A Pinch of history
The word freelancing first appeared in the middle ages. It was used to describe medieval mercenary warrior – which means there is no lance sworn on them for any lord.
Of course this term or practice is not applied anymore, however what today’s freelancers do share with the past ones is the term free.
In this article I will explain what is freelancing and how freelancing can be turned into a successful business which you run by yourself.
The pros and cons of freelancing
You might have heard about a designer leaving his job in some firm to become a freelancer and that nowadays he is making more money and has a much better way of life. Sounds like the perfect job? Well, no job is perfect there are always pros and cons for almost everything and that’s what I am going to look at in this part.
Pros of Freelancing:
Choice of workplace
This may seem one of the greatest attractions of freelancing, as you get to choose where to work, in your bedroom, on your couch or even in the Alps! (Well if you do get an internet connection over there but you do get the picture). For a freelancer the location of work does not matter as much as getting the job done.
It’s all about the Benjamins! Indeed, that depends on your effort and how hard you work but being free from someone to boss you around, you can have as much clients and as much projects as you want or as your effort allows you. And with higher quality comes higher flow of cash.
Choice of work
When employed in a firm you don’t get to choose what project you want to work on or which clients you want to work for rather you work as instructed by your mangers. However, freelancing allows choosing what projects you would like to work on since you will choose your clients by yourself this also will give you a chance to get rid of bad clients if you ever face problems with them for example them refusing to pay you.
When to work
Waking up every day in the morning to go to a 9-5 job may seem depressing at times as you have to follow a certain routine that may not suite you at times and you cannot change. Freelancing allows you to be in control of your time and have a flexible schedule. Whether you’re a day person or a night owl you can arrange your schedule according to your daily life as long as the work is done on time.
Cons of Freelancing:
All mentioned above make it somewhat perfect to be a freelancer yet there are some cons that might be a deal breaker.
Variable monthly income
Work may be inconsistent at times and with that comes inconsistent monthly income. For one month you may earn very high the following month you may earn quite low and have no clients at all. This can cause stress and depression to you but should better cash managing lessen the stress to an extent.
Consistency of work
An employer will provide you with work at all times and you will always know by the end of each month you have a stable salary that you earn no matter how your work was. With freelancing the case is different as you have to find clients interested in your works, we don’t want to build castles in the sky but at the beginning this requires hard work and a lot of creativity to attract clients.
Being a freelancer means you are on your own and at the starting it’s quite expensive to hire an accountant to do the job so you have to do your own accounts and that would eat your valuable working time. (You can overcome this by downloading a software like MYOB or QuickBooks which shows easy tutorials to do your accounts much faster)
As you will be working alone, you may feel isolated from the outside world especially if you are not married as you will have no one to talk to or to share your stress with unlike firms where you colleagues and friends to talk to. (You can overcome this by taking a walk in the park or visiting a friend when time allows you)
So the question remains, should you be a freelancer? Yep and yep it is, depending on your efforts though.
- Do you want to mind your own business?
- Do you have the potential for it??
If yes then you should be ready to take on the hurdle and start freelancing after all, the cons mentioned can be overcome by hard work and efficiency.
Thinking about running your business and setting up your own schedule according to what you want should be worth the effort. It’s a freedom to die for.
What it takes to become a freelancer
As awesome as freelancing may seem it’s no easy job, freelancing is not for everybody, like any other job, freelancing requires hard work, dedication and creativity. Yes freelancing gives you the opportunity to run your own business and yes it gives the freedom to run your life and your routine the way you want nevertheless it requires a serious degree of responsibility and again dedication. If you have what it takes then role up your sleeves and get ready for the journey.
Below are just brief pieces of information about how to become a freelancer.
Managing your cash:
When starting, a business ultimately requires capital for freelancing you wouldn’t need so much of capital but keep in mind you should keep an amount of money in the bank for at least 3 months to support yourself as, at the beginning, you will be uncertain about your earnings.
This is a list of your likely first hand expenditure:
- Domain name and hosting services
- Stationery, Business Cards, and other marketing material
- Needed software
- A desk space and supplies
- Subscriptions to stock photo sites and other forms of resources
Along with that you will need to take care of tax, insurance and managing your time. It’s always good to set up a consistent schedule and organize your tasks according to the time you receive them and their deadlines.
Creating a brand of yourself for yourself
In every business, a brand name is one of the important factors for a successful business; it’s what represents you and your company. A good brand builds credibility, client loyalty, delivers a target message to clients and other businesses, and even helps in marketing strategy and advertisements.
You can brand your product using two ways:
- Your own name
- Specialized brand name.
Many designers brand their services or products using their own name. That’s fine but thinking about the future it may be better to use a specialized name especially when you want to turn your individual business into an official firm. It is also easy to remember and, if an SEO friendly name was found, the possibilities will stretch up to new horizons.
Nonetheless using a designers name is unique and original to the designer himself. Both options are to consider it depends on you, your future plans and the way you want to drive your company.
Logo is one of the most critical aspects in branding your business. Spend a good time designing your logo as you may have an opportunity to expand it to your business cards, advertisements and a lot more.
Every designer would want their logo to represent their designing style and will help attracting clients giving which style they may prefer.
Below are free tutorials and walkthroughs to design a good logo:
- 60 beautiful logo design tutorials and resources
- Five Simple Steps in Designing a Logo – Freelance Guide
- Everything about Logo Design!
Creating a portfolio
Before clients consider hiring you they are going to want to view your portfolio by referring to your portfolio as the body of work. After all, clients want assurance beyond your word that you can deliver quality work. Creating a professional Portfolio can have a lot of advantages.
- Show your talent as well as your business professionalism
- Provide user friendly interface
- Shows what kind of work you can provide
- Help growing your brand
- Convince clients to work with you
When you design your portfolio take all these points into consideration and make designing a good portfolio your priority.
All the mentioned above is just a brief intro and your primary need to become a freelancer. There are many other elements to consider for example advertising, work space reinvesting and so on. But the basics still remain the same to become a freelancer in nowadays market you need to have creativity and hard work. Freelancing has its pros and cons but it is certainly the right choice in starting up a business as it gives you freedom to work however you want at the same time a good income if you are successful enough.
In this article I have provided as brief information as possible just for you to get the notion of freelancing and its possibilities. In the next article I will provide tricks and tips to become an effective and a breakthrough freelancer.