According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), global unemployment is estimated to hit 212 million by 2019. World economies are dealing with high inflation rates, save for a few that are recording positive economic growth. While the lack of jobs has pushed many professionals into looking for alternative income sources, underemployment still remains high across the globe, and therefore, the number of people turning to self-employment is going up. It is estimated that approximately 53 million Americans are freelancing, translating to 34% of the entire country’s workforce. This figure is set to grow as most people try freelancing to help with their bills.
Despite the number of freelancers from all over the world, there are very few success stories. Some people have quit their jobs to become freelancers, but very few have managed to survive off freelancing. There are many reasons why this is the case, and here are three deadly misconceptions about freelancing that new freelancers must know.
You will enjoy a lot of freedom.
If the reason you want to become a freelancer is because you expect to have the freedom and free time to do whatever your heart desires, you are in for a shock. It is true, there is some freedom. You don’t have to wake up every morning and prepare for work, no traffic jams to worry about, and you don't have to put up with an annoying boss all week. You have to get real though – your income as a freelancer is entirely dependent on the input. Simply put: if you don’t work, you don’t earn. At work, you can call in sick and relax at home and still earn a monthly salary. With freelance, you can choose to “fake” sickness daily or choose to watch your favorite television program, but in the end, you won’t make a penny. If you spend hours on social media, chatting with your friends and making more friends, no one will reprimand you, but you won't be making much money during that time.
Less Work, More Money
This is very misleading. Yes, there are some jobs whose salaries and wages are pathetic. If you earn minimum wage, you definitely hate the idea of going to work every day. However, by the end of the day, you will clock eight hours or so and still earn your money. For freelancers, you have to compete with a battalion of other more experienced and seasoned experts to win projects. You really have to be the best to make it. The more projects you work on, the more money you get. It is true, there are some projects that can only take an hour, with returns that can even amount to a week’s wages doing regular stuff, but that is rare.
Success is guaranteed; I am my own boss anyway!
Your success as a freelancer is not guaranteed. You cannot harvest what you never sowed. To succeed as a freelancer, you have to work harder, attract premium clients, and be your own servant first before you even think about being a boss. Some very successful freelancers work for up to 18 hours daily to meet their clients’ requirements. This is a business, and you cannot run a successful business if you are lazy. It will take time, effort and professional ethics to attract clients, so work hard for your success. You can still be a boss if you work hard, attract more clients and hire other freelancers to do the work at a fraction of the cost. But you're going to have to invest more time and expertise to get to this level.
There you have it. Don’t be swayed by the above misconceptions and avoid the inevitable regret when you realize that freelancing is not a bed of roses. However, success is definitely possible for those who put their right foot forward, practice personal discipline, put their clients first, and deliver excellent output. If clients find value for their money in your work, you will succeed as a freelancer.