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As someone who has been freelancing for over 4 years now, it can be difficult to remember what life was like prior to this lifestyle. And while there are many benefits, there are also some things that I didn't even think would be an issue—that quickly made me rethink how I was going to approach this lifestyle and be successful.
If you're just starting out as a freelancer or you're considering this lifestyle, there are some things you might not know about that you should, so that you can make an informed decision and so that you know what you're in for!
There is such a small percentage of ‘bad' things about this lifestyle (for me at least), but I feel that for some people, these things could actually sway them in not pursuing this lifestyle.
I prefer to jump head first into things, while others prefer to weigh up the pros and cons.
So here's the pros and cons list of freelancing for those of you who need to know all the gory details BEFORE you get started.
Pros and Cons of Freelancing
Pro: Working From Home
One of the great things about freelancing is that you never have to leave your home if you don't want to. You can stay in your PJ's all day, you can wear what you want, when you want and when it's cold outside, you get to stay inside!
You also don't have annoying people dropping by your desk for a chat, interrupting your work ‘flow' and no boss demanding you must do this task right now. Bliss…
Con: Working From Home
But, working from home has it's drawbacks. If you enjoy being around people, you might find working from home a bit too solitary for you. You will also find many distractions await you at home, things like washing needing to be done, the dishwasher needing to be emptied or other domestic distractions that really could wait, but will drive you crazy if you don't do them (or is that just me?!).
The solution? Find a co-working space near you or head to your nearest coffee shop. That's what I do when I'm feeling a bit isolated or lonely, I head to a coffee shop. And if I need to interact with others like me, I call someone in my Mastermind group!
Pro: You're the Boss
This is probably one of my fave things about freelancing. You become the boss of you, your time and what you work on. And while you might still work with clients and to an extent, are accountable to them, they are not calling you or constantly looking for updates. As long as you meet their deadline, they don't care when you work!
Con: You're the Boss
This can also be a pain in the butt, particularly if you're not self-motivated and organised. You are responsible for getting stuff done, no-one else, and it's important that you realise this right from the outset. This means you need to set some type of schedule for when you will work. If you don't, you could find yourself work all hours, which is so not the point of going full-time freelancing!
It will take a bit of a mind-shift to get the hang of this, but once you do… see the ‘pro' above!
Con: Dealing With Clients
While I don't like to see everything in a negative light, dealing with clients is probably the biggest ‘con' of being a freelancer. you can't survive without clients, which means you will more often than not, need to find clients to work with.
You'll need to learn how to negotiate so that you can get paid what you're worth and set up working parameters so that you don't have clients calling you on the weekend.
Dealing with clients can be a real nightmare, but, if you set up contracts that outline working arrangements, things will run a lot smoother.
If you don't want to ever deal with clients, freelancing is NOT for you…
Pro: Structure Your Day How You Want
This is probably my second fave thing about freelancing—being able to structure my day in the way that I want.
I'm a morning person, so I'm up early. I also like to not work on a Friday, so I don't. It's really that simple. I work better in blocks of focused time, with a few hours off in between, so that's what I do. I structure my day around how I work, not how my clients work.
One thing that no-one really talks about when you're starting out is just how much your emotions will come into play, particularly when you're dealing with clients. There is no buffer between you and an irate client, so you need to learn how to deal with those types of clients.
Always take 5 when you get an unreasonable demand from a client, never reply back immediately to an angry email and handle rejection with tact. Nobody likes a whinging Nelly…
If you can do this and not take things personally, then you'll enjoy a successful freelancing career for many, many years to come.
For me, the pros far outweigh the cons and once you figure out how to deal with the cons, you'll feel the same way too.
But I also know that freelancing isn't for everyone, so if after reading through some of this information, you've decided that freelancing isn't your thing, then that's ok too. Doing what you love doesn't always mean that freelancing is your only option.
Here's some other resources to check out:
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The bottom line about freelancing is that it should be something you enjoy doing. For me, it was a stepping stone into something bigger. Without freelancing, I would not have learned the skills I needed to start my own business and create products.
What about you? Do any of the pros and cons ring true for you too? Is freelancing now something you'll avoid or run head-first into? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
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