4 pitfalls to prepare for before taking the plunge into full-time freelancing
There are several benefits to freelancing. Better work-life balance, the ability to choose your own working hours and clients, and unlimited income potential are just a few of them. However, pursuing a career as a freelancer is no cakewalk. There will be times when you might not have any viable clients, and working by yourself day in and day out will make you feel more isolated than ever. Before you make the transition from full-time employment to freelancing, here are four pitfalls you need to be aware of:
You'll have to wear more than one hat
No matter what service you are offering to your clients, you'll find yourself devoting a substantial amount of time to business activities that you never had to look into before. For example, if you’re a writer, in addition to writing content for your clients, you’ll also have to do administrative work like billing and generating invoices. To add to it, you’ll also be responsible for marketing and advertising your own services. You’re likely to find yourself spending at least 4-5 hours every week on these non-billable activities.
You’ll have to deal with payment problems
Unlike a salaried job, you won’t get your payments on the first of every month. You’ll also need to be careful before you commit yourself to any gig. There are times when freelancers don’t do background research on their clients only to find out that a certain client delays payments, and in some cases, doesn’t pay at all. Find out up-front how much you’re going to get paid as well as the method of payment to avoid any heartbreak later.
You are not entitled to employee benefits
Independent contractors are not entitled to receive employer-provided benefits. In other words, if you choose to work as a freelancer, you won’t receive benefits such as vacation pay and health insurance. Also, there is no such thing as sick leave, so you either work even when you’re unwell or miss out on an entire day’s work. If you want to switch to being a full-time freelancer, you need to be willing to let go of such perks.
You are responsible for finding your own clients
When you work a full-time job, you clock in, complete your day’s task list, and clock out. However, as a freelancer, you’re responsible for finding your own work. You have to do the legwork to land new clients. When you establish yourself as a freelancer, you might receive a mail from a prospective client who has heard of you or seen your work. However, for the most part, you’re on your own. You need to amass enough work month after month to pay the bills or you’ll be out of business before you know it.
If you believe freelancing is the right career path for you, you need to be willing to face these challenges head-on. Engage in some self-analysis before you take the plunge.