As a Bird! Is It Time to Embrace the Freelance Lifestyle?
by Chris King
his landmark book, Free
Agent Nation: How America’s New Independent Workers Are Transforming
the Way We Live, Daniel H. Pink writes, "So maybe it's not
all about the Benjamins, or the promotions, or the growth. Maybe Bob Dylan,
and not Puff Daddy, holds the answer. `A man is a success,' Dylan sang,
`if he gets up in the morning and does what he wants to do.'" ...
Is it time for you to start working for yourself? In this article I will
address some of the pros and cons of freelance living.
holds us back from pursuing what we really want to do?
Your fulltime job is no longer fun, or there is rumor of downsizing coming,
or you have been laid off already. You’ve decided that you are ready
to go out on your own, but doubts are holding you back. If the idea of
pursuing a freelance lifestyle appeals to you, you must be willing to
risk change. Two feelings that tend to hold us back from taking a risk
are low self-esteem and fear.
Esteem: you either like yourself or you don’t. To raise your
self esteem, practice positive self talk, embrace your uniqueness (review
your assets and strengths), keep a journal and surround yourself with
people who believe in you. Ask them to tell you what talents and strengths
they feel you possess.
holds us back in a plethora of ways. Ask yourself which of the following
fear or fears is holding you back: failure, success, I'll get hurt (physically,
emotionally/psychologically), the unknown, poverty, criticism and loss
of love. For years we’ve had the idea of the importance of security
drummed into us. And, leaving the security of a fulltime career - even
if it is distasteful - can be extremely threatening. There are no guarantees
when we are out there on our own. But, are there where you work now?
Here are some of the pros that work for me in my freelance lifestyle:
and Autonomy (being in control). I love having the flexibility
of doing what I want and need to do, when I want to do it. I can work
late into the night, early in the morning, or all afternoon. It is
up to me. As part of my schedule, I teach fitness classes most mornings,
so work my projects and meetings around those classes. I also like
the flexibility that comes with taking on projects that I enjoy and
turning down those that don’t appeal to me.
and Change. By working in a variety of areas and for a variety
of clients, I have the opportunity to approach each project with a
fresh burst of creativity. It keeps me filled with excitement, enthusiasm,
and energy which when combined really pay off for the client too.
Even when I am hired by the same client again and again, the type
of projects usually change.
along with Development of Expertise and Many Skills. Being a lifelong
learner, I am delighted when hired to tackle a new project that involves
upgrading my expertise and skills. Also, whenever I am between projects,
and even when I am in the middle of them, I continually take classes
and work on achieving new levels of expertise. And seeing a project
through to completion gives one a great sense of accomplishment.
Doing What One Likes. There are so many benefits to pursuing what
we like and love to do. I feel that it strengthens our emotional and
physical health, gives meaning to our lives, and adds to our growth
as a human being. I am not a millionaire financially, but I can honestly
say that as a free agent and independent professional, I go to bed
at night smiling and I get up in the morning excited and happy to
start all over again.
Now that we have examined some of the reasons to embrace a freelance lifestyle,
it is time to address some of the cons:
the Risk. There is always risk involved when we work for ourselves.
Will we get enough work to sustain us and our bank account? Will we
choose and/or find clients that are agreeable to work with? Will we
do the level of work that our clients will be pleased with? I could
go on for pages listing questions filled with doubt. My recommendation
is to have faith in your abilities, realizing that if you love what
you are doing, you have a strong chance that you will succeed. Risk
comes with everything we do and can make what we do that much more
Coupled with a Lack of Stability and a Regular Routine. If you
have trouble dealing with change and a lack of stability, I suggest
that the lifestyle of a free agent or freelancer is not for you. If
just setting up a whole new routine and dealing with not having a
regular nine to five job really threatens your peace of mind, you
might want to ease into freelance living by taking on an extra part-time
job while keeping your full-time job until you are established in
your new career.
Be Overwhelming when Deadlines Overlap. Living the freelance life
can vary from having too much free time in between projects to being
overwhelmed by too many projects all coming due at the same time.
We have some control over this if we have the “guts” to
be up front with our clients about our time schedules. I usually sit
down and map out my timeline for a project and then add on more time
for the unforeseen and interruptions, and once I see it all on paper,
I know that I can produce by the deadlines. In the beginning, we are
so anxious to have projects, it is easy to overload ourselves with
pressures that only work against us and rob us of our energy.
of Company Benefits and Lack of Company. Most freelancers lament
the lack of contact with others on a regular basis more than the lack
of company benefits and receiving a regular paycheck. It is easy to
get so involved with a project that you sit at your desk or computer
all day, so it is important to set up dates with friends and former
co-workers. That is another benefit of my teaching fitness classes.
I have constant interaction daily with others. I also make the effort
to attend networking events and programs and meetings put on by organizations
specializing in my areas of expertise. Also, in the area of benefits,
there are associations and organizations that offer benefits packages
to the small business owner who is a member. If you are concerned
about health insurance, this can offer a reasonable way to go.
If freelancing still appeals to you, just do it! I could list many
more pros and cons - and I am sure you can too - but I think that if you
are truly considering becoming an independent professional, why not do
A brand new FREE eclectic e-newsletter, Career Success Planning, is on the way. I will be contacting former sbscribers to Portfolio Potpourri and all who have taken the Portfolio Career Self Test to subscribe to the new FREE e-newsletter. Use the form below to sign up!
When I started doing the research for this book, I knew that my own experience as a Portfolio Careerist (having more than one career at the same time) wasn’t going to be enough.
After all, those of us who love and maintain Portfolio Careers also love the variety and thrive on doing things our own way. So, I put out a call to those I knew have or have had Portfolio Careers and would be willing to answer a series of questions.
Thirteen Portfolio Careerists answered my call, so you will get the full story
site we hope you are not only learning how
to live a successful and rewarding freelance
life, but also having fun while here.
to be SHARP and
By developing your
own personal and professional STYLE,
you will live your life
on purpose - with
class, pleasure and success in every area. We have created a
Special Report, 125 Ways to Develop
Your Personal and Professional STYLE.
101 Best Freelance Careers
Make your own hours, make your own decisions, and make money
doing it ... with this cutting edge guide to trends, options,
and opportunities for freelancers.
Freelancing: The Complete Guide
In this up to the minute guide, writers, consultants, artists,
and all other types of freelancers will find the essential
information they need to set up and run a profitable, successful
Freelancing: Home-Based Careers
Running a home based business is the way more and more of
us want to work. This will help freelance designers, consultants,
writers, computer service providers, sales people or anyone
who wants to work for themselves.