Being a freelancer sounds pretty much ideal.
In fact, it’s almost natural to us to imagine ourselves as an online freelancer who is sticking to deadlines and still managing to get a cup of coffee with friends in the middle of the work week.
Yet it’s not always that simple. On the outside, online freelancing seems incredible and easy.
But it’s actually a lot more challenging than we might have thought.
Are you your own boss with online freelancing?
Contrary to popular belief, NO, you’re not your own boss with online freelancing.
Instead of having just one boss who manages the office where we work, if we decide to become freelancers, we’ll get multiple bosses.
Since we will have to offer our services to clients, we will essentially have to collaborate with a bunch of random personalities.
Thus, even though the office where we work is our own bedroom, for example, there’s still someone who’s influencing the way we work and manage our time.
If online freelancing were a career where we could just do whatever we wanted, then everyone would opt for it.
But having multiple different clients is a lot harder than having one boss. We will have to adjust to them, meet their needs and sometimes even work late nights just to meet the deadlines they’ve set.
In contrast, having a regular 9-to-5 job means we can clock out as soon as 5 o’clock strikes.
What skills are important for online freelancing?
Still, if someone’s adamant at pursuing online freelancing, it’s crucial to know some of the basic skills they should possess.
Online freelancing, although difficult, could prove to be a successful career for an individual who knows how to deal with all the ups and downs it may bring.
Knowing not only where to buy a planner but how to use it as well will be of the essence here. Without writing things down and working on their memory, nobody will be able to manage day-to-day tasks freelancing requires.
However, that isn’t to say that freelancers don’t use apps.
Indeed, although they had to use planners, notepads and basically the entire offering available at their local stationery store in the past, now there are apps that can make this career a breeze.
But when apps fail us, the old pen and paper will help us reach our deadline.
Still, if we don’t usually like writing things down and managing our workload, then freelancing is probably not a good idea.
When one’s a freelancer, there isn’t a boss who will push them in the right direction. Moreover, there are no colleagues who can motivate them to finish a task before leaving the office.
Freelancing is actually a very lonely career.
We will most likely be stuck in the house for at least eight hours from Monday to Friday; sometimes, even the weekends!
So when it comes to self-motivation, we’re the only ones who can boost our mood and motivate ourselves.
Yes, that’s the real plot twist here. Even though we would be working alone most of the time, having people skills is still important in online freelancing. Why?
It’s all because of those clients we’ll come across every single day.
Knowing how to navigate a business proposal, send well-written, knowledgeable emails about our projects, and in general, talk to clients is of the essence here because our job depends on that.
We’re not just selling our expertise with online freelancing; we’re also relying on our personality and our traits to get the best deal possible.
Knowing how to balance our private and professional lives
Finally, an online freelancer will never be happy with their career choice if they don’t know how to balance their private and professional lives.
Since having this type of career means that we’ll be spending a lot of time alone and in front of our laptop, we’ll have to figure out ways to unwind whenever we have free time.
Otherwise, no matter how much money we make or how great we become at freelancing, we’ll probably be unhappy.
Advantages and disadvantages
Lastly, we ought to look at some of the benefits online freelancing can bring upon and some of the reasons why it’s not always the best choice.
Perhaps this list will be the thing that makes us opt for or refuse to become online freelancers.
We can work from anywhere
As long as we have an outlet nearby and Wi-Fi, we’re good to go.
Thus, we can even work from a coffee shop in Paris or while sunbathing by a pool in Greece.
An online freelancer only needs a laptop and perhaps their planner. Everything else is but a click away!
We can work whenever we want (most of the time)
Although we won’t have a regular work schedule, we can use the flexibility of freelancing to our advantage.
Hence, we can create our own schedule and work whenever we want or whenever we don’t have some errands to take care of.
However, do know that sometimes this won’t be possible. When there’s flexibility, there’s procrastination as well.
So without a real schedule, we may succumb to watching TV while we work or just lying on our bed, hoping motivation strikes soon.
We can pick our clients
An online freelancer can pick clients, and even reject them for any reason at all.
Nevertheless, finding the best clients means having to meet some bad eggs as well.
Moreover, in the beginning, we won’t be able to reject most offers purely because we’ll need the money and the experience.
We earn as much as we work
Freelancing means that we’ll get the amount of money we earned and keep most of it, once we pay the taxes.
That’s a huge benefit in regard to a regular job because we won’t have a fixed paycheck. In essence, the more we work, the more we earn, and vice versa.
And the bad
We can lose clients
Because we can reject clients whenever we want, it’s only logical that they can fire us whenever they want.
Moreover, they don’t ever have to state a reason, which means this sort of career is somewhat unreliable.
Varying cash flow
In line with the above, if we lose clients or they fire us, we will lose money as well.
Thus, we won’t ever have a steady cash flow unless we have clients that keep coming back.
That’s a major turn-off for most people because the uncertainty can be quite difficult to handle.
We’ll feel isolated most of the time
As mentioned, we’ll most likely work alone and have a hard time figuring out when we can go out.
Thus, isolation is a given with being an online freelancer, and so is the fear of missing out.
Still, other benefits can make up for that for the most part. In fact, once we get going and earn a reputation, our schedule may suddenly open up and allow for more fun.
In the end, becoming an online freelancer usually depends on the set of skills we possess and our personality. If we are not ready to work alone and deal with both the good and the bad by ourselves, then this might not be the right career for us.
However, if we’re craving some alone time and choosing our own projects, then watch out — the freelancing world is getting a newbie!