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Being A Full-Time Freelancer Is Not A Dream

Being A Full-Time Freelancer Is Not A Dream

I love being a full-time freelancer, but it would be a stretch to call it a total dream job. For example, a lot of luxuries you don’t even consider as an employee aren’t included in the full-time freelancer package. Worse, many of the things that you may think of as benefits of being a freelancer can actually be negatives. Here are 6 aspects of being a full-time freelancer that aren’t always positive or true.

1. You create your own schedule.

You’d think being a full-time freelancer means you have total control over the hours you work, but that’s not exactly true. Your clients are probably going to want to call you or at least correspond via email, right? Well, they’re likely doing a more typical workday, which means in order to talk with them and to not leave them waiting until the next day for an email, you have to be available to them on their schedule. And, even if you do get to pick your own hours, that might not be as appealing as you think. A 9-to-5 workday offers a sense of structure, and an employer monitoring your progress means you will definitely be at least semi-productive. There are no such guarantees as a full-time freelancer, which could get you into big trouble.

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2. You work independently.

Sure, you don’t have to deal with annoying co-workers, but every full-time freelancer should know that when you’re working on your own all day, every day, things get a little lonelier. Try to attend more career events to get the chance to network and look for opportunities to socialize more often with non-work friends. Be warned, though, that those friends are probably on a regular work schedule. That’s another reason you might want to work during the common work hours, too, even if you pick your own hours.

3. You get paid more for being productive.

Usually as a full-time freelancer you’re getting paid per assignment, not for working a certain amount of time. That means productivity pays off. The quicker you complete an assignment, the more you make per hour. Which sounds great! But you probably underestimate how many hours you’re not being productive at work. Make sure that the rate you charge clients is sustainable enough to compensate for the time you’re not working on assignments.

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4. You’re your own boss.

Being your own boss is a dream that never really comes true. Whatever their title, your boss should be the person who’s paying you. If you’re a full-time freelancer, that probably means you have a lot of bosses. You now serve a lot of different masters, and they all have different expectations of you that you have to keep straight. Even worse, it’s more important to keep all your clients pleased with you, because it’s a lot easier to let you go than to fire an employee. As a full-time freelancer you don’t just have one employer you have to keep moderately happy; you have a number of clients who you have to keep very happy. Keep that in mind when you’re considering the freelance life.

5. You negotiate your own pay.

This sounds exciting until you reach negotiations. A full-time freelancer can tell you that not everyone is qualified to negotiate a good or even fair rate out of clients. You can read about how to become a better negotiator, yes, but in a lot of ways it’s a natural skill that you either have or you don’t. After a while as a full-time freelancer you’ll likely start to envy your friends who don’t have to constantly negotiate how much they’re making for their hard work.

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6. You get to do a lot of different kinds of work.

You’d think that being a full-time freelancer would mean that your work is more diverse. And that can be true. If you’re a writer you might be writing about a lot of different subjects in a number of different fields. However, an experienced full-time freelancer can tell you that the most successful freelancers tend to stick to specific niches. It’s better to write about one subject expertly than to write about a dozen proficiently, even if it’s more fun to do the latter. This is another thing to remember if you’re considering becoming a full-time freelancer.

Featured photo credit: janet lackey via flickr.com

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Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More About Continuous Growth

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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