by Erica Lemp, Editor,eBizToday@BizLaunch
When we think of freelancing, typically we think of side business. “I’m an accountant, but I do freelance photography on the side.” Often times it is a way of channeling a passion or a strength into extra cash. But what is a freelancer really? According to Dictionary.com – A freelancer is a person who works as a writer, designer, performer, or the like, selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc., rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer. Some choose to freelance as a primary source of income. While there are certainly benefits to this, there are also a lot of risks.
Samar Owais’s article, 9 Things You Should Know About Freelancing Full-time on Hongkiat.com addresses both sides of this coin. She points out that you’ll need self-discipline. The freelancing world is often one where you often work alone, and that means you can set your own hours. Remember, as a freelancer, in order to be paid, you are working on time frames and in order to get more paying “gigs” you must impress the client. This means being available when they are available (hint: most of them aren’t working at midnight).
As with all self-employment options, there are a lot of things to consider. A recent article by Amy Gallo in Harvard Business Review cites 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Going Freelance. Here are several of these questions:
- Do you have a marketable skill? Remember, you are not the only one out there doing freelance work. In order to be paid, repeatedly, for the work you do, you need to have a skill that people will pay, repeatedly, for. Sustainability is key.
- Do you have a robust network? Can you get the word out about what you have to offer, and can people help you spread that word?
- Do you have the right temperament? This is key with ANY self-employment option. If you are dealing directly with clients, and acquiring new clients, you need to be extroverted enough to network. However, you’ll also need to be introverted enough to work primarily alone.
- Do you have a financial cushion? This one is big. Freelancing is a hard way to make a steady living. You need to be sure you have the financial stability to go a few months between payments.
There is a lot of appeal to the freelance lifestyle, but at the same time it is something you need to fully understand and be ready for before jumping in full time. Either way, it’s a great way to get your feet wet and very low-risk if you are intending to do it while otherwise employed. Who knows, it might be the stepping stone you are looking for to that next great career!