5 questions to ask yourself before freelancing
MANILA, Philippines – Before you make the jump from being a full-time employee to a full-time freelancer, there are 5 questions you first need to ask yourself.
Being a freelancer seems like a dream job. After all, you get to stay home, bond with your loved ones, do what you love, and still earn money, right?
While everyone else sacrifices time away from home, you work at home with your pajamas on.
While everyone else gets stuck in traffic, you get to relax and watch your favorite teleserye at the end of the day.
While everyone else is constrained to get along with their boss for fear of losing their jobs, you have the option to fire your clients, should they prove to be incompatible with your professional goals.
It sure does sound amazing if you're involved in the freelancing profession, doesn't it?
Make it a point to ask yourself these 5 questions before you make that dive. You don't want to drown, do you?
1. Do you have the discipline to work at home? (You don't have a boss to manage you anymore.)
With all the distractions available in your house such as that comfy bed you want to sleep on, that cute niece you want to play with, and that captivating box of chocolates you want to munch on, you need to have the self-discipline to separate work from relaxation.
When you're just starting out, you can't afford to hire employees just yet, so if you don't work, you don't get paid. It's as simple as that!
ACTION: Don't manage your time – manage your energy instead. Find out what your most productive hours are and then try to do as much as work as possible within that time frame. Also, always watch motivational videos to get your energy high. Motivation is like food – it's supposed to be taken everyday.
2. Are you determined to work hard? (You can't get paid if there's no output made.)
Freelancing isn't just a hobby or a 'raket' that you do in your spare time!
It's your bread and butter.
It's your source of income.
It's the reason why you can pay your utility bills, why you can contribute to society and give back to the community and why you can afford to take an Instagram picture of your Hot Tall Hazelnut Chai Tea Latte.
At the start of your freelancing venture, if you're not willing to invest money in learning so that you can start earning, freelancing may not be for you.
If you're not willing to invest time to learn more skills and connect with more people, freelancing may not be for you.
And if you're not willing to work at least 5 hours a day to hone your craft, to network with authority figures, to work on projects, to make a billing system, and to communicate with different people of different personalities, freelancing may not be for you.
ACTION: From the start, your freelance work should be connected with your passion. Passion requires commitment. It's like being with a long-term partner - it's not just a fling! Passion keeps you dedicated. Passion keeps you alive. Most of all, passion keeps you going even if you encounter several setbacks. Find your passion and focus on monetizing it.
3. Can you handle difficult people as your clients? (Not everyone can be as accommodating and as friendly as you'd like them to be.)
Sometimes, you may have clients who will demand too much of your time and attention. There are others who expect you to do extra work without the extra compensation. Other times, there may be clients who will make unprofessional remarks and this will make you feel bad about yourself.
ACTION: Get rid of the desperation of looking for suspicious clients and stop accepting low-paying jobs by having an effective networking system. Connect with authority figures whose opinions you value. Also, once you're working on a project, always give your best! You want to get referrals. Lots and lots of referrals.
4. Are you okay with the thought of doubtful income? (Earn P100,000 last month and only P10,000 this month? It's fairly possible.)
In freelancing, you may experience feast and famine, if you're not systematic enough. One day you may be jumping in joy because of all the projects given to you, while at the same week, you may be doing movie marathons and just eating instant ramen the whole day because you don't have any project to work on.
Also, there's a possibility that there'll be delays in payments. The work you've done today may only be paid next month, so it's better that you know this ahead of time.
Freelancers get lean months because of:
- Racket mindset - Have an emergency fund before anything else.
Also, freelancing is a business so register it as such. Have the entrepreneurial mindset and work on adapting a billing system for your clients.
- Working without any upfront payment - When working with a client for the first time, always ask for at least 50% upfront payment before getting started with any project.
- Being a spending magnet - Pay yourself first. After your emergency fund, get life insurance, especially if you have dependents or if you have loans. You don't want to be a burden to your loved ones, right?
5. How do you feel about the idea of delegating? (You need to duplicate yourself in the future.)
In between working on projects, networking, being active on social media platforms, learning new skills, applying for contracts, and improving your services, you still have to do the administrative tasks like filing your taxes, bookkeeping, and sending invoices.
Not to mention that you also have your home duties - you have to prepare your son's "baon," you have to help your cousin with her homework, you have to accompany your grandma to her checkup, and you have to pick up your brother from school.
You can't do everything yourself - you'll get crazy!
ACTION: An amazing skill is useless if the person is lazy, late, and lax about deadlines. Hire someone with great work ethics and with the same values as you have and then train them with the skills you need from them.
Freelancing is a great dream if you prepare for it in advance. Otherwise, don't jump into it yet - unless you want to live a nightmare? - Rappler.com
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- 5 money mistakes 20-somethings should avoid
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- 5 signs you're going broke
Lianne Martha Laroya is a financial advisor. She's also the founder of The Wise Living, a website dedicated to guiding people on money management and early investing without boring you to tears. Get your FREE copy of her basic personal finance book for 20-somethings. Connect with her on Twitter,@MsLianneLaroya"
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