Freelancing 101: Is It Worth It?
It’s no secret that the next generation is here simply to kick ass and take names. We’re happy, successful, and our quality of life has never been higher. We shouldn’t be able to have it all…and yet we do.
It just doesn’t seem right, does it? All play and no work. *Smirk.*
In case you’re wondering how this is possible and you can’t crack the code, don’t fret. It’s not exactly rubix cube level difficulty (does ANYBODY know how to win at those things?!), and your trusted friends at Exhibit A are here to let you in on the secret in case you’re running a little late to the party (like, hopping around on one stiletto while trying to adjust your bra and fix your eyeliner late). It all comes down to one word: freelancing. Yes, people are abandoning the traditional work flow in search of something beyond the cutthroat or demeaning nature of office politics—and you can too. Can you say #winning?
Rewind. I was in the throes of an existential crisis at a not-so-typical 9 to 5 job when I came across an article that made me stop cold. It was called “Why 27 is the Perfect Age to Start Freelancing.” Well, sort of. Actually, my brain may be a little foggy on the exact title because I can no longer find it—but trust me on this. It was gold. While the art of freelancing is far from age-specific and the article really didn’t talk about age at all, it did make a good point. People want to be their own bosses. Set their own schedules. Have more autonomy over their own life. And (shocker!) nobody seems to be more in tune with this basic human need than the group of generations from millennials to i-gen and gen z in between.
We may not have invented the side hustle, but our inability to be phased by technology and our increasing connectedness has made it much easier to be in business for ourselves—or at least have an outlet to pursue our passions while earning the green to keep a roof over our heads. And despite the fact that the previously mentioned article is now hiding somewhere on the moors of cyber space, this little fact has not gone unnoticed by the vast majority of internet dwellers. However tempting an idea it may be, a surprising number of us are unable to hop aboard the freelance train, not because of the nature of our chosen career paths, but because of the inevitable question still lingering on our Fenty-Gloss-Bomb-frosted lips.
Is it worth it?
That answer is completely for you to decide, but here are some of the pros and cons you might want to weigh before taking the plunge.
BUILD A MORE PERSONAL NETWORK
Pro. I once heard a phrase that shook me to the very core—because it is 100 percent true. Now, Imma paraphrase this, but it went something like: “we kill ourselves working for people/places that will replace us within a week of our funeral.” It was truly an eye opener. I mean, to our bosses, we’re ALL expendable. And replaceable. I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to be treated like the human equivalent of a piece of toilet paper and set out to be my own boss in every way that matters. Along with that comes building up a network… and I’ll pass on a little secret: these are usually the relationships that matter. You end up working with only the people you like—and because the lines between our work and personal lives are blurry anyway, it is possible to make true friendships and lifelong connections while working for yourself.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
Con. We’re creatures of instant gratification. And contrary to Instagram and youtube success stories, building up a successful business does not happen overnight…even though it may seem like it thanks to the warp speed of the internet. Relax. Breathe. Everything will fall into place after you set on this path—but it will not happen the EXACT moment you decide your 9 to 5 grind is no longer for you. So please, do yourself a favor and don’t pull an Anne Hathaway walking out on Meryl Streep (and throwing away her work phone—seriously, who does that?!) in The Devil Wears Prada.
SET YOUR OWN HOURS
Pro. The possibilities are endless. If you want to stay up until 3 every night and sleep until noon every day a la Carrie Bradshaw in SATC, you can totally do that. And it’s more than just a change in schedule—it’s a shift on priorities. How we spend our time is probably the biggest reflection of who we are, and while working for ourselves and taking on only the clients we choose to gift with our services, our time is free to also do more of the things we love. Take in a movie. Do some shopping. Have a rooftop bar cocktail with friends. Hit the gym. If you can’t achieve work-life balance as a freelancer…hunny, something is wrong.
DISCIPLINE IS KEY
Con…sort of. I’ve had friends ask me how I could possibly freelance without feeling the urge to stay in bed and binge watch The Crown (congrats on the Emmy win, Claire Foy!). Trust me, the urge is there—I just don’t give in to it. Just because you can work from home as a freelancer doesn’t mean you have to, and I try to get a change of scenery whenever possible. Coffee shops, bookstore cafes, libraries, hotel lobbies can become the offices to your new enterprise, so take advantage of it! The other common misconception is that it is hard to have any sort of routine or stability while freelancing—which can be both true and false, it all depends on the individual. It all boils down to making a schedule and sticking to it—no excuses. Keep it 100 with yourself. If this is something you aren’t willing to try, you may need to rethink the freelance life.
NOTHING IS PERMANENT
Now, this may sound like a con, but it’s actually a pro in disguise. If you are still scared to dive in and call yourself a freelancer, remember that things change. If your side gigs start off slow and you’re having a hard time reeling in clients, it won’t be that way forever. If you aren’t pulling in as much money as you hoped and need to pick up a part-time job, remember—it is no more than a growing pain… a side effect of building your brand. If you’re dealing with flaky, annoying, or downright rude clients, you can always drop them.
In life, we tend to regret the things that we didn’t do, not the things we did
Cover Via Possibilities Unlimited