Freelancing has become one of the most common career paths with freelancers making up nearly 50% of the workforce. Freelancing is an incredible option for anyone looking for flexibility and the option to work on different projects with multiple clients, but it is not for everyone. Before you jump ship, it's important to understand what you're getting yourself into with a career as a freelancer. More money, freedom, and growth potential are just some perks associated with life as a freelancer. However, not everything that glitters is gold so let's crack the 4 myths about freelancing right now.
Myth 1: Business comes to you
According to our resident freelancer, Natasha Lopoukhine, a common misconception is "You hang up your shingle, and business just rolls in," which is far from the truth. Like any other job, as a freelancer you have to work hard to climb the ranks and incorporate new business into your clientele base. Freelancing may be even more challenging than a permanent position since freelancers are the only ones in control of "marketing themselves and prospecting" says Natasha. As a freelancer you don't just deliver the final product and your work is done. You must actively seek new work and ensure that all your clients are happy. This is an ongoing process since the majority of freelance work comes through referrals. If you want to avoid the uncertainty and inconsistency you can "work with a company like 24 Seven where they find the gigs for you". Once you get acquainted with a freelance management team like we have here at 24 Seven, the idea of finding your next gig is less daunting.
Myth 2: No benefits
One of the myths that leaves non-freelancers skeptical is that it is assumed you don't get health benefits as a freelancer. Natasha puts that rumor to rest by stating, "Well the ACA (Obamacare) has made this less of an issue" as freelancers now have more options to acquire benefits on their own. The assumption freelancers don't receive benefits can be a deal breaker for employees looking to make the switch from 9-5 to freelance,"but if you work with a recruiting company like 24 Seven, you can get health benefits through them depending on how many hours you work." As you can see the idea that freelancers don't receive benefits isn't always the case.
Myth 3: Clients pay in a timely manner
Natasha argues that clients don't see your invoice how you see your invoice, "... as your paycheck. Nope - companies usually take, at the earliest, 30 days to pay an invoice". Ouch! Not to mention, "the hard reality is that it's more like 60-120 days." And this doesn't solely apply to smaller companies whose cash flow at the time doesn't match the project's total, this can happen with big corporations as well. Natasha does leave us with a silver lining to the inconvenience, "If you work with a company like 24 Seven, you can count on regular paychecks - as you're technically a 24 Seven employee". If you are considering freelancing as a career, it would be wise to plan ahead financially so that you're not living paycheck to paycheck since it's not set in stone when you will actually receive compensation.
Myth 4: It's a lonely lifestyle
Some people perceive working from home as lonely because it appears you don't get as much social interaction as you would in an office. Natasha says, "Yes, self-employment and working from your home can feel isolating, but today there are lots of shared workspaces available (for a fee) and free spaces where freelancers congregate" like libraries, coffee shops, and cafes. In fact, freelancing is a great way to extend your professional network by connecting with other freelancers in your area since "there are more freelancers than ever" according to Natasha. The beauty about freelancing is you have the freedom to choose. Some freelancers choose to work from home, others prefer to come in to the office. Freelancing does not have to mean that you're exclusive to working remotely. "Some clients prefer their contractors to work on site. Again, 24 Seven has remote and on-site freelance jobs, to suit your preference," says Natasha, which puts to rest the idea that freelancing is lonely lifestyle. Should you become a freelancer? Check out our full resource for helpful tips and tools.