When you’re trekking into an office each and every day, freelancing can seem like a great work alternative. One of the most popular forms of flexible work, freelancing allows you to work in the field that you love, and more importantly, work when and how you want to do it. But just because freelancing sounds like an answer to a commuting employee’s prayers doesn’t mean that it’s a fit for everyone. Find out if freelancing is a good career option for you by answering (honestly) the five questions below.
Can you work independently?
No one loves a micromanaging boss, but some employees need a manager to keep them on task. One of the most important aspects of being a freelancer is being able to work almost completely independently. You decide how many (or how few) clients you’d like to have at any given time, when you start your workday, and how much work you’d like to get done. And while having that freedom—especially if you’ve had a boss breathing down your neck in the office—can be nirvana, it can also prove problematic if you’re not used to working independently.
Do you feel comfortable self-promoting?
When you’re a freelancer, it’s up to you (and only you) to find your next freelance job. It may feel like you’re perpetually on the prowl for a job, so you’ll need to determine if you have the stamina to always search for a job. Even more than that, though, you’ll need to be prepared to self-promote. As a freelancer, you’ll need to showcase your skills, previous work experience, and yes, the clients you’ve worked for in order to land freelance jobs. So you’ll need to be very comfortable talking about yourself and your accomplishments to potential clients.
Are your skills up to par?
One of the best ways to win over a potential client is to showcase your skills and industry knowledge. But if your skills are a little lackluster, you’ll need to polish them off ASAP. From attending webinars to online classes to even finding a mentor in your area of interest, it’s imperative that your skill set is as current as possible to get the gigs that you want—and get some work-life balance, too.
Do you have the tools to freelance?
Even if you haven’t launched your freelance career yet, it’s important to set the stage for a fruitful freelancing career. For example, you’ll need to have a proper home office in order to work the most efficiently. It doesn’t even have to be a separate room, but it should be a dedicated space in which to do your work. (And no, your bed doesn’t count.) In addition to having a home office, you’ll need to have a super fast Internet connection, the latest versions of the software you use for work, and the best computer your budget can buy.
Do you need to be around coworkers?
After years of being in an office, the last thing you might want is to be surrounded by coworkers. Some employees thrive from the companionship provided by colleagues—and some, well, don’t. So you’ll need to ascertain if you’re a people person who gets her best ideas by interacting directly with others, or if you’re better off working alone. Socializing is often one of the biggest factors in determining whether a freelancing career is right for you—or not.