Guest post by Laura Ospina
How to Make Freelancing Work for You
Though many think of freelancing as a full-time gig, there are a variety of options available, from spot job work to full time, that often can seem daunting to define. Here is a helpful framework to decide which freelance category you fall into.
Initial Steps to Take
If you’ve considered quitting your current job to dive into freelancing full time, then there are several steps to consider:
- Define your goal.
- Consider how your current job will help you reach your goal.
- Make a plan.
It’s no help to anyone if you end up dragging aimlessly through clients and projects. Without clear goals and a set purpose, you’ll find yourself burnt out and frustrated.
Without a clear plan, you’ll be tempted to take any job that comes your way. This is a short term plan that may pay the bills, but leaves you without a dream to drive you onward when the going gets tough.
Take advantage of opportunity to carve your own path and accomplish your dreams—not just land another paycheck.
How to know if the 9-5 just won’t cut it anymore
Everyone runs into this at some point in their career, some earlier than others. It’s the “should I stay or should I go” of the professional world. To prepare yourself, you’ll want to write down a detailed list of accomplishments, work locations, hours, and pay that would create an ideal workday in order to fully answer that question. This exercise not only tells you if your 9-5 really is the best place for you, but also sheds some light on where your heart really is and helps tailor a solution specific to your goals.
Again, the lines muddy in the world of freelance—though many think you have to go full time to make it work, nothing could be further from the truth. There are really three categories you can fall into, and understanding these is crucial to maximizing the value freelancing can add to your career objectives.
Which one are you?
Profile one: I’ll take a side of that, please.
If you are in the creative industry, then you are most likely familiar with this freelancing type. They enjoy their day job, but an extra serving of projects help round out a craving for additional creative stimulation or provides additional income. With the safety net of a full time job, the “Side Freelancer” ranges from those solely working on passion projects to those toeing the waters of a career on their own.
- A PR Manager by day with a passion for writing and health has a wellness lifestyle blog that gives her a chance to practice her writing, also provides side income via ads and promotions.
- A new Art Director of a non-profit takes on additional project management jobs in areas he is unfamiliar with to supplement his income and round out his skills.
- A Junior Designer of an up and coming start-up has a love for pottery and uses his design skills and knack for pottery to create unique art pieces promoted through an Instagram brand for a sporadic flow of cash.
The “Side Freelancer” has the opportunity to try and fail quickly with limited risk. If you’re not quite sure you have what it takes or you’re just looking to try something new, this style of supplemental freelancing might be the way to go.
Profile two: The Go-Getter
This type jumped over initial hurdles and plunged into the depths of the freelance world. They know the value of long work days, paid or not, getting their name out there, and networking. To avoid simply spinning their wheels, they must possess a specific vision and definition of what they want and what they love.
Running a small business for your livelihood starkly contrasts dabbling in passion projects—you must possess a passion for the skilled work you do, otherwise the administrative tasks will seem overwhelming. This type isn’t for the faint of heart, but it reaps great benefits.
But, again, only consider this option if it advances your long-term goals and career objectives.
Profile three: The Innovator
This type is excited by the idea of something new. They may experiment with design then switch fields to video, but personal development underlies this type’s motivation. The process of trying something new is as important as the product itself.
This type of freelancer could be a subcategory of the other types, but this type’s goal is more about learning from the experience than creating a niche—unless they find success!
Make Freelancing Work for You
Adding extra work onto your already-busy schedule or switching gears altogether can be truly daunting. Deciding ahead of time whether or not your freelance venture will add value to your long-term goals cuts down on a lot of added anxiety. A full-time position and freelance work are not exclusive. Doing both is totally attainable if desired! Planning will help you get there, and understanding it’s a journey that doesn’t happen overnight.
Where are you at on this process? Let us know in the comments section and share your stories with our community!
Laura is a graphic designer who specializes in B2B content marketing and is the owner of DO | Creative Content Marketing based out of Atlanta, GA. She is a driven creative who uses strategy, critical thinking skills, and her passion for communication and good, simple design to create promotional campaigns geared towards strategic growth for Marketing and Sales goals.