How To Know If Freelancing Is For You
By Anne Balad
With a steady Internet connection and a laptop, it has become easier for us to transition to a freelancing career where we are able to control our time and be our own boss. With personal connections, cold emails, and freelancing websites such as Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr among others, opportunities are endless. However, being your own boss is just one of the many reasons why people opt for freelancing. You have to realize that commiting to this career path requires a lot of self-reflection and a commitment to a lifestyle change.
Here are some points to consider to know if freelancing the right path for you.
1. Time is your preferred currency
Time is the ultimate currency. You can earn more money but you can never bring back lost time. And let’s face it, most of Filipinos’ time is spent on the road. Traffic in the Philippines, especially in Metro Manila is the worst. Whether you commute to and from work using a car, MRT, or public utility vehicle, you battle heavy traffic and approximately 4 hours of travel. That’s 20 hours a week—80 hours a month! Let that sink in. By the time you get home, you barely have any energy for yourself let alone others.
You often think that the precious time spent stuck in traffic, long queues, or traversing through heavy rain could be used for productive tasks, self-care activities, time with family, or even a side business. If that’s the case, maybe it’s time for you to transition into a freelancing career free of traffic jams and late office attendance.
2. You value life beyond work
If you are a working mom or dad who would love to focus more on family life and be hands-on with the kids, then freelancing is the best way for you to balance both. That way, you will still be able to earn a steady income to financially support your family and supervise the children’s needs without compromising too much time.
You will be able to attend Little Sally’s PTA meetings, help more often with her homework, and manage the household. If you want to save more money on childcare, would like to homeschool your kids, or be flexible with your parental duties—all while earning money, then freelancing is the way to go.
3. You have the initiative to seek for projects
Leonardo Da Vinci once said “While you are alone you are entirely your own master”. What he said couldn’t be more true. Freelancers have to be their own boss and be proactive in seeking and thinking of their next project or work.
They have to put themselves out there to the world. Once a project or contract with a client ends, freelancers have to craft proposals, find new tasks, contact potential clients, update their portfolio, and bid on projects to keep a steady income going.
Freelancing is for you if you are resourceful and have the initiative to seize opportunities independently. And TBH, if you live for the challenge.
4. You would love to be location independent
If you like the idea of working from home (or from a coffice) and have a longing for adventure and travel but you are bummed about having only a limited number of days for leave each year, then freelancing is for you. One of the benefits of freelancing is that as long as you have a laptop and a stable Wi-Fi, you can pretty much take your work anywhere with you.
Gone will be the days where you have to ask your boss for sick leave even though you actually had a long weekend trip to La Union planned. You can work in another province or country without asking for your boss’s approval simply because you decide where your office space will be. You can even live in an island and work from there (as long as it has stable wifi connection)!
If you are at the point where you earn more than enough, you can even be a digital nomad and travel the world while working at the same time. Now that’s what I call the perfect work-life balance!
5. You are self-disciplined and can stick to a time table
The freelancing life may look easy and carefree to the outsider but it actually demands equally hard work because you are fully in charge of your time. Unless you have an exclusive contract with a client with a fixed monthly salary, freelancers are being paid for the time they clock-in their work hours.
There are also usually no benefits, paid holidays, or sick days so it requires high levels of self-discipline to get the job done since you are being paid for the amount of time you spent working on a project. Time not working is money not earned.
6. You are a constant learner
Technology continues to advance rapidly and freelancers often need to keep up with these advances through constant self-education. The freelancing world is a competitive industry and there are many freelancers who can do the same job as you and even better.
The best way to attract clients and projects is to be updated and be more knowledgeable about digital tools and trends. It can be through reading blogs, taking online courses, or attending workshops and conferences. If you love to read and learn about technology by yourself then freelancing is for you.