Today we have a guest post from Corina Manea. Corina and I are both working towards similar goals and have become friends over the last couple of months. She’s a very motivated and encouraging individual and I’m excited to share her post with y’all. Take it away Corina!
You’ve always dreamt of working from home in your pajamas, of not having a boss to report to, going to gym in the middle of the day or simply going for a walk when everyone else is working.
Sounds great, right? And while you still go to an office and have a boss, you secretly dream of the moment when you leave all that behind and start out on your own.
Moreover, you´ve read about plenty success stories of people who quit their job and went full-time freelancing and have succeeded. Why wouldn´t you?
I am a big believer in making your dreams come true, but I also believe that a dose of reality is what keeps you on the right track to achieving those dreams. Not many success stories you read online tell how much work, struggle, insecurity and self-doubt is behind all that success.
That popular blogger may look good on paper and definitely has a lot of page views, comments and so on. But don´t be fooled by the packaging. Make sure to read between the lines. Here are five important things to take into considerations before launching your new freelance career.
1. Freelancing is Not for Everybody
Yes, you read right! It´s not that you can’t do it, but you have to give up the employee mind set and switch to that of an entrepreneur.
Now, you’re in charge, there is no one else to tell you what you should do and to assign you tasks. You are that person – you are the boss!
You have to develop the discipline of waking up early, setting up a plan for the day and go do it. You are accountable to yourself, so take yourself very seriously. This is not a game.
2. Find out What You Love to Do
What would you do even if you weren´t paid for it? Well, that´s your answer. That´s the solo career you should pursue.
Now go study! Read everything you find online about your passion, join groups on LinkedIn, Facebook that talk about your passion and interact with your peers, take courses on freelancing (Gina has a very good ) and educate yourself. In other words become good at it by learning and doing.
Trial and failure is the best way to become an expert in your field. No matter how much you learn, if you don´t practice is just theory.
3. Become Disciplined
It´s so important for your success, that I´ll say it one more time: Become disciplined! Having the discipline to wake up early, plan your day and week ahead and work x number of uninterrupted hours is one of the keys to succeeding in freelancing.
Remember it´s not about the number of hours you put in, but about working when you are most productive and focused. That´s when you get the most things done. There are people that work 3-4 hours a day and get more done than others that struggle for 6-8 hours.
4. Focus, Focus, Focus!
This is the fourth step of a successful freelance career. Once you know what is it that you want to do and are determined to make it happen, you have to be very focused day in, day out. Every time you hit a wall, focus on your goal, every time someone tries to convince you it’s a waste of time, remember your goal.
You’ll find that friends and family have their own opinions about what you should or shouldn’t do. But keep in mind one thing: at the end of the day, the only person you are accountable to is YOU! You are the only one responsible for your happiness! Make your decisions accordingly.
5. Have a Backup and Contingency Plan
In everything we do in life, we should have a backup plan. The same goes for freelancing.
Unless you land a client, which pays you religiously, this is a mouse and cat game. You have to keep track of the invoices issued and payment deadlines, gently reminding your clients when they passed those deadlines. You have to have a contingency plan until you have enough clients to replace your income as an employee.
It is very important to remove the financial pressure, so you can concentrate on your work, to be creative and give your best, without worrying about the bills. The everyday issues can undermine your work and effort, so make sure you have it covered for at least a few months.
Some might tell you that you should start a freelancing career as a side hustle and, when you have enough clients, to go solo. I say that it depends. We all have different circumstances and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
It depends on the kind of job you have. I worked in a fairground managing a customer care office and we were open seven days a week with very long hours. It was not easy having a side hustle. And sometimes I asked myself why I was trying so hard. And the answer was always the same: because I love writing and it´s what I want to do, period.
If you have a 9 to 5 job with no extra hours, even if you have family, you can take Gina’s example and wake up before the kids to work on your freelance business. Or you can just quit your job, take a sabbatical month or so, and launch into freelancing.
It takes a lot of time to decide, learn, prepare, network with people you admire and want to be like when you “grow up.” There is a lot of self-doubt and insecurity to overcome, but when you find what is you can´t go a day without, everything else fades in comparison.
So if you’re thinking about freelancing, know that it’s not for everyone and you have to find something you’re really passionate about. It takes a lot of discipline, focus and it’s best to have a contingency plan. It is possible though, but be prepared to work really hard. And remember work smarter, not harder!
If you’re a current freelancer, what would you add to the list?
Corina Manea is a PR professional, freelance writer and social media strategist, currently living in Madrid, Spain. Founder of NutsPR, she writes about her passions: public relations and social media.