Who wouldn’t want to be a freelancer? Being able to work at your own pace, not having a boss to look over your shoulder all the time, and best of all, not having to deal with traffic jam to and from work – going freelance seems to be the perfect work set up, right?
No wonder, many corporate rats who have been dreaming of quitting the race to be on their own get culture-shocked the moment they jump off the concrete jungle and submerge themselves in the freelance world.
Because here’s the first thing you need to know about being a freelancer – the “less stress, no boss, minimal fatigue” description? It’s all just a huge illusion.
Freelancing and entrepreneurship (you have to think like an entrepreneur when you’re operating as a freelancer) is never as easy and smooth-sailing as what other people say, or what social media paints it to be.
Yes, you can work at your own pace. But you have to work harder. And whatever undeserved breaks you take, no one else will suffer the consequences for but you. No one will tell you off for going on a TV series marathon all day instead of writing your articles. But when deadline comes that night and you don’t have anything to submit, guess who’s on the bad side of the client: not your company or your department. Just you.
Yes, you don’t have a boss. But that just makes your responsibilities a lot bigger because you’re accountable for whatever mistakes you deliver to clients. You have no one to act as a buffer between you and the client, so you’re sure to directly absorb whatever the client feels about your work.
And yes, you have the perks of working wherever you please. The thought of being able to work anywhere might get you all excited to go to the beach, laptop in tow, and try working in a surf shack you rented just before you ride the waves later. But the truth is, there are many things to consider if you plan on pulling off a work day while soaking up some vitamin sea – internet connection stability, distractions, physical materials you need. Plus, what’s the point of being on the beach when you can’t enjoy it 100%?
In the end, deciding to be a freelancer does not mean choosing an easier career route. Freelance work requires discipline, time management and being goal-oriented. Most of all, it requires will power. Lots and lots of it.
Everything becomes more complicated when you’re both the boss and the worker, the supervisor and the supervised. Being a freelancer demands commitment – a lot more commitment than a regular job requires.
So there you have it. Freelance work is never and will never be a shortcut to success and financial freedom. But just as with any career path, all the challenges of being a freelancer can be manageable just as long as you’re doing something you’re passionate about.
For current freelancers, what are the things you wish you knew before jumping on board? And for aspiring freelancers, what do you think are the areas you need to improve on to be effective in this industry? Tell us on the comment section below!