What is it Like to Be a Freelancer?
Freelancing is often described as the path that can give you all the freedom in life you desire, but what is it like to be a freelancer for real?
I’ve been freelancing for about 3 years now and I’m still freelancing – but how was my journey? Is freelancing as positive as everyone says it is?
These are just some of the questions I’ll be answering in this post, but I’ll also tell you more about my usual working day and what things I like the most about freelancing and yet which things I like the least.
Therefore, keep on reading as this post might actually help you learn if freelancing is for you or not.
What is Freelancing?
But even before I jump into the article and start talking more about my experience and things you’ll most likely come across as a freelancer – let me explain what freelancing is.
Freelancing is when a person works for himself and takes on contracts from companies, organizations, and even individuals.
Therefore, freelance is someone who isn’t employed, yet is self-employed through contracts he/she acquires.
You can definitely see where the whole self-employment and “freedom” come from as that’s something that often describes freelancing.
But it’s true – as a freelancer, you get to set your own rates, work your own hours/shifts, and even choose who you would like to work with.
On the other hand, you are fully responsible for finding your own work, marketing yourself, and doing everything from managing clients, getting invoices paid, running your own books, fulfilling orders and even some more.
So is freelancing worth the hustle? Keep on reading to find out!
My Usual Working Day
You might have seen people who have a strict schedule set that’s aimed for “success” and all they do is end up waking early and working their ass for a whole day.
Even though it can be very attractive for people who’re looking to start working for themselves and become a bit more successful – but you have to understand that it’s not really realistic.
Of course, there are people who are having really crazy routines which might be hard to follow. But if they’re happy with it – that’s all it matters.
For me – I personally don’t like having a strict routine or strict work-time set because it makes me feel like I’m working a 9-5 job instead of working for myself.
Also, this can easily bore me.
What I do instead is I have an approximate schedule of things I want to get done in a day. I forget about the alarm clock and I don’t wake up early (one of the perks of working for yourself).
Breakfast after getting a good night’s sleep followed by a work out session and then it’s the work time. I always run a to-do list of things I have to get done today and sometimes even the next day so I know exactly what I will be working on.
As a freelancer, it’s hard to stay productive instead of being busy, so knowing exactly what I have to work on and what I have to get done for the day is really helpful.
But again, nothing is set in stone so my to-do list can change at any moment (or as needed), and I can even change my daily schedule.
I aim to get the work done first so I can have all the time in a day later for anything else I want to do. However, there are situations when things come up and I can “postpone” my work for later to take care of other things first.
But one of the things that fascinate most people is that I try to work every day. I am not overworking myself or burning myself, but I’d rather be productive for 3 to 4 hours a day rather than force myself into a work-schedule and try to work 8 hours a day.
When it comes down to actual freelancing work, I like getting the hardest tasks done first and I usually always get the writing work done first before anything else as this is something that takes the longest.
However, there are no rules and you get to do things the way you want so I bet that every freelancer out there has a different workday and a different way of doing things.
What I Like the Most About Freelancing
As you can guess from this article already – the biggest benefit of freelancing is being able to work from home. All I need is a laptop and an internet connection, and I’m good to go.
This can also be avoiding early morning traffic for some people. For me, another benefit is the ability to sleep in and not have to worry about the alarm clock.
Freelancing brings a lot of responsibility and once you get a hang of it, being able to set your own rates, work hours, and choose projects you would like to work on is a benefit.
For some freelancers, especially beginners, this can be a con.
This also allows you to earn as much as you want as you get to choose the working hours, your rates, the number of clients you can handle, and even the industry you’d like to work in.
As self-growth is really important, you’ll get to learn more as you work, improve your skills, and even specialize in a very specific skill that can be very profitable.
Working with multiple clients means that your income will be coming from at least a couple of different sources. This allows you to diversify your income and all you need is a couple of clients to get started with and your freelancing income will be a lot more stable than you can imagine.
Personally, the biggest benefit of being a freelancer for me is the ability to work on my own terms, needing very little to work, and yet having the ability to schedule my life first and then my work instead of scheduling my life around the work.
But of course, as with everything in this world – there are two sides to everything and below, I’ll explain what I like the least about freelancing.
If you like what you heard, you should still see the other side before getting the idea of what is it like to be a freelancer.
What I Like the Least About Freelancing
Getting into the “hustle culture” which is all over the internet can definitely make some freelancers lose their work-life balance.
Working on things you like can make the time pass quickly and not knowing when to stop (or taking more work than what you can handle) will often lead to working for many hours without even feeling it.
Another thing I like the least about freelancing (and I believe many other freelancers out there agree) is the need to constantly keep marketing yourself in order to find clients. Of course, I get referrals and word-of-mouth clients, but I still keep on marketing myself to find clients.
On top of the things, you also have your own expenses to take care of such as paying the taxes, paying your health insurance and retirement contributions, and keep your own books.
There’s also a huge need for self-discipline so this is probably why most freelancers give up within their first two weeks.
Even though it’s not hard work – it’s definitely time-consuming work that requires self-discipline and it’s the work where you get paid what you put into your own business.
Are There Better Ways to Make Money Online?
The main reason I got into freelancing is to start earning active income online. But I come from an affiliate marketing background which opened so many doors for me since I’ve learned a couple of important digital skills that are co-related.
I’m sure you’ve heard of passive income as well. Passive income is all about putting the work and effort first in order to get paid later through multiple channels that help keep the passive income coming.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to get started building your own online passive income business, and even though it takes a lot of time and hard work – it’s definitely worth it.
You can do it in your own free time, you get to work on something of your own, create your own online business, and have the ability to generate passive income.
Therefore, you can become a freelancer just like I did, and yet still work on your side projects that will provide better long-term results.
Freelancing work isn’t always the most fun work out there, but it’s very effective, it has a low-entry barrier, and it’s a great way to get started improving your skills.
You shouldn’t let fancy videos that are showing what it is like to be a freelancer or remote-worker make you think that there are no cons to it.
Like everything in this world, there are two sides to it and that’s the thing with freelancing as well. It might not be ideal for everyone out there – but it’s definitely a rewarding way of making a living and living a great lifestyle if you’re self-disciplined and consistent.
You can keep on reading articles that are describing how it actually feels to be a freelancer – however, I highly recommend you take action and just jump into it.
Become a freelancer, get started, and get things going. Even the smallest step counts as progress and all you have to do is put in the time and get the work done!
I even wrote an article on the most common mistakes you should avoid if you’re just getting into freelancing so that could be your next read while you start setting up your portfolio!
What attracts you to freelancing?
I’d love to hear from you so don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and ask questions, share your opinion or experience!