How to become and sustain as a freelancer
Have you ever dreamed of working for yourself but felt since you couldn’t start a company yet, you should wait forever?
Well, that’s where freelancing comes in. It is a bridge between being an employee and being an entrepreneur. You are a solo entrepreneur as a freelancer and you get to work for yourself.
Let me set up my credentials to write this piece before I tell you how to go about it. I am an MBA from one of the premier B-schools of the world- S P Jain School of Global Management. After I worked for 5–6 years post MBA, I had the itch to work for myself since being an employee, I couldn’t gather the freedom to organize my time and be able to do certain things I wanted to do with my life.
More importantly, when I quit my job I was almost 3 months short of my 34th birthday and I have recently completed 4 years of working for myself and I won’t say it is an easy journey. Also, I mention my age because by the time people are 34, they don’t take the kinds of risk that I have taken and put their entire life at risk. I did. The journey has been full of highs and lows and it continues to be as I write this.
However, considering I think that now I will work till the last day of my life, I have more time in working years than I would have had in case I worked as an employee, which means I would have retired at 60. Now, even I look at a life span of up to 84 years, although I think I am going to live longer, I am looking at a work life of 50 years. So, if you are like me, you aren’t too late.
Now, that the context setting is done let me give you a few things you need to keep in mind before you take the plunge.
Analyse your finances
What is your financial stage in life right now? What encumbrances do you have? If you are single and in your 20’s, you should be quite free in terms of where you stand in risk appetite. 20’s is a good time to take some risks, especially if you are living with your parents and they are taking care of your expenses.
You can give it a shot now. Take a year off from what you are doing and if it doesn’t work, you can always get back to your job. You should take risks when your risk appetite is high. The older you grow, your risk appetite starts depleting because every stage of life brings new challenges, and taking risks may not be a priority for you anymore. When you have some money in your account and you can jump in, do!
If you have crosses your 20’s though, then be careful in terms of where you stand. You don’t want to get desperate quite soon. If we don’t have money in the bank, even confidence becomes to get depleted. Therefore, know how much time you can sustain, if you don’t make any money from your decided passion.
Money is fuel, always remember. No matter who you are and if freelancing is relevant to your life or not. Money is fuel. It is a tool for life and you can’t proceed without it.
Understand what you are passionate about
I think it is extremely difficult to work for yourself and that is why most people work for others. Therefore, it would be quite bizarre if you start working for yourself without an understanding of what you are really passionate about. Do something that brings you alive!
Look back at your childhood, your school and college years, and try to figure out what really made you come alive. Start dabbling in that, with your day job and see how it feels. Don’t quit your job without understanding what you really want to do, ideally, until things get really bad.
Freelancing isn’t quite respected in India, until you are a star
There will be resistance, especially if you come from a family where people had jobs all their lives and you will have to deal with all of that. Most of the times, this will be bitter as you can’t change the fundamental beliefs of people just because you think it is the right thing for you to do. You will be labelled as selfish and that is fine.
It is a part of the story.
Freelancing is being hands on with digital marketing, accounting and execution
You are your own marketer, execution team and accounts. You will not have anyone to delegate your work to, till you reach a point where you can hire people and share some of your work with them.
It is a LOT of work to work for yourself. Sometimes, you are trying to create an altogether new career for yourself. You will need help and you will have to ask for help. You will be required to figure out new and new ways to generate work. Some will work and some will fail. It is a part of the process. It is a journey of experimentation.
When things get difficult, remember why you started
There will be good days when you will love your decision to go solo and work for yourself. However, there will be days when you would wonder why you left the security of a job to work for yourself. Those days will come. And you will need to pep yourself up, or confide in someone you can trust. Always know who you will confide in, because this is a difficult journey and everybody won’t necessarily understand your motivations.
It is a lot of fun to create a life based on your convictions
This is the reason I work for myself. I love writing and I love to make people laugh. To inspire people and make them happy are the two goals I have in my life. My mission is to make the world a visibly inspired and happier place. I have had great days on this journey and I have had not so great days.
But I am on it, because I love what I do, and it gives my life meaning, and thereby, deep seated happiness.
Thank you for reading. I am writer and stand-up comedian. This is my YouTube channel.
Let me know, how you found this article, and what should I be writing next. To get in touch with me, just comment and we will take it from there. Follow me here, I am going to write a bunch of articles, starting this month.