According to Freelancersunion.org, “nearly one in three working Americans is an independent worker. That’s almost 54 million people – and growing.” A freelancer is usually self-employed, offering a service based on a skill or expertise he or she can offer. Services include many fields: marketing, legal, writing, admin support, sales, translation, design, engineering, human resources, accountants/bookkeepers, customer service, and much more.
Freelancing allows for autonomy, flexibility and variety. Depending on your personality, life responsibilities, skills and interests, this career path could be very beneficial. So the question is whether freelancing makes sense for you and then if it does, how to go about it.
Is Freelancing the right career path for you?
1. Interested in dabbling in something new?
Many of my clients are considering switching to a new career. Before making this leap, freelancing can allow you to try something new without having to commit. You can sign onto a project, give it a whirl and see how it goes. Seeing all the different freelance projects on the freelancing websites is a great way to get a sense of the different types of work that is out there and can help you focus in on an area.
2. Thinking about re-entering the workforce?
Have you been out of the workforce for a while caring for kids or elderly parents or other reasons you needed to take some time off? You may not want to go back to what you were doing or may find it difficult to re-enter that career. Freelancing is a great way to experiment with new options and dip your toe back into the working world.
3. Looking for part-time work that will keep you on course with your career?
It is hard to find intellectually stimulating part-time work. If you search for part-time jobs on Indeed.com, you will find that there are a lot of part-time jobs that do not require education or experience. If you want a job that allows you to stay on your career path, freelancing is sometimes your best bet. When looking for freelancing jobs you can sort these jobs by job titles from all professional areas and job levels, including mid-level jobs and senior level jobs. No need to take a step back in your career just so you can work part time.
4. Filling time between jobs?
Are you having a hard job landing a job that meets your standards? Freelancing may be the perfect thing to do while you are conducting your job search. Getting out and working on jobs related to your career is a productive way to continue to contribute, develop skills and grow your network. It is beneficial to be able to talk about current work you are doing while you are at an interview. In addition, having project work can help you feel more confident during a job search since job searches can often erode confidence.
5. Do you want a career with autonomy or flexibility?
Not everyone wants to go the traditional route of working in one job with a boss. Becoming a freelancer may feel empowering and freeing. Yes, there is work with keeping your business running and definitely more unpredictability, but you will rarely be bored! With freelancing you can figure out what hours you want to work, how much work you want and who you like working for. If you want extended time off to travel, write a book, or other long-term projects, freelancing could provide you with that flexibility as well.
6. Interested in trying a side hustle to determine if you want to start your own business?
Thinking about creating a marketing consultant company? Then why not do some marketing freelance projects first to see how it goes and potentially foster some future client relationships. In the same way freelancing can help you dabble in a new career, it can also help you determine if you want to start your own business and perhaps reduce your risk when you are ready to launch.
Challenges to Freelancing
Of course there are challenges to freelancing. First, you often have to provide your own health benefits. In addition, there is less predictability and security in this route, which can be stressful if you have bills to pay. Finally, you need to continue to market yourself and find work, rather than keeping a stable job; although the truth of the matter is that job security is much less common these days and we should all see ourselves as freelancers whether we are employed or not.
Check out these websites to find freelancing opportunities:
- Linked In Profinder
There are even opportunities to freelance with your volunteer work. If you want to share your expertise (or develop your expertise) while helping a cause you care about, check out Catchafire.org
I hope this blog helped you see the different benefits and challenges of freelancing. If you are interested in talking more about your career and the possibilities of freelancing, please feel free to contact me and schedule an initial free consultation.