I've been a freelancer for more than 3 years now. I can't say that life is perfect because I've certainly experienced several ups and downs. I've lost clients and I've gained new ones. But here I am - still standing. I must admit though that there are things that I wish somebody had told me before I got into the freelancing world. Here are these 10 things.
#1 The possibilities are endless. Trust me, there are gazillions of online platforms that you can work on. The most common are Upwork and Freelancer. There's also OnlineJobs.ph, Fiverr, People Per Hour, My Outdesk, Rev and Rarejob. You can write articles and blogposts, manage social media accounts, create graphic designs, manage websites, be a customer service representative and even manage people remotely. It's exciting.
#2 It is hard work. Getting your first contract is the hardest. I work in the Upwork platform and since my account doesn't have any feedback from any clients at all, I didn't get a lot of responses at first from my applications. It took me a month to get my first client and guess how much I earned in a month - a measly $30.
#3 The competition is fierce. If you are applying for a job in Bacolod, you are competing with other applicants in Bacolod. But because this is an online marketplace, you are competing with millions of other freelancers all over the world. Can you imagine your chance of getting hired now? You have to learn how to stand out.
#4 There is always uncertainty. Sure you land the project of your dreams but you have to remember that your employer can always terminate your contract without prior notice. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. You may not feel secured all the time which is actually good because we should never feel comfortable or complacent. You have to bring your A-game all the time.
#5 Connections are almost non-existent. This is unlike any other regular jobs where you get the first interview or you get hired right away when you know someone from the company. Even if you know someone working for that client, it will never guarantee a chance at an interview at all. The hiring manager always has the control. I say almost because there are clients who'd actually ask for referrals but this hardly happen - at least to me.
#6 You will doubt yourself at some point. You will go through all the job openings and even if you have more than a decade of experience in your field, you will find yourself asking if you are really able to complete all those tasks. You just need to constantly remind yourself that you can and claim it.
#7 You will strive to improve yourself. Because of the need to stand out and get clients, you have to keep yourself updated with what's new or what the trends are. Some even took online classes in order to improve their skills and increase their market value.
#8 You will hate wasting your time mainly because you know what your hourly rate is and you are aware of how much money you lose by doing something extremely unproductive.
#9 You can work anywhere (as long as there is stable internet connection).
#10 You will be in control. This is the part that I love best. I am in control of the number of contracts I get, the amount of money I earn and the number of hours I want to work each day or week. This gives me time to take my kids to school, catch up with my friends over coffee, go on a movie date with my daughter or go to yoga class. I started to have a real life.