, that something had to change for them to break free and be happy, but they lacked the confidence to take that step. My mission is to make sure that nobody feels stuck in their career because of a momentary lapse in bravery that’s dragged on for too long.

        Read on to find out how you can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work. .

        Here are my top ten tips for becoming unstuck in your career.

        1. Make Time for You

        If you’re feeling stuck, frustrated, or unhappy with how your career is panning out, the first step is to work out why.

        Maybe you’ve arrived in your current career by accident and haven’t ever made time to deliberately think or plan what you’d love to do and how you’d get there.

        Prioritizing time to think is the first step you need to take to stop feeling stuck and start getting ahead. Book some time into your day where you can have an uninterrupted meeting with yourself. This is your thinking time.

        Work out what makes you happy at work, what doesn’t, and where you might want to go. Decide on the steps you want to take to progress your career in the direction that you want it to take.

        For example, are there training days, evening courses, or online learning that you can do? Have you considered getting a mentor to help you get ahead?

        By booking in a meeting with yourself, it signals it’s important (to you and your colleagues) and also stops others spotting a gap in your day and filling it with a meeting.

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        2. Grow Your Network Before You Need It

        Who you know is more important than what you know for career progression. Don’t wait until you’re feeling stuck in your career to start expanding your networks. Do it now.

        Adam Grant, the author of Give and Take, says you’re 58% more likely to get a new job through your weak ties than through your strong ones. Your strong ties are those in your immediate circle whom you interact with often. Your weak ties are your friends of friends. They move in different circles to you, they know different people, make different connections, and are more likely to introduce you to new and different opportunities[1].

        When I was thinking about setting up my current company, Lucidity, I turned up to every networking event. I drank a lot of coffees with a lot of different people to understand what they did, to ask for advice, to unpick what their problems were, and to look for opportunities for collaboration and connections.

        It paid off because, when I launched my business, I let my network know how I could help them, and soon I had my first clients.

        Pay attention to building and nurturing your networks and focus on how you can add value to other. That’s where your next career opportunity is most likely to come from.

        3. Surround Yourself With People Who Inspire You

        According to Tim Ferriss, “You are the average of the five people you most associate with,” and his associations with different people ebbs and flows depending on what he’s working on and trying to achieve[2].

        For example, if you are trying to be fitter, it’s easier if you hang around with people who love doing exercise–they help you to up your game.

        If you want that promotion, a career change, or to set up your own business, seek out people who are excelling at it already. They’ll have valuable things to teach you about breaking free and getting ahead.

        4. Work on Your Personal Brand

        Jeff Bezos defines a personal brand as “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” People will talk about you when you are not in the room anyway, so you might as well be deliberate about what you’d like people to say!

        Your personal brand isn’t about pretending to be something you’re not. That can actually keep you feeling stuck in your career. It’s really about being your best “real you.” It’s about owning your strengths and being purposeful about how you want to be perceived by others.

        What do you want to be known for? By being more deliberate about how you want to come across and what you’re looking for in your career, you’ll increase your chance of attracting the right opportunities.

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        Once you’ve given your personal brand some thought, make sure that you show up online. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? And if you don’t have one, get one. Make sure it communicates what you want to be known for and that it’s consistent with your other social media profiles.

        Try these 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding.

        5. Be Accountable

        Achieve your career goals faster, and grow and learn by making yourself accountable. Tell other people your goals and a timeline. and have them to hold you accountable.

        For example, you might want to get a promotion by the end of the year, have decided the sector you want to move to by the end of the month, or have got your new business idea before the next pay day. Whatever your ambitions are, you can tell a friend or a colleague, or share this with a mentor or a mastermind group.

        When we tell other people our goals and intentions, they hold us accountable, and we are more likely to make progress faster.

        6. Make Sure Your Values Are Aligned With Your Company’s

        All the professional development, goal setting, and networks in the world won’t make you happy if you’re working for a company that ultimately has opposing values to yours.

        Figure out what’s important to you in a job. For example, does your company’s product help people live a better life? Do you feel strongly about your company’s ethics and social responsibility? Does the company culture allows employees to be themselves and shine? Or maybe flexible working and more holidays for employees with families is where your heart is?

        Some companies put their employees well-being at the core of their business; others put profits first. If you feel that your values don’t match the core values of your employer, it could be a reason why you’re feeling stuck in your career and unhappy.

        It’s important to work through this and identify whether it’s the job that is not right for you, or if it’s a great job but the organization or sector is wrong for you.

        7. Get out of Your Comfort Zone

        Your comfort zone is your safe place. For any change to happen, you have to step out of your comfort zone.

        It’s actually much easier not to change anything and to keep grumbling on about how you’re stuck and unhappy in your career than to step outside of your comfort zone to address the fearful unknowns associated with change. It’s part of human nature that we’d put up with the devil we know rather than risk the devil we don’t.

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        This is true even if the devil we know is a boring, unfulfilling job because we’re wired to think that making a change to find a better option might actually leave us worse off.

        If you feel stuck, it might be that your confidence has got the better of you.

        To get ahead at work, start taking small steps outside of your comfort zone. Consider what you’re scared of that is stopping you from making a change. Then, tackle that in small steps.

        For example, if you know that to move into the job you want, you’ll have to do more public speaking, but public speaking terrifies you so much it’s stopping you from going for the job, then start small to build your confidence. You can speak up more in team meetings, then slowly build from there.

        You might also choose to set up or be part of a specific group. One of my clients, who found that confidence was holding her team back in achieving work goals, set up a “get out of your comfort zone club,” where they challenge and support each other to build their confidence by regularly leaving their comfort zones.

        8. Learn to Embrace Failure

        Failure is part of life. A New York University study found that children learning to walk averaged 2,368 steps and fell 17 times an hour[3]. Failure is simply the natural path to success.

        The truth is that we don’t get everything right the first time. We fail, we learn, we pick ourselves up, and we try again.

        In my experience, it’s common that whilst the theory of learning from failure is supported, the reality of being open about failures to enable personal learning is much harder to achieve.

        We don’t like to admit that we’ve failed. We have a fight or flight response to failure. It’s a normal gut reaction to ask ourselves: “Will I get away with it if I don’t tell anyone?” We are fearful of criticism, of losing face in front of others, or even being fired for failure.

        However, if you’re going to stop feeling stuck in your career, you must be open to learning from failure.

        Reframe failure by viewing everything as an experiment because you can’t have a failed experiment—you just learn whether something works or not. Think of Edison inventing the lightbulb, when he said:

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        “I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

        9. Build Your Resilience

        Resilience is the ability to tackle difficulties and setbacks, to bounce back, regroup, and to keep going.

        Getting unstuck in your career, taking a different path, and achieving the results you want will take resilience. Having resilience is also the capacity to choose how you respond to the unexpected things that life throws your way and adapt and thrive in times of complex change.

        Given that the world we live in is in constant flux, and the only thing that is certain is uncertainty, the ability to adapt and bounce back is an important life skill, as well as a career skill.

        In her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth’s research shows that when measuring success, the ability to persevere beats talent every time.

        Learn more about how to build resilience in this guide: What Is Resilience and How to Always Be Resilient (Step-By-Step Guide)

        10. Ask for Help

        It can be hard to ask for help, as it can make us feel vulnerable.

        No one person can be expected to have all the answers. That’s why we need a group of people that we can go to for help, people who can pick us up when we have setbacks and also help us to celebrate success.

        My advice is to be deliberate about creating your group. You can do that with a tool called a “Me Map”:

        1. Write down all the things that you might need support with, like help with career progression, interview practice, making new connections, talking through business plans, learning from failure, etc.
        2. Next to each thing, write the names of the people you go to when you need that particular thing.
        3. Make sure you get in touch and regularly connect with them.

        Final Thoughts

        You can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work by applying the tips in this article. Start small by incorporating three new things in your first week, and then adding more as your comfort zone and capacity expands.

        Remember, no matter how stuck you feel, it’s never too late to make a change and land the career that you truly want.

        More Tips to Stop Feeling Stuck in Your Career

        Featured photo credit: NEW DATA SERVICES via unsplash.com

        Reference

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