3 Questions to Answer Before Becoming a Freelancer

(STL.News) If the last couple of years has proven anything, it’s that there are countless different ways to earn a living outside of the standard 9-to-5 office experience.  Increasingly, the rise of the internet and cloud-based technology has led to a wider number of people exploring ideas like owning their own business, joining the freelancer revolution, or becoming a sole trader.  If freelancing seems like the perfect way to bring more freedom and control into your career, then you might be wondering whether it’s time to hand in your notice for your traditional job.  However, before you dive head-first into the wonders of freelancing, it’s worth asking some crucial questions.

What Attracts You Most to the Freelancing Lifestyle?

The first step in making sure you’re not making a phenomenal mistake by becoming a freelancer is ensuring you’re taking this step for the right reasons.  Many would-be freelancers get into this new career path believing it will allow them to work as little as they like and cut down on their hours.  However, the freelancing doesn’t always come with the fantastic work/life balance you’d think.  Particularly when you’re just getting started, there’s a good chance you’re going to need to work even more hours than you would in a traditional job because you’ll need to do your daily tasks, and then work on building your portfolio, dealing with your accounts and administration, and attracting new customers.  On the other hand, if you just want to avoid your daily commute and do something you love, you may find the extra work of freelancing is well worth the benefits.

Can You Afford to Make the Switch?

Most traditional job changes don’t come with a significant initial investment.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for freelancers.  When you switch to a freelancing lifestyle, you’ll need to be prepared to spend some money on critical essentials, like a new computer for your office or any of the materials you might need to deliver your products or services.  One option could be to take out a small business loan, so you can pay back the costs of launching your own company gradually and minimize the amount of financial stress associated with initially getting your brand set up.  It’s also worth making sure you have enough cash to keep your household running when you’re just getting started, as you may not earn a full wage from day one.

Are You Emotionally Prepared?

Freelancing isn’t just an opportunity to do more of the work you love on your own schedule.  It’s a lot of work, and it can be a very stressful experience.  You need to commit to continuously looking for work and making sure you can continue to afford to pay your bills each month.  Without a predictable income to look forward to, you might find the need to cut expenses to save money each month.  You may also find yourself getting overwhelmed or frightened from time to time, particularly if your bills are piling up.  Make sure you can handle the stress and that you have the right people around you to manage when things aren’t going according to plan.  Life as a freelancer or sole trader can be great, but it has its emotional challenges.