Here are three reasons why it may be time to step outside of your comfort zone and give freelancing a try.
How many times have you thought about freelancing, but never pursued it? Perhaps you want a side gig, or you’ve been curious about quitting the corporate world all together to start your own thing…but fear is holding you back from making the switch. You’re not alone.
As a career coach to millennials, I’ve witnessed time and time again how nerve-racking it can be for my clients to quit what feels like a “safe” job and move into freelance work. But you know what? Once they take the plunge, they rarely look back. While it isn’t for everyone, freelancing can be the perfect career move for some professionals, and I love suggesting it as an alternative to pursuing another full-time gig.
Freelancing is becoming more and more commonplace and feasible across a variety of industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 53 million Americans earn income freelancing, which is approximately one in three employees. While it takes dedication and can be a major lifestyle adjustment, there are a ton of perks associated with being a freelancer, the flexibility being a big one. Like anything, freelancing has its downsides too (like paying for your own health insurance), so be sure to weigh everything carefully before diving in.
1. Technology has made it easy.When was the last time you tried to find a seat at a popular coffee shop on a Monday morning? Chances are, you encountered a lot of people behind their laptops, enjoying free wifi along with their pick-me-up. Technology has made it super feasible for freelancers to work remotely, anywhere from a local cafe to a beach in Bali. You no longer need a home office or fancy setup — just wifi. Depending on your profession, most work can be done easily on mobile devices.
If you’d like more structure or worry about getting lonely, you can rent an office or hot desk at one of thousands of co-working spaces worldwide. This is also a great way to network and meet others with a similar lifestyle. You may even earn some new business along the way.
2. It’s a growing industry, and the work is there. Demand is up, and the number of freelancers is on the rise. A study conducted by Intuit predicts that by 2020, “independent workers” will comprise 40% of the total workforce, including freelancers, contractors and temps. While many jobs work well freelance, there are some that are more popular than others. According to Upwork (a popular freelancing site you should check out), some of the fastest growing freelance skills are: bitcoin, Amazon DynamoDB, media buying, and video editing. These are just a few skills in a world full of possibilities. It isn’t too late to join in!
3. You get to be your own boss. Do you love yourself? Good. Think of yourself as a business of one. Gone are the days when you have to report into someone else, or worse, work for someone you don’t like. You are in charge of your time, your clients, your schedule. All of it. While this may come as a challenge for some, it’s actually quite wonderful. You get decide which clients you’ll accept into your virtual space and when you’re on and off the clock. Want to take a yoga class at 10am and then log back in from your local cafe, kombucha in hand? Dying for a three week jaunt in Paris? Go for it. You make the rules in the freelancing world.
Still not convinced? Try freelancing on the side, without quitting your current gig, to see how you like it. It requires discipline and hustle, but if the idea appeals to you, I say go for it. The worst thing that can happen is that you go back to working how you did before. If you aren’t taking action purely out of fear, it’s time to shift your mindset, brush up your LinkedIn profile, and test the waters.
Freelancing is easier to do than ever before. Now is the perfect time to test out being your own boss.
Contributor Ashley Stahl