Just as the freelance industry is exploding with undiscovered, talented (and some not so talented) people, the myths that come with it are thriving as well. It’s funny how I even get to hear opposite views about this profession. While Nancy believes freelancers make tons of money in no time, Drew says that they are barely able to pay their bills and taxes. Jennifer claims that you have all the time on your hands, but then Ross said that the work and stress never ends. Who to believe?
Well, as an experienced freelancer, I believe I have the ability to put those myths to rest once and for all. First, imagine yourself on a stranded island with zero people. Will you die and become a tasty meatloaf for the animals in the jungle? Or, will you have that Robinson Crusoe survival instinct that will allow you to go through every thick and thin to make your way to your destination?
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You’ll Make Tons Of Money — Fast
True! You may be able to make tons of money fast in any job, but usually that’s not-so-legal (Hush!) work. Freelance won’t give you the big bucks immediately. You have to invest in a lot of your time and effort before that can be happened. Like any other profession you have to build a portfolio.
That means you’ll need plenty of experience, immense skill-set, and some negotiation skills to deal with clients before you start making the big bucks. There is no easy way to go up the ladder. How long it takes you to climb, is entirely up to your determination and the amount of effort and time you invest.
You Get To Be Your Own Boss
While it’s not advisable to have an “employee” mindset when you’re a freelancer, there will definitely be someone you will be working for (and in fact be their employee). The client, who is paying you, will get to make certain choices of his own that you’ll have to adhere to if you’re in the game. Freelancing is a two-way relationship. In order to get the reviews and feedback you want, you’ll have to
listen to care for — your clients.
That doesn’t have to mean you are their boss or that they are yours. It just means that there will always be someone you are working with whose requests will have to be taken care of.
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However, in the beginning I mentioned that having that “employee” mindset is not advisable. The old-fashioned autocratic style where one says “You do this!” and the other says “Ok, boss”, is the wrong approach. Think creatively and innovatively, and give yourself the freedom to present your own ideas whenever you can. Also, make sure you set limits to how much someone can ask from you. Maybe, the compensation they offer doesn’t worth your time and effort.
I Am An Introvert And I Only Get To Embrace My Loneliness
Agreed, this is a field that attracts most introverts and they love it! However, just like any other job, you have to attain a certain amount of work-social life balance to climb up the ladder. I don’t mean hanging out with your family or your significant-other (unless of course they know a lot of useful people). I mean, you have to network a little to open more windows of opportunities.
Whether you are connecting with prospective clients or just hanging out with someone having experience and expertise, being out there in the world is necessary for any kind of profession.
They’ll Be Paying You Pennies For The Work You Do
This contradicts with the first myth. Neither the first and nor this myth is true. Again, this is something that depends on your own intellect and negotiation skills.
Now, go back to the island and try to imagine where you’ll find food. The coconut tree will be a great option and an easy one. You can just keep batting the branches and a few will drop. It will certainly be a good start, but what about later on when you get bored and it eventually fails to quench your hunger for other nutrients? You’ll need to go hunting for a meatier prize that lasts longer. Sure, it will take some time to develop the hunting skills before you go bustling through the leaves for that animal. But when you’re finally ready, you can strike the bow without worrying about being eaten first.
The initial $ 2.5 is good to build a profile. However, in time when you have built your own value and reputation, you’ll be able to get clients that are willing to pay you more for what you do with bigger projects and more time before they finish.
It Is A Stress-Free Job, Unlike Others
Oh no, this one definitely isn’t true. Just because you have some flexibility doesn’t mean you’ll live a stress-free life. In fact, freelancing involves many other stressors that other job’s don’t have. For example, although you get to choose the job you want to do and get hired or fired without a worry about finding more projects, fishing through tons of JDs and applying is stressful on its own.
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Or, the fact that you have flexible timings doesn’t help to reduce the stress when you have to submit a design project without an excuse about “not being at the office”. The communication gap between a client on the other side of the world can be a cause of stress too, at times, which other 9-5-ers don’t have to deal with.
Freelancing Is For Those Who Can’t Find A Job
Not true! Many freelancers are in for the gig by choice. Some of them have a passion to “write” unlike the traditional journalism style and just want to put that passion to action. Work-life balance is another major reason why freelancers jump into this field. Moreover, there are some really successful people in the field who possess a horde of talent and manage their freelance projects or consultancies along with a 9-5 job.
So, next time you hear a Nancy, or Drew, or Jennifer, or Ross talk about freelance, be forewarned! They don’t know what they are talking about. It’s not until you become a freelancer yourself that you can make judgments and give advice on it. What you use and how you use it, to make the best of what’s on that island, is entirely up to you!