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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 18, 2019

        How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

        How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

        Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

        However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

        Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

        Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

        There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

        Better Job Offers

        Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

        People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

        Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

        You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

        Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

        A Shot at Entrepreneurship

        Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

        We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

        13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

        1. Update Your Resume

        You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

        Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

        While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

        There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

        2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

        Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

        That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

        To hone this skill:

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        Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

        Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

        This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

        How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

        3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

        Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

        Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

        To hone this skill:

        Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

        4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

        No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

        Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

        To hone this skill:

        Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

        Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

        These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

        The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

        5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

        Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

        How to hone this skill:

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        Practice being resourceful.

        Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

        Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

        No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

        If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

        6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

        6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

        Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

        The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

        Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

        How to hone this skill:

        Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

        Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

        17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

        7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

        Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

        What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

        How to hone this skill:

        Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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        Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

        5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

        8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

        Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

        Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

        How to hone this skill:

        Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

        Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

        What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

        9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

        How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

        Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

        How to hone this skill:

        Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

        Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

        The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

        10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

        Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

        How to hone this skill:

        Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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        Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

        What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

        11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

        Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

        You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

        How to hone this skill:

        All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

        How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

        12. Build Networks and Relationships

        You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

        Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

        How to hone this skill:

        Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

        To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

        How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

        Final Thoughts

        Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

        You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

        Happy career switching!

        More Resources About Career Advancement

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

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