Freelancing and working from home are the two buzzwords that keep swirling around media ever since the pandemic started. True, both trends have a longer life than the end of 2019, but repetitive lockdowns and social distancing forced many people into a new work style, that didn’t use to be so easily accepted by companies with a more conservative culture.
And you know what?
A large majority of the people who got to experience work from home (or WFH) say they like the style and want to continue it even when the pandemic will be just a bad memory. And why shouldn’t they? There are lots of benefits to this lifestyle when it is possible to establish a trust-based connection between employer and employee.
More importantly, the WFH experience allowed many people to taste the world of freelancing, and some of them got hooked. So, if you are interested in making the switch between employment and becoming your own boss, here are a few steps to get you closer to your goal in 2021.
Make Sure You Understand the Implications
This part is crucial in your journey to being self-employed! Many people feel they want a change from their 9-to-5 job but forget to research what it actually means to be on your own, without the support and guidance of a managerial team.
First and foremost, a freelancer is an entrepreneur who offers their skills as services.
For instance, someone who works as a computer programmer will market their skills to get various freelancing contracts with companies and individuals who need their help. On the same note, a web designer or a content writer will do the same. The common denominator here is that all these people will have to market their skills and create channels to attract paying customers. In addition, they will also have to establish the specifications for each job and set the pricing.
Therefore, being a freelancer requires a combination of skills, not just the ones you’re good at. You’re also doing the marketing, planning, and finances of the business.
Stay Up to Date with the Trends
This is not just for freelancers (although it’s a more pressing matter for them). The technology we’re using is constantly evolving and improving, which is why those who don’t make an effort to stay up to date cease to be relevant for their specific industries.
Luckily, the information and resources are (usually) easily available in the format of online courses, speciality blogs, articles, tutorials, and journals. Therefore, all you have to do is put in the effort of reading, learning, and experimenting the new trends and make sure you are constantly improving your techniques and skill set.
For instance, in today’s day and age, it would be a huge mistake to not take a Machine Learning course designed for your industry. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithms and systems received a lot of attention in the last few years as more companies and industries include them in their activity.
Get Organized and Keep Yourself Accountable
There are lots of apps and platforms designed especially for freelancers, with features that help you organize into projects and sub-projects. However, nothing will work if you don’t start with yourself!
We’re not saying you should be a hyper-organized person who focuses on goals and to-do lists (although it would help!). Still, freelancing requires good time management skills and self-accountability. Otherwise, you won’t be able to handle several projects at once and you’ll always be missing your deadlines.
And, no one wants to work with an unreliable person (employed or freelancer)!
Here are a few tips from experienced freelancers who managed to stay productive throughout their career:
- Have a work schedule (even though there’s no one to impose it) – routine is a good thing for the brain and your life in general;
- Use a project management system that helps you track progress on a daily basis;
- Break large tasks into smaller ones – it discourages procrastination;
- Don’t overdo it – at least at first, it’s tempting to work day and night, but this is a sure way to get a burnout, which can lead you on a dark path of fatigue and depression;
- Have a designated work area in the house and avoid working from bed (for as much as possible).
Accept Boredom as a Part of Life
Freelancing is an exciting opportunity to work on the projects you want, from wherever you want! This lifestyle creates a wide range of opportunities like working from the beach, travelling the world, or simply moving to a new city without worrying about living expenses.
But the excitement won’t hold forever!
Regardless of how passionate you may be about each of the projects you land, some tasks are going to get boring. And it’s only natural since this is a job after all. Still, you are the one who makes the decisions, so you can’t complain too much.
In the end, freelancing is a great way to mix things up and test new waters. It can be a step to a new career, it can be something you do on the side, and it can also be something you try only to realize it’s not for you. But, in today’s day and age, it’s an experience worth having!