You’ve heard them. The myriad excuses why one has considered freelance work, but rejected it. Or, perhaps you are considering freelance work, and are trying to sort out the fact from the fiction. Or, perhaps you have decided upon freelance work and are getting the rundown from your parents, or from a well-meaning friend.
In any event, you are now no doubt left with some false impressions, and possibly with many questions. I hope to answer some of those questions here, while simultaneously offering up a realistic view of what you can expect if you are considering entering into the fray. So read up – and consider your decision well.
Freelance Work Earns Quick Cash
False: It’s hard enough for a freelance worker to get paid – even when the output is pleasing to your eye – and you honestly consider it some of your best work. That’s because the client still gets to hate it anyway. If he hates it – he won’t want to pay you. Did you know that 30% of the US population is freelancers – and of those, some 40% have trouble getting paid? You will eventually get paid rather consistently – but only after you have built a reputation and made yourself indispensable by transcending the client’s expectations. When finally paid, that cash will have been fought for – and most assuredly, well-earned.
Freelance Work Is For The Un-Educated
I beg to differ. A survey conducted by elance.com has shown that about 80 percent of freelancers surveyed by the company have a professional degree or designation of some kind, while just 4 percent have only a high-school diploma. True, there are plenty of opportunities for a talented freelance worker to generate articles and blogs, proofread, help build websites etc, for a few pennies – but REAL freelance work involves education – and experience. You won’t be coddled, trained or “ramped up” when you are hired on as a freelancer. You must come on board and commence producing. Uneducated? I think not.
Freelance workers are lazy
Now that one is just plain unfair. Freelance work is hard work – period. People choose to do this work mostly because of the freedom that it offers – but in many other ways – it is harder than any corporate job ever was. Imagine having worked for months on a job, only to have the client look at it – and decide it isn’t what he wanted. Knowing what you are doing minimizes this risk – but nothing can make it go away completely. Freelance workers understand that they face this risk. They may need to do a job five times before the client feels it is ready to spend her money on. The cost of freedom is high – very high – but apparently, it is worth it.
Freelance work is easier than corporate work.
Again, false: Freelance work most closely approximates running a business. Getting the next job is always a struggle, and producing a satisfactory result is never a given. To worsen matters, freelance workers function in a vacuum, isolated from any resources to offer them aid, or direction. If that isn’t enough, statistics show that freelancers must work longer hours to make the same income that they would have made while working in a full-time job. While statistics ALSO show that 9 out of 10 freelancers are happier after leaving their full-time work roles, the freelance role is quite the serious undertaking – and does require dedication – and hard work.
Freelance work is NOT a career.
OK, well – maybe I’ll give you that one. Freelance work is NOT a career. However, the BUSINESS of doing freelance work for a living, is certainly a career – and many, many people have chosen such a career in this country. Every day, some 10 million people rise from their sacks – and go out into the world to build their freelance businesses to the point where they are self-sustaining. The point here, is that if you WANT a career in freelance, you can HAVE a career in freelance. You’ll have to have guts and patience, but any meaningful achievement that does not include those two ingredients… Yeah. Gotcha!