The 5 Unexpected Things They Don't Tell You About Freelancing
I began freelance writing when I was 16, doing it part-time during high school to my first years in college. When I transferred to open university, I decided to pursue freelancing full-time, working for various contractors and projects. I've been doing this for seven years now, and since I began at a young age, I never really thought about how… unconventional it seemed to people.
But now that we're given a ton of opportunities to work remotely and as a freelancer, I've received tons of questions about what to expect and where to begin. If you're wondering about what being a freelancer is really like, I share to you what people never warned me about, from start to now!
What They Don't Tell You About Freelancing
Being a freelancer while studying has its perks. You get to learn about handling your own money and I lessen my parents' expenses for both allowance and school, as I study in a state university. However, it isn't all rainbows and butterflies as people think it to be (this is in NO way discouraging you to become a freelancer, though). Here are some things I realized when I began working as a freelancer:
1. Starting Out Is Tough
I've had people complain to me about how difficult it is to get accepted or to find a job suitable for them. This is the main issue with those who want to start off as freelancers, as they don't realize how competitive the field is!
When I first started off on an official freelancing platform, I faced so many rejections or unanswered proposals. Discouraging, isn't it? Think of it as applying for jobs in various companies as well, where you'll have to go through hardships before getting accepted (this is true especially if you just began/graduated). There will always be one person who will see your potential, and as long as you deliver the successful output, work continues.
2. The Money Isn't Good… At First
Similar to the likes of b/vlogging, people presume that this is where the big bucks come in. I'm honestly not sure how people think freelancing equates to higher pay, but I notice that this is the reason why a lot of those who try become freelancers would back out. Not only is it tough to start working, but since assignments are inconsistent and you're considered new, don't expect to make a ton during the first few weeks or months.
With that being said though, I'm sure that with patience and persistence, you can earn more than enough for your needs AND wants! As for me, it took a few years before I got to where I am today, with perseverance and luck by my side. Obviously, I don't make the big bucks (if that's the case, you'll find me buying out all the milk teas and camera equipment), but it supports my needy cat and rent.
3. Sometimes, Workflow's Inconsistent
This is a main worry of mine, especially as the "freelance world" becomes more competitive as the years come! When all projects you work on have been finished successfully, you might find a gap between yourself and finding a new project to do. That gap might be short or long, but either way, the inconsistency is a bit daunting because you can't postpone the bills according to your schedule!
It's the reason why I like taking on various projects simultaneously, focusing on long-term ones that help pay the bills and still give me enough to save for emergencies. As long as you schedule your projects accordingly, you won't have to worry about messing with deadlines and freelancing's inconsistency.
If I go through that gap, I find and apply for as many jobs I'm interested in and cross my fingers. While waiting, I'm either reading, studying, or catching up on much-needed rest.
4. There ARE Downsides to Having Freedom of Time
I can't stress this enough! If someone found out I work as a freelance writer during times I'm not studying, the first statement I get is, "you have so much free time!"
In a way, that's true. I'm able to schedule my work and write or do what I want in my own time. It's pretty fun being able to wake up at 1PM without worrying about having to report to a (fixed) boss, too.
BUT, if you're like me (and I hope not), the freedom of time can be such a devil. It taunts you into thinking that you'll be able to finish work in the next few hours or days, waiting until you have an hour before the deadline. Freedom of time wills you to say yes to multiple projects and breakdown from having to do everything simultaneously because of the huge workload. Also, freedom of time has you postpone showers and mess with your sleeping schedule, making you either nocturnal or tired from TOO MUCH SLEEP.
The solution here is easy: Don't be like me and start get your butt off the bed to work. Organizing and scheduling my workflow is great, as long as I stay consistent and actually stick to it! Besides that, avoid taking up what you can't fulfill on time, know your limits and focus on your wellbeing first!
5. You'll Be Working Everywhere You Go
If we've ever met, I'm pretty sure you've seen me on my laptop or phone typing away at least once in the span of our relationship. Work, for me, has become an addiction I now try to balance out with fun activities and family time. Because of this addiction, the freedom of freelancing has enabled me to work just about anywhere I want to.
I've worked in airports, airplanes, while lost in another country, in beaches, during family events, in bars, all cafes, on a date with my boyfriend, just name it and I've probably worked there already.
This isn't a bad thing, really! It's such a relief to work anywhere that's comfortable with you, skipping traffic and facing people (LOL). Just remember to balance your schedule and avoid making it all about work, okay?
Wrapping It Up
Freelancing is a fulfilling and rewarding job, just as much as working in traditional positions. As long as you're better acquainted with the realities of being a freelancer, you can manage expectations and accomplish your goals, surpassing limits the more you learn. If you plan on becoming a freelancer (or already are), then I'm proud of you and am rooting for your success!
I hope you liked my post on freelancing! If you've got questions or want to add more to it (even share your experiences!), do comment below. I would love to hear your stories and will answer any questions quickly!