TFreelancing For Folks Who Don’t Quite Know What Freelancing Is

 


Myra had been working at the same company for the past five years. She loved her job but was tired of dealing with a boss who is never satisfied and constantly nitpicking about everything. He would be so much easier to work for if he acted like a human being instead of an overbearing tyrant.

Know what I mean?

On top of that, there’s all this paperwork she’s got to fill out, which takes up hours and hours. The worst part? It’s just tedious as heck, and she knows it could be more straightforward.

She had daydreams about going solo…of freelancing.

“Nope, I’m not going to do it,” she thought.

The idea of starting a freelancing career seemed great in theory, but the reality was daunting. And scary as hell! She had no idea how to find clients, and what if they turned out to be terrible? Plus, she didn’t have a fantastic portfolio yet, so it looked like her dreams were crushed before they even started.

But she wasn’t ready to give up just yet…

This was a Zoom call I had last week. Another young gun who doesn’t necessarily hate life or the J-O-B but has this sense of FOMO. This nagging thought that if a move isn’t made soon, then they may be stuck in this spiral of mediocrity. A loop that we don’t escape and will always wonder, “what if.”

And that’s why freelancing feels so alluring.

But before one contemplates that leap, it’s kinda-sorta essential to grasp what precisely a freelancer is.

So what is a freelancer?

Freelancers are often seen as solopreneurs. The term is also used for those who start any other type of business without help from anyone. Meaning you don’t write up a lengthy business plan, seek some sort of funding or feel compelled to hire a team or staff. You take on all risks associated with running the business yourself.

Basically, you ARE the business.

A freelance writer is all of the above, with a focus or concentration on writing.

You don’t need to be a freelance writer like me to find value in this; simply swap out “writer” with “designer,” “chef,” “accountant,” or pretty much any location where one can strike out on their own and make a living.

I happen to sling ink, though.

How is a Freelancer Different from an Entrepreneur?

These are very similar types of individuals.

All freelancers are considered entrepreneurs, though it does not necessarily go the other way around. A freelancer will do it all, while an entrepreneur is more likely to manage others and delegate.

I can see some of you “ex-spurts” out there shaking your heads, getting ready to click away, and maybe thinking this homie doesn’t know his bum from a hole in the ground.

So a quick qualifier.

Right now, I’m a freelance writer with no employees, and I do well. This life came after I founded and scaled a company to high 8-figures and had over 600 employees up until our exit. So I’m comfortable sharing this from a lens of experience in both realms of the entrepreneurial spectrum.

Both as a freelancer and a founder.

But I digress…

An entrepreneur may start a business, but they have a whole team that helps to get the work done with them, including marketing, accounting, and more. Perhaps not in the early days, but generally speaking, teams are formed.

Freelancers are often on their own, usually by choice. They will handle all the minor parts of their business. They may perhaps have an accountant to help out during tax time, but this person would not be an employee of the business.

The Life of a Freelancer

Most freelancers are not looking to build up a whole empire.

They want to work for themselves, and they would like to make good money. However, they want their business to still be manageable enough to make the majority of the decisions on their own. This does limit how much the freelancer can take on.

But that’s ok because freedom is the driver here.

In a way, it’s a catch-22 with freedom at the wheel.

Freelancing has its upsides

Like freedom from the shackles of corporate life.

Need I say more?

The freelancer can work when they want to and on what they want to, with flexibility in scheduling. They are not beholden to someone else’s agenda or schedule.

These two items are enough for nearly everyone I’ve met to strongly consider a life of freelancing.

More upsides are that most freelancers can work from wherever they want. This means the freelancer is not constrained by geography, and it’s possible to live in a beautiful place all year long. Even if that place is your very own living room sofa.

The freelancing world is full of opportunities, to say the least.

And with the upsides come the downsides

Like no benefits package.

Don’t really need to pick this one apart, and for some, it’s a show stopper.

But I will share from my personal experience that health, dental, and retirement benefits (among others) can be acquired from the open market and are much more accessible than one might think.

Staying at a job you dislike for the benefits isn’t smart. It’ll slowly steal your soul.

A freelancer has more responsibilities than any other type of entrepreneur because it is just them versus an entire team for those that have employees (minus the headaches). This means constantly juggling tasks and executing without some help, which may be difficult if you’re new at freelancing or don’t know how yet. There will always be deadlines coming up, so staying organized becomes vital; otherwise, there could be freelancers out there who end up working themselves into burnout.

That kind of defeats the whole point, if you know what I mean.

Finally, the freelancer does not have a safety net like other entrepreneurs because they are the one who bears the burden. If something goes wrong, it’s on them to fix and manage their own error, such as how often freelancers miss deadlines for marketing, writing, or accounting tasks that need doing. If you miss them, it’s all you, baby.

Yeah.

No safety net.

The final word

In the end, freelancing is a way to work for yourself. It’s not as glamorous as one might think at times. Still, freelancers are usually very happy and enjoy the freedom from other burdens when they arise.

It takes some time to build up enough of an income. While freelancing shouldn’t necessarily be considered “low-income,” with dedication and discipline, it could happen faster than you think.

There are upsides and downsides, so weigh out what suits your needs and life best.

My two cents? I’m never going back to any 9–5, period.

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