Most of what your mind will offer you when the doubts start to kick in about freelancing are based on what you’ve heard from other people.
Or (more likely) what you’ve read online.
The problem I have with most of what I read about the ‘realities’ of becoming a freelancer is that the downsides are often overstated, deeply depressing and completely off-putting if taken at face value.
I’m not suggesting the realities these people feel compelled to comment on do not exist – or even that they’re not valid in some cases. I just don’t much like the reaction they provoke in the talented, hardworking folk that are scared off from learning how to build a fulfilling freelancing life they may have been perfectly suited to.
Many that could make a success of their work and their lives by freelancing gradually decide not to pursue it because of the perceived risks involved.
Interestingly, people rarely balance the argument by putting forth the ‘harsh realities’ of people stewing in their own contempt in a full-time day job their entire lives.
So in the interests of balance…
Freelancing scare tactic #1:
You have to have the self-motivation of an angry mule to be a successful freelancer
Yes, you have to be self-disciplined at times and conjure up elements of self-motivation to get the work done, but no more than the average day job worker has to conjure up to get out of bed each morning and sit at their desks for eight to nine hours a day.
The scaremongers (for whatever reason) make out that if you had nobody to answer to but yourself you’d spiral into a dangerous world where you’d never see the light of day, nor complete any of the work you’ve toiled so hard to go out and get.
In fact as a freelancer you do have people to answer to – your clients – it’s just they don’t breathe down your neck all day, telling you what to wear and what time to take your lunch. As long as you regularly pitch for work, complete it to a high standard and deliver it on time, you don’t have to be any more self-disciplined than your average (non-lazy) full-time worker.
Contrary to popular belief, freelancing doesn’t mean you’re constantly testing the boundaries of your self-discipline and struggling daily to become motivated, you’re just getting on with the job – just like everybody else.
Freelancing scare tactic #2:
“Don’t Quit Your Day Job”
If there’s a phrase in the English language that annoys me the most (when said without irony) it is this: “Don’t quit your day job.” I feel like saying to the (perhaps well-meaning) individuals that utter this to me, “No, you don’t quit your day job – I’m making money in other, more satisfying and lucrative ways now.”
Some people wish to stay in their day jobs alongside their freelancing endeavours and this truly works for them, but many others are only there because they’re too scared not to be.
Of course it would be unwise to immediately quit your job before you’ve built any freelancing foundations, but does this really need to be laboriously pointed out?
People should give those who express the courage and commitment to become freelancers the credit they deserve.
Yes, it takes time to build a reputation and therefore it takes time to build a full-time income – but you knew that already, didn’t you?
Freelancing scare tactic #3:
In this economic climate it’s risky to be a freelancer
In this economic climate it’s risky to rely on just one source of income for your entire living costs and financial future. In this economic climate it’s far riskier to rely on anybody but yourself to provide you with an income.
As a freelancer, if a particular client drops you, you can find other clients. If you need more money for an unexpected expense, you can offer another service to existing clients or look for extra opportunities on freelancing sites.
The bottom line is this: Implementing different income streams is a far less risky option in this, or any other, economic climate.
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If you want to go freelancing full-time you can make good money from it if you’re smart and learn how to get good clients that pay well. To be a freelancer means to market yourself and your services and always be on the lookout for opportunities.
Your mind (and sometimes the people around you) will make you doubt your abilities at times but if you do the work well and on time you’ll slowly build a reputation and the hard work will pay off.
Then you’ll never have to worry about all the scary things you once read about freelancing that very nearly put you off this incredibly rewarding way of living and working.
>> If you think this life is for you, get pitching templates and step-by-step instructions on how to earn a living from freelance writing online in the Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner to Pro.
photo credit: nvk via Express Monorail via photopin cc