Freelancing seems like a sweet career path. No bosses, no deadlines, and total freedom to work anytime and anywhere.
But unfortunately, freelancing is not an easy career choice. It revolves around portfolio building, unexpected work hours, financial instability, and constant hustle to find new freelance leads.
Freelancing is not a sprint race. It is a marathon. It requires patience, dedication, and passion for becoming a successful freelancer.
However, the freelance industry is booming today. It is projected to reach $6.7 billion by the end of 2025. In addition, an Upwork report stated that 44% of freelancers make more than their traditional jobs.
So, freelancing is good, no scratch; it is an excellent career choice today. But the question is — is freelancing a good career choice for you?
Freelancing is not everyone’s cup of tea. Not everyone can enjoy the ups and downs of their freelancing journey. However, many people still prefer job stability over flexibility or independence.
In addition, some people are simply bad at time management. They need a set routine to thrive.
So, before choosing a freelance career path, first, determine whether you are fit for it or not. And this guide will help you with it.
Here is the checklist to see whether you are fit to be a freelancer or not.
Checklist: Can You Become a Successful Freelancer?
According to a CNBC report, a freelancer can earn up to $90,000 annually. It is a perfect amount to lead a comfortable life today.
However, only a few freelancers are making a reasonable sum. And if you want to become a successful freelancer, ensure you must have all qualities mentioned in this checklist.
1. Do you have a saint’s patience?
Patience is a virtue. But for freelancers, patience is the key to success. Unfortunately, there is no overnight success in the freelance world.
You must work on building your portfolio and network alongside polishing your skills before approaching a client. In the beginning, you won’t even get good-paying clients. You have to work your way to the elite clients.
And all that takes time. It takes time to find potential clients, build a social presence and improve your skills.
But, most freelancers quit their journey within 3-6 months. They lose patience after receiving endless rejections, and ever-increasing numbers of bills do nothing to settle their nerves.
Therefore, I recommend never jumping into a freelance pool without testing the waters. You can first start working as a part-time freelancer. Focus on building your portfolio and work on some small gigs.
This will give you an idea of whether you can handle all the pressure of freelancing. Meanwhile, you can build a significant client base so that you don’t have to struggle with finances when you quit your stable job.
2. Can you think like an entrepreneur?
Freelancing is not a job. It is a business that you run to promote your skills or craft and generate revenue.
Thus, you must behave and think like a businessman to grow your career. You have to learn when to take calculated risks and make high ROI investments.
Besides this, you have to establish your brand as a freelancer. You don’t need to get a website or register yourself as a company in the beginning. Just creating a simple logo and posting content on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Instagram is sufficient.
In addition, you need to invest in freelancing tools to improve your skills and promote your brand. For example, I invested in Grammarly premium to improve my proofreading skills and writing speed. And that investment has been a proven milestone in my career growth.
3. Can you manage your time?
As already mentioned, freelancers have to manage several things at once. Thus, good time management skills are essential for delivering work on time.
It might sound easy. But when you have a toddler, pet, or noisy roommate, managing your schedule is not a huge task.
It requires solid willpower to focus on your work when your friends invite you for a weekend getaway trip.
Here are a few tips that can help you manage your time:
- Organize your workplace
- Put away all the distractions
- Create a daily to-do list
- Prioritize tasks
- Focus on one task at a time
- Use time-tracking tools to understand how you have spent your time, etc.
4. Are you self-driven?
Freelancers don’t have bosses to motivate them to meet deadlines. Instead, they have to drive themselves to achieve their targets.
So, you must ensure that you can achieve your goals without help.
This is only possible if you adopt discipline and assertiveness in your life.
Suppose you have a deadline on Monday. In that case, you must show assertiveness and work on the weekend to accomplish your goals. No matter how much you want to enjoy your weekend.
You must push yourself because no one else will do that for you.
5. Can you work alone?
Freelancing is freedom. But, it is also a lonely business. Most freelancers only have virtual connections with other people.
This can cause mental health issues for many people. For example, according to a report, 80% of adults who live alone feel depressed. So, working alone can cause depression in many people.
Besides this, you need social interactions to churn your creative juices if you are a creative person.
The solution to this problem is simple. But first, you need to ensure that you don’t socially cut off while working as a freelancer.
You need to stay connected with your friends and family. So make time to unwind yourself, like playing online games or going out with your friends. You can also take on-site jobs to stay connected with the professional crowd.
6. Can you wear multiple hats?
Freelancers are superheroes. They step into multiple roles daily.
For example, freelancers have to send invoices, payment reminders, manage taxes, and more. They also have to communicate with clients. Provide consulting services to new and potential clients.
Apart from your main freelancing services, you must do all the work to run your day-to-day operations independently.
You can indeed hire professionals to help with specific tasks like invoicing. But, it will only increase your expenditures. So, if you don’t have a sustainable freelance income yet, it is a good idea to do everything on your own.
To manage different operations, you need to manage your schedule. You must dedicate a couple of hours to operations like replying to emails or interacting with clients.
All of this comes down to your time management skills. The better you can manage your work and other operations, the more successful freelancer you can become.
7. Can you upskill constantly?
The freelancing world is fast and furious. You need to update your skills and knowledge on the go to thrive in this world.
You cannot survive for too long with your old skills. You need to learn new skills and stay informed about your industry’s recent happenings.
Suppose you are a freelance copywriter. In that case, you need to join newsletters from top copywriting websites to know what’s going on in the writing industry.
You also need to interact with other copywriters on social media channels. Moreover, join discussion forums and connect with industry experts.
After understanding new developments in your industry, you must upgrade your skills. But first, self-evaluate your performance and see where you are lacking.
Let’s say you are a ghostwriter. This might offer you a sustainable income, but it is not taking your career ahead.
So, you can learn how to publish a blog post on WordPress and start building your brand. It is a first step towards building your name as a freelance writer.
8. Are you a confident person?
Your confidence will get a hit every day working as a freelancer. You will meet many bad clients who crush your confidence with crude words.
There might come days when you will question your ability. For example, when a client rejects your proposal or doesn’t find your work satisfactory.
Those days, your confidence can keep you floating. Your confidence in your ability can help you move forward and prevent negativities. Moreover, self-confidence can help you charge the right amount for your services.
9. Are you a good communicator?
Freelancers might work alone. But, they have to communicate with clients to discuss work and receive feedback.
Now everything cannot be discussed over email. Instead, you might have to take phone or even video calls with clients.
For an introverted person, communication with a stranger is hard. But your self-confidence can help you here. First, you must come out of your shell and confidently communicate with your clients.
So, Are You a Freelancer Material?
This checklist must have opened your eyes. You can now see what it takes to become a successful freelancer.
You must have noticed that freelancing is not a career. It is a lifestyle. You have to develop a self-driven attitude to lead this life. You need to befriend uncertainties and thrive on challenges.
So, now take a deep breath and ask yourself – are you ready to become a freelancer?