What you need to know before freelancing

Freelancers seem like they’ve got it all. They work in the industry they want, they work from where they want and they have complete control over how much they make a month.

It seems like the ultimate position – especially for millennials who don’t want to be confined to an office. Yes, there are perks, and it may be just what you need to make some extra cash. But behind those 55 million people hustling from co-working spaces and coffee shops are individuals busting their asses to score new clients, get paid fairly and make ends meet.

Here are a few reality checks before you quit your day job:

You establish the structure

When you’re a freelancer, you must be a self-starter. You are putting your professional success in your own hands, so you need to be able to get yourself up and working. But, it doesn’t end there. When you work at home, or for yourself in general, it’s hard to separate your personal life. Establishing your work hours and creating boundaries requires self restraint, so create a structure and stick with it.

You need to get certified

If you don’t already have quantifiable experience, you’ll want to consider getting some certifications under your belt. Google Adwords is free and great for wannabe marketers, so are any of Hubspot’s free certification. If you’re a photographer or designer, Adobe has certifications programs, and being considered a Photoshop expert can do you wonders.

Be your own cheerleader

I hope you’re not opposed to selling yourself. Oh, no worries – this is all legal. You may go into freelance wanting to be a writer or a virtual assistant, but you’ll quickly learn the importance of being a marketer, a salesperson. But it’s all in an effort to get your name out there. You will need to pitch yourself on a regular basis and convince business owners that you can better their company with your skills. Cold emailing is one of the best ways to do this, even if it feels a little sleazy at times.

Jorden Roper’s free course for writers tells you – no matter your industry – how it is when it comes to marketing your services with zero shame.

People are cheap

I’m sorry to say that freelancing doesn’t bring in the big bucks – at first, at least. People advertising jobs in content mills like Upwork and Fiverr are looking for cheap labor. Now, these sites are useful if you want quick cash, but they’re more than likely not going to lead to quality content. Eventually, you’ll want to branch out, build your own brand and become a more independent freelancer. There are people who respect your trade, and you need to stand up for your business and maintain quality. So, do your research, justify your prices and stay confident.

It takes time

That’s it. It takes time. It takes time to establish your rhythm. It takes time to find quality clients. It takes time to make freelancing a viable living. But, if it’s something that you really want, you will continue to work hard until it pays off. Then, you don’t settle and keep looking for the next venture.

Featured image by Emily Creighton