Freelancing is an attractive option in terms of achieving a healthy work life balance and experiencing fulfillment in the working world. Each day, more and more companies are turning to freelancers as the pool of qualified employees continues to dwindle. It opens the door for some very attractive employment opportunities, including the chance to work from the comfort of your own home. You do not even have to get dressed if you do not feel like it.
Right now the greatest opportunities for freelancing are in marketing and information technology, although more and more freelance positions are being offered in a variety of fields. Employees report greater job satisfaction because they have greater control over their working environment, and it allows them the freedom to pursue those things they are passionate about.
Freelancing is not for everyone, though. It takes commitment and dedication to remain focused on the tasks at hand, and not get distracted by the kids, the telephone, or Dr. Phil. Those who have not completely thought it through can find the transition from employee to freelancer a difficult one. Since you are essentially running your own business when you freelance, you need to prepare yourself for picking up some of the benefits you may otherwise have had as an employee. With some preparation, though, working as a freelancer can offer a great deal of fulfillment.
1. Get Covered
If you are to begin working as an independent contractor, you will likely need to pick up your own medical coverage. Do not leave yourself or your family without coverage, because to do so could mean financial ruin in the event of an emergency.
Since medical coverage is not cheap, you must be sure to budget the costs into your operating expenses each month. There are several services available designed specifically to assist the self-employed find comprehensive medical coverage at an affordable price, so look into these before deciding upon a plan. Also, under COBRA you will have the option to continue your current medical coverage – at your own expense – for a limited amount of time. This gives you the time you need to seek out an appropriate plan for you and your family.
2. Get Disciplined
When you freelance, you must spend your working time doing just that – actually working. Treat it as though you have left the house and are at an office. In fact, some freelancers have been known to lease a small office near the home, just to provide them with the feeling of being “at work,” even though they work for themselves.
This is not necessary, though. A corner of the bedroom or living room can suffice as office space, as long as you free yourself of outside distractions.
If you have a spouse and children at home, they need to understand the importance of allowing you to work uninterrupted. The beauty of freelancing, though, is that you can choose to set your work aside for a couple of hours while you attend your child’s school play or afternoon ball game. Just don’t make a habit out of doing it too much. You need to put in your time working, or your freelance business will fail.
3. Look for Work in Your Field
Most managers look to hire freelancers who have a minimum of two to three years’ experience in their field, so when you are starting out, look for employers within your given area of expertise. This greatly enhances your chances of picking up work.
Be proactive in finding jobs, and make sure you have a professional, updated portfolio to present. You might even consider developing your own website, with examples of your work and letters of recommendation, to which you can direct potential employers. Keep in mind that many freelance opportunities will not come to you – you need to get out and look for them. Dedicate a certain amount of time each day, or each week, to efforts in marketing yourself and your services.
Freelancing can be a very rewarding experience, and provide you with just the right amount of work life balance you have been looking for. You can experience greater fulfillment in both your work and personal lives, but you must plan accordingly in order to experience success. Realize that work may come in spurts, where you are juggling multiple tasks for a while, then go through a period with no work at all. Plan ahead so you do not get caught in a bad position financially during the down times. When you are ready, jump over to running your own freelance business and see just how rewarding it can be.
Thanks to Bootstrapper for including this post in the Carnival of Business and Entrepreneurship, to Working at Home on the Internet for featuring this post in the Working at Home Blog Carnival, to Everything Finance for publishing this post in the Carnival of Everything Finance, and to VirtualGrant.com for inclusion in the Carnival of Everything Finance.