Is Freelancing Worth It?
Freelancing isn’t just for writers anymore. The Freelancers Union reports that 42 million Americans are independent workers, and there are opportunities across a wide array of industries that utilize many different skill sets.
Even if you already have a job, freelancing just a few hours a week can be a great way to earn some extra money. Of course, there are many full-time freelancers that combine the benefits of self-employment with doing the work they enjoy most.
Here’s what to consider to decide if freelancing is worth it for you.
There are many reasons to take on freelance work. By freelancing, you can:
Earn money part-time. Many freelancers work part-time around their day jobs. This can be a great way to make some extra cash without taking on another job.
Work on projects you enjoy. Freelancers get to choose which projects they take on. This means they can work on what they enjoy most and concentrate on using their skills most effectively.
Keep a flexible schedule. Most freelancers can work any schedule they like, as long as they get their work done on time. Some may also choose to take on less work during the summer months when they can relax and travel without being restricted by vacation time with a job.
Potential to earn a higher rate. With freelancing, you may be paid by the hour but many of the projects available pay a flat fee. You can earn a high hourly rate if you’re skilled at your work and can complete projects efficiently. Freelancers can also raise their rates as they choose as long as clients are willing to pay.
While freelancing can be great, not everything about it is easy and lucrative. There are several things that make it difficult, such as:
You must find your own work. It’s your job to find clients that will pay you for your services. This means that you’ll need to consistently spend time marketing yourself, so don’t expect to spend 100% of your time on your craft. You’ll also have some competition in the work you apply for or bid on, including from lower-priced overseas competition in some fields.
You pay for your own benefits. As a freelancer, you’ll be responsible for covering your own health insurance and replacing other job perks that employers usually offer. Because of this, you’ll likely need to earn more to compensate for the difference.
You must be motivated. Like anyone that’s self-employed, you can’t be lazy. While you may be able to just show up to a job every day and get paid no matter what, freelancers are only paid once the work is done. You’ll need to be motivated to complete your work on time and to the satisfaction of your client.
Giving Freelancing a Try
There are really no barriers to becoming a freelancer, so it can be worth it to try it out on the side of your job. You simply need to find clients that will pay your for a service that you can provide for them. This can be for writing, design work, photography, marketing, or just about any other service businesses need. Look around for freelancing ideas as there’s something for just about everyone.
The level of skill required to be a freelancer certainly varies, but you don’t always have to be an expert. Ideally your desired work is related to work you’ve done in the past so that you already have relevant experience and references, too.
What it Pays
Freelancing is only worth your time if you’re paid well enough to do it. Just because you’re working part-time on the side of your job doesn’t mean you should be paid minimum wage. Don’t simply trade your time for just any pay. Make sure you’re getting compensated so you feel it’s worth the time you put into it.
Setting an hourly rate may take some testing, but you can get an idea of what others are paid for your services by searching the web. Some freelancers earn well over $100 per hour, so turning it into a six-figure career isn’t impossible. Lifehacker has a guide to help figure out how to price your freelance services.
The best way to see if freelancing is right for you is to try it out part-time first. Even if you already have a full-time job, you can work 5-10 hours a week on the side. See how you feel about working around a job and whether or not the extra money is worth it to you.
You can find freelance jobs by checking out Craigslist or job boards or the many others listed in this blog post. Do you best to sift out the low-paying jobs, as some of the projects listed on these sites are not worth your time.
Taking it Full-Time
While some are content working on the side of their job, there are many full-time freelancers out there that do this instead of a job. For the reasons provided above, this can be a great option if you’ve found freelancing makes sense in your life.
If possible, it’s great to have work lined up and savings in the bank before quitting a job. Knowing that you’ll have money coming in immediately is a huge advantage and will make your transition to freelancing full-time less stressful. There may be times where work is slow, so you need to have an emergency fund in place just in case. Running out of savings may mean going back to a full-time job.
Freelancing can open up many wonderful and new opportunities. Whether you’re just looking to earn some extra money or you want to take your career in a new direction, freelancing can be a rewarding option for doing what you love and earning a great living.