The path of a freelancer is a life filled with freedom and excitement. It’s an alluring career that promises you the opportunity to work from just about anywhere, and the only tool you need is a computer. Yet, it’s not just a simple case of pick up and go. Many budding freelancers have taken the plunge, only to suffer crippling consequences.
Freelancing Isn’t Fun and Games
Many people associate freelancing with “turning what you love into a source of income”. It holds some truth, but I can guarantee you that it’s much more sinister and not as innocent as it seems. Turning your hobby into a job is a bold move; what you once saw as a productive and relaxing pastime will turn into a grind to put food on the table. If you associated drawing and painting with fun, then switching to a freelance graphic designer could destroy your passion for art. You’ll have deadlines to meet, clients to deal with, and failures to cope with.
You have to be passionate and flexible about what you’re turning into a freelancing career. Sometimes, that means building your professional portfolio around something that isn’t your hobby but somewhat related. You could be an excellent artist, but that doesn’t mean taking commissions for logos and banners will be your forte. Instead, a more technical approach to creative design, such as web design, could be an alternative. It still incorporates art skills, but it’s different enough that it won’t bleed into your hobby.
Contrary to Popular Belief, It’s Hard to Go Alone
Many people misunderstand freelancing. It’s not a lone-wolf career, and you’d be surprised at how many freelancers will hire other freelancers or local businesses to carry out work. Take I.T services for example. If you’re a professional photographer in Kentucky, then you can hire IT Support to deal with scanning equipment, connectivity to upload photos, and storage mediums to keep your photos safe from file corruption.
Similarly, freelancers typically don’t have much experience with finances. It’s common to consult financial advice and sign up for bookkeeping services. It makes sending invoices and keeping track of expenses a breeze. If you plan to take the dive and become a freelancer, just keep in mind it doesn’t mean going solo the entire way. Learn to use the services of other people, and make sure that you’re not turning into a one-man army.
Take the Initiative
Businesses know where to look for freelancers. The cold hard truth is that you aren’t what they are looking for—at least, not yet. If you aren’t putting yourself out there, then there’s almost zero chance for you to get noticed. Don’t just wait for job listings and hope for a miracle to appear. If you’re an artist or a photographer, then get started with social media. Post your best pictures on Instagram; show your art on Twitter, and let people see what you can do.
If you’re a writer, then pitch ideas to different publications and make contacts with people. For every job you do, make sure you’re grabbing people’s social media profiles, make sure you save their emails, and remember their names. When you have a stunning idea that no one’s thought of, or that you think you can do better, write up an email and pitch it to editors. You have to be the one that pulls the trigger; don’t wait for someone else to do it.