If you were to sit down with a freelancer and ask them why this started this career of certain uncertainty, their answers will probably be similar. They may say something about needing extra money, not being fulfilled at their day jobs, or they wanted to work from home. As freelance careers are becoming more and more common, I decided to write a blog post about it to help my readers determine if freelancing could be an option for them.
In all honesty, my answer to why I started a freelancing career combines all of those factors and more. I’m sharing the five signs that showed me it was time to start freelancing. I can’t remember the exact breakthrough moment, but I’m sure it was a combination of all of these. One day it hit me that this could be the career choice I was looking for all along. I took off and started running, and I haven’t stopped ever since!
Now, let’s take a closer look at these five signs. In the end, tell me if any of them feels like you. If you’re still hesitating to find freelance work, what’s holding you back?
1. You’re broke.
This one was a pivotal component for me. I went from a full-time job to a part-time job. Money was tight. I had loans to pay. I felt constantly stressed out trying to pay for my car. I thought I was never going to be able to move out of my parent’s house. It felt like I was stuck in a financial rut trying to get out.
Jobs in my field were very limited. I didn’t understand how other people could transition from one job to another. How do you schedule a job interview when you already have a job somewhere else? Talk about tight scheduling. I was also exhausted spending hours upon hours creating different resumes, and writing endless cover letters to no avail.
So I made the first steps and creating an account on Upwork. I managed to land a client or two who paid me $12/hour. (I had no idea at the time that freelancers were worth a lot more money. I mean a lot more.) I started following numerous blogs and online influencers. From there I was making an extra $100 per month… to $500… to $1,000. Once I was making more money through freelancing than I was at my part-time job, I knew it was time to quit.
Does this situation sound like you?
2. You’re bored.
Haha. I can’t help but laugh when I think about this one. It only took a few months into working in the “real world” to make me realize how boring it was. How was I possibly going to do this for the next 30 years?! I was working in a field that I enjoyed, of course, but here are a few reasons why I was bored.
I wasn’t passionate about the clients or products
I spent a lot of time sitting around with nothing to do
I was sitting in countless meetings that seemed to accomplish nothing
My supervisors paid very little attention to me because they didn’t have time
And don’t forget, I wasn’t being paid much either. It’s like a waiting game trying to prove your worth in order to earn that next pay raise. When would it come? 6 months? A year? Did I even deserve a pay raise? I wasn’t passionate about the work after all. I was working hard, but I always felt like my lack of passion was obvious.
Have you ever been employed and in a situation like mine?
3. You want to take action.
Here is a good place to bring this up. Not only did I lack the income and the passion, but I was lacking control. I had no control over what type of work I was doing, which clients I was serving, how much I was paid, when I was able to get a lunch break, and so on. It may be hard to fathom control over the little things like that when you still work from an employer. I certainly thought that this was just how life was supposed to be, and I would have to toughen up and get used to it.
When I started following several online influencers, I read their blog posts and I saw their posts on Instagram. They were calling all the shots. They were in control of how much money they were making. If they wanted to learn a new skill, they did and starting serving their clients with it. They chose when they went on vacation and for how long. They chose to work early in the morning, or late in the evening. And I decided, if they can do it, then there was nothing stopping me from trying it too.
What’s one way that you feel your employer is holding you back?
4. You want to have a meaningful mentor.
I have to say, I have met and befriended so many freelancers and contractors online. They genuinely care and want to help you achieve your goals because they’ve been in a similar situation. Like I wrote at the beginning of this post, many of them felt trapped at their day jobs and wanted a way out. A lot of them are moms that wanted to spend more time with their children. Some of them wanted to travel the world freely.
If you’re willing to make an investment, there are also business and success coaches that want to help you fulfill your dreams of leaving the 9-5 life. It’s not always the easiest choice to work for yourself. Luckily, there are plenty of mentors and friends who can help you along the way. Work hard, every single day, and you’ll establish yourself as a freelancer in no time at all.
Who has been your best mentor and why?
5. You want to work hard on the work you enjoy most.
Tell me, what kind of work brings you joy and fulfillment? Do you like designing graphics? Do you like coding? Do you enjoy mentoring others? How about writing? The point I’m trying to make is, whatever line of work you’re doing can probably be done virtually.
More and more employers are starting to hire contractors and freelancers instead of employees because the costs are much cheaper. Because of this, there is more opportunity now than there ever was previously to start a freelancing career.
I’m very good at writing and want to establish myself as a copywriter. I also like social media and blogging, and luckily there is a space for writing on both mediums. I invested in myself and took some online courses like this one for Pinterest marketing, and another one about creating a profitable blog.
What type of skills do you have? Which ones bring you the most fulfillment?
There you have it. If you haven’t started freelancing yet, I hope these signs will show you that might be time to start thinking about trying something different. If you are a freelancer yourself, what was your breakthrough? What made you get started on your career, and where are you at today?