The Best Parts of Freelancing

Freelance is certainly a great alternative employment method for many. From recent college grads to highly-skilled workers, the trend to freelance employment is on the rise. From a personal anecdote, I can also advocate the merits of freelance employment. I won’t lie and say I haven’t been faced with the lows of freelance employment – lack of benefits, impossible clients and unsteady workloads are certainly not fun parts of freelance.

I won’t get too into personal points on this post but that is a primary reason for writing this. I’ve spoke to a number of people about freelance employment and most people either seem uncertain of it or skeptical. Of course, when I tell people I can work wherever I want (including beach-front) I get a slightly different reaction.

Without further delay, here are the top 5 reasons for considering freelance employment:

  1. Be your own boss.
  2. Control your hours.
  3. Move your office.
  4. Hone Your Skills.
  5. Abundance of Work.

be your own bossBenefit 1: Be your own boss:

Time and time again I hear from people that are having a difficult time at work because of “The Man.” Either very few people actually like their boss or many like to talk about how they don’t. What I assume it actually comes down to is people not enjoying restrictions and thinking their personal ability merits freedom in decision making. We are after all free people.

One of the best parts of freelancing though is being your own boss. You have full control of the work you do. You are personally accountable for everything that goes on while you work.

My personal feelings here are that I am always accountable for my work which is great, but I am not always my own boss. Juggling between 5 and 10 clients at any given point sometimes felt like I was reporting to anywhere between 5 and 10 “Bosses”!

Despite this alternative view, in many other senses you still are your own boss and you are certainly accountable for everything done. You don’t have anyone constraining you but you also don’t have the safety net so you have to ensure the quality of your freelance work. Think about it, your name and reputation is your brand!

Benefit 2: Control your hours:wall-clocks-534267_640

Do you enjoy getting stuck in rush hour traffic? Of course this is a no!

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

This question actually comes with varying answers. It may be more skewed towards the middle path but it could actually vary. With such a wide range of considerations for work hours, most professional, skilled jobs come with the 9-5 hours! The world is trending towards more relaxed work times but the focus is still on the morning to early afternoon.

But face it, you can’t force a night owl to be function before noon! It just doesn’t work that way.

Freelancing allows you to choose your hours though! Remember, you will still get out of freelance what you put in – meaning if you only work 5 hours a day you’ll only get 5 hours worth of pay – but you can easily break up 8 hours and fit them into your day as they fit best. Perhaps you’d only like to work 2 hours in the morning, 4 hours after lunch and then another 2 hours after dinner then you could certainly do that! Maybe you only want to work evenings.

Think of the prospects here for a mother that wants to work but have to get the kids on and off the bus!

Freelance can fit your schedule really well. Just make sure you coordinate your schedule appropriately and communicate your intentions effectively.

beachfrontlaptopBenefit 3: Move your office:

Have you ever witnessed the great annual migration of snowbirds (when writing this I was very amused to see that the first Wikipedia entry was exactly what I was looking for)? This is the annual mass migration of retired Americans and Canadians that travel from the northern states to the south for the winter seasons.

I used to always think, “Wow, I can’t wait until I retire and I can do that!”

Once I started freelancing though, I realized I didn’t even have to wait until retiring! I could just do it while working! I have a digital office and that is very easy to pack up and head to the beach!

I tell you that as I’ve handled a number of jobs while sitting beachfront in Jamaica and Bali. Despite going against my dream, I’ve even gone on winter retreats while doing freelance work as well.

Change of scenery is great for inspiration too. It always keeps you motivated so that you don’t let work get daunting and repetitive. How many people do you know that are just so unenthusiastic about their work that it is depressing to hear them talk about it? Never be like this! It hurts you and it hurts your work.

Another thing to think of here is the cost of living in the US, compared to say – Indonesia. At the time of writing it is about 14,000 Indonesian Rupiah to $1.00 US. You could certainly save a lot more by living there for a bit, while earning in your home currency!

Need some more inspiration? Here are a few blogs worth a read:

http://www.urbanforage.co/freelance-jobs

http://millo.co/built-freelance-career-traveling-world

http://designmodo.com/freelance-travel/

http://lingboli.com/how-to/how-to-freelance-and-travel-the-world-part-1/

Benefit 4: Hone your skills:

High angle view of an artist drawing something on graphic tablet at the office

Freelancing was always when I was most productive, not just in work provided but in learning as well. And, this statement comes from a person that’s held a number of professional positions in different companies and is educated to a Master’s level.

When my livelihood was completely dependent on personal capabilities, I made sure I was the best I could be. I found my niche and actively worked on learning and understanding it so that I could ensure competitiveness.

What’s more is that when you are freelancer, you’re doing this work day-in and day-out. You are going to get better at it and more efficient. If you are not, you are doing it wrong!

For those that are just looking for additional work to supplement their full-time job, this is the best way of getting work in your field. Most people get secondary jobs in completely unrelated areas, with the sole motivator being money – marketer by day, barista by night; artist, writer, waiter all mixed in one; <insert career> paired with retail store associate during holidays. It happens all the time and it doesn’t make sense! Freelance does!

This works for college graduates looking to get into a career utilizing their major. There is this fear associated with just taking any job out of college, rather than the one you’ve just spent 4 years of your life to obtain. And this fear is warranted! You begin to brand yourself after graduation by the work you perform.

Trust me, I understand the need to just start earning right away after graduation – I was there before too. But the alternative is building your freelance profile and honing your skill within the area of your major. Now the freelance market is competitive but nowhere near as competitive as the fixed, traditional market where companies are constantly downsizing and interview queues are getting longer. You’ll find many more opportunities here.

job abundanceBenefit 5: Abundance of Work:

I guess I’ve already touched on this one but it is true. The freelance market is growing exponentially. Companies are being forced to downsize their full-time human resources because of drastic increases in the work of hiring an employee. Salary, taxes, training, benefits and everything else put a lot of pressure on a company’s fiscal concerns.

People like to sit around and complain that companies are reducing their staff in such a horrible way but it is not entirely fair to just point a finger at them. They are in business to earn money which is being pressed from lower prices overseas to higher costs at home. They budget for full-time employees may be gone but the need for work is still there. These companies still have to continue and are now utilizing a lot more freelancers to get that work done!

The trend in freelance is using online platforms as well (think Freelancer.com, Outsource.com, UpWork.com, Elance.com, freelancernation.com, etc.), which connect people from all over the world. Your job market just opened up substantially!

You can get work from all over the country or even the world. These types of opportunities were previously unobtainable except for maybe the job markets of NYC, LA and Chicago (even those were confined at a certain point).

Conclusion

These opportunities are ripe and you need to take advantage of them now. Even here, experience is key. You’re likely to find a number of people willing to pay premiums for experienced freelancers with a record of satisfactory performance. Start now and build your profile and experiences. Essentially, build your brand!

If you need help branding yourself and kick starting your freelance career, contact us at SMEcomplete today. Our roots our deeply intertwined with that of freelance and we’re well connected with the latest trends in the industry.

See how we can help you!

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