Should You Freelance?

Many people dream of going freelance. Few have what it takes to be successful.

Freelancers are a disciplined lot, able to impose organization upon themselves. They are also aggressive marketers, selling themselves as well as their work, often to strangers. They are bookkeepers, file clerks, office managers, IT departments and CEOs in their own business.

Does this sound like you? A tone of "it's not as easy as it looks" is what I like about Ariana Green's Is Freelancing Right For You? on Harvard Business Publishing.

Some questions from Ariana as you consider whether this is a career option:

  • Are you or your skills in demand?
  • Are you willing to work your way up the ladder?
  • Do you have financial resources to weather a start-up phase and dry spells?
Start with a conversation with yourself, Green says.
"To be a successful, happy freelancer, you should be honest with yourself about exactly what it is that most appeals to you. Maybe you want more freedom, flexibility or variety. You may want to explore your entrepreneurial passion, or perhaps you simply hate reporting to a boss or being part of a corporation. Rank the relative importance of your desires and aversions. How much do you value each when comparing them to a theoretically steady, salaried job? How much are you willing to endure for a freelancer's lifestyle?"
I tried freelancing for awhile and discovered, surprisingly, it wasn't for me. I liked the work but I missed the social networking at the office. Freelancing can be a somewhat lonely existence.

How about you? Have you tried freelancing? What turned you on or off about the lifestyle?

(Home office image by zak greant, CC 2.0)