10 Things to Consider Before Starting a Freelancing Career

There are a lot of great reasons why one would want to venture into freelancing, all of which have been talked to death, but there are also those that should make one take a second guess. It is the latter what we’ll be discussing in this article, and once we are done, hopefully you’ll know if freelancing is really something that is meant for you or not.

1. Are You a Self Starter?


*Image Credit: D.Clow – Maryland

Merely thinking about becoming a freelancer implies that getting things going for yourself, and manifesting that go getter attitude, is not an issue. In fact, it’s one of your strong traits. Without this, there isn’t a really good chance of surviving as a freelancer for more then a month at the most.

2. Can You Handle Rejection?


*Image Credit: Robert the Noid

The word that should be synonymous with freelancing is rejection, because around 70% of the time that’s what you’ll be hearing. As a freelancer first starting out, unless you’ve been building your reputation before jumping in, there is going to be a lot of time spent on job boards and other job listing sites looking for work.

The replies heard back from those leads will more than likely be rejection, its just the way the biz is. There can be a number of reasons, but whatever it may be, it’s still rejection. It doesn’t go away, just changes as you get more experienced. So being able to deal with this, and use it as a type of motivation of sorts, is vital!

3. Do You Fear Failure?


*Image Credit: Wolfram Burner

Much like rejection, the possibility of failure will be something that you have to expect. There is no way of avoiding this, and being able to handle this properly is essential. Something you are working on may have bug issues you’ve never experienced before, the client may request something that is close to unfamiliar territory and you can’t figure it out as expected, miscommunication can lead to a misunderstanding, or whatever other reason for a failed project.

The fact still remains that it’s a failure, nothing can change that. The ability to accept, move on, and grow from these situations, is the foundation for freelancing.

4. Time Management Skills


*Image Credit: listentothemountains

Doing anything well is all about properly managing your time. There are many stories any freelancer can tell you about staying up working night and day for long periods of time. So much so that it is a stereotype of freelance life. However, this is nowhere near the right way to mange your time as a freelancer. Being able to properly mange time, and when and how much to allocate to tasks, is an essential quality.

5. Comfortable Talking with People


*Image Credit: BP America

It is talent that first gains anyone attention, but it is the way you communicate to others (in person, phone, or online) that will take you to the next level. There are many freelancers out there that don’t know how to properly communicate, and because of that, pay the price by missing out on opportunities.

In life it is never really so much what is said, more so HOW someone chooses to say what is being said.

6. Your Financial Situation


*Image Credit: Tax Credits

The money associated with freelancing is quite different than what those on the other end of employment get. In corporate, or agency positions there is a steady amount of expected income and bonuses. In freelancing, the income received completely varies by the amount of billable work done.

Having a good grasp of your fiscal history, and how much debt you may or may not be in, is something that needs to be assessed before leaving that 9 to 5. Of course many freelancers offset the irregularity of client work by developing themes, designing premium resources, blogging, writing books, and other things of this nature. However, this still may not be enough depending on the situation.

7. Your Network


*Image Credit: eekim

If you put a shark in a pond with only one or two other fish in it, the shark will die rather fast. However if that same shark is put into an ocean with a countless number of other fish in it, the shark will live a LOT longer. This may be a somewhat cruel analogy, but it gets the point across. To be a successful freelancer, the network you’re in must be big enough to accommodate the desired amount of growth you’d like to see as a freelancer.

8. The Possibility of Outsourcing


*Image Credit: bbcworldservice

Do you have all the skills to handle the jobs that come your way? Do you have the time to handle the excess amount of leads coming into your inbox? For many freelancers outsourcing their work is out of the question, however it is always better to hire someone else if there are circumstances preventing from personally completing the work.

9. A Marketing Strategy


*Image Credit: Infusionsoft

Getting the word out about your new freelance business can take many different routes. There are tools like the internet, traditional marketing tools (business cards, flyers, posters, etc.), word of mouth, and many more. It is important to create a plan of action to see how using these routes for your business can be maximized to bring in a steady stream of client work.

10. Do You Have Everything You Need?


*Image Credit: mistersnappy

There are a lot of things needed to be a modern day freelancer, mostly in terms of technology. There are computers, software, office/work space, office/work space furniture, and the list can keep on going IF there is not a detailed outlook of what your needs are. The problem that a lot of freelancers face here is that they don’t plan ahead well enough, or they just assume with their computer setup and the ingenuity they posses will be enough.

Wouldn’t that make life a whole lot easier? Too bad things aren’t that simple. There is a lot of purchases that need to be made, and a budget in place for them as well or you’ll be too deep in the whole to actually start out as a freelancer.

Conclusion

Being a freelancer takes a lot of thought and planning before actually diving in, even more so if you have a family that is dependent on your income for survival. If the only thoughts about freelancing life you have are it being easier than working somewhere else, or the better money, or the relief of not having a supervisor breathing down your neck, then a rethink is needed. This is a drastic change in lifestyle, both professionally and personally.

The responsibility for one’s career is on that very person, and how far it actually will go depends on how knowledgeable and prepared one is.

Any other things aspiring freelancers should think of before beginning? Do share your thoughts.

Jamal

I code, write, and stuff at Five Alarm Interactive. Tweet me: @5alarmint.

15 Smart Tools To Help You Build Your Freelance Business

Discover the awesome tools we use in making our clients comfortable and happy in learning new things every day.

Download Now

Comments

  1. John says

    I have been working as a freelancer for few months and I have to admit that this article is very useful. I have created some web elements and 2 WP themes, but I don’t have a portfolio where to showcase my work. I am even willing to offer them for free but don’t know what is the best solution, can you give me some suggestions?

    • says

      John, what’s exactly is the question? You can use another sites like forrrst, behance or deviantart to showcase your works if you don’t have your site. But you can easily get started by customizing any wordpress portfolio theme and putting it up on your own domain. Encouraged.

      • John says

        Thank you for reply Dainis,
        I could try to create a portfolio, but how many people will visit my website, too few I guess…so, my main question was about which is the best sharing portal that a beginner like me should choose, envato, deviantart or maybe you can recommend something else?

        • says

          If you’re very good beginner, then Dribbble is the best place to aim for! And I had success on Deviantart in past..got some really good feedback there, but now 100% not sure if those new sites like Forrrst aren’t taking over. Many good web designers hang out there. I would suggest to try Dribbble, Forrst and then Deviantart and see which one has the most helpful community.

          Dribbble is awesome, just it’s hard to get in there.

  2. says

    This was so well said!

    Whether you are a freelancer or some other type of entrepreneur; you have to be prepared to fail a few times in order to succeed. Thick skin, education, and perseverance is what will truly allow work from home success!

    Thanks Jamal!