The word freelancing has been gaining a lot of popularity and attraction in recent times. With many young people taking the wheel in their career and starting their own business, we find plenty of retired seniors as well exploring this mystic world of freelancing. But do people actually know what freelancing is?
The job description itself is extremely malleable, a freelancer’s form changes depending on which industry he enters. However, I can tell you what freelancing is definitely not. There are unsurprisingly many misconceptions about being a freelancer. The three most common ones are that: 1. You get to work all day in your pyjamas, 2. Working from home is the dream 3. It fuels your bank account exponentially.
You get to work all day in your pyjamas
The main thing about freelancing is that you are your own boss and so you call all the shots. Sounds good right? Well, not entirely. Because you are essentially on your own boss, there is no one to point you in the right direction. While this does give you a lot of freedom to pick and choose the projects you want, too much freedom might cause you to be lazy. Staying in your pyjamas the entire day working from your bed might cause you to be a less productive and affect the quality of work you produce for your clients. This lack of discipline could be detrimental for you and cause you to lose clients and ruin your own reputation as freelancer. A way to counter this is to get yourself out there to co-working spaces and surround yourself with like-minded and driven people. You will not only be able to network with these people but the community would provide you with a strong support system and push you to continuously do more. So you need to get out of your pyjamas, put on something nice and find inspiration outside.
Working from home is the best.
No transport cost, stay in bed all day, no colleagues bugging me? What’s so bad about that? Working from home can be extremely lonesome. While it might seem appealing in the beginning but your colleagues are the ones you share your work experience with and rely on for help you need regarding work. Once you’re locked up at home alone, you might feel the unbearable silence and loneliness of working. This also links to the previous point of being discipline and motivating yourself to get up and do your work.
Working from home doesn’t always mean you get to set your own schedule. You are no independent from the support and resources your company gives you, so you will need to work doubly hard for just one project. And most times this means working late into the night and on the weekends as well. How much you work a month is how much you earn. Obviously no more 9 to 5 office hours, but be prepared to work overtime almost every day just to meet your targets.
You’ll have profits coming in non-stop
One main thing about working as a freelancer is that you won’t have a fixed salary each month. How much you work everyday is how much returns you’re going to make and some times the returns to those hours are not what you’d expect. You’re entirely on your own now so there will no longer be an employer providing you with medical insurance, and CPF contribution. For Singaporeans, you’ll now need to feed your CPF accounts yourself, that is if you want to. Every month you’ll see your salary fluctuate. So don’t be surprised if you’re making half of what you did last month.
Now this article is not to scare you into leaving your freelancing dream. If you have the passion, the drive and the resources to dive into your own freelancing business, then why not? Just remember to be disciplined and hardworking for the first few years to ensure your freelance business is steady on its feet. Build a community around your business so that you can easily attain resources from the people around you. Companies like ThunderQuote and IOTalents are the exact people you should look to for resources and community support when you’re building your business. Once your freelance business is making substantial amount of money, who knows you can even start laying the foundations of your own company.
This article is adapted from a presentation by IOTalents at the NTUC Freelancing Workshop held 18/2/17.
ThunderQuote is the most comprehensive business services portal in Singapore, Australia and ASEAN , where hundreds of thousands of dollars of procurement contracts are sourced every month by major companies like Singapore Press Holdings, National Trade Union Congress and more.