01 Apr 8 Signs to Know if Freelancing is Right for You
There’s never been a better time to start a career as a freelancer than now! What are the signs which tell you that freelancing is right for you? Read on.
From content writing and corporate branding to HR consulting and career counselling, several professionals have moved from being job seekers to being self-employed as freelancers. Covid19 has been a surefire catalyst spurring this trend as organizations have also downsized and taken to hiring independent, remote workers and freelancers in a big way.
The upswing is visible on the demand side too. A global report by Payoneer found that India ranked as the second fastest growing freelance market, with a 46% increase in new freelancers between the first and second quarter of 2020.
Are you poised to take advantage of this massive opportunity? Here are 8 signs in terms of mindsets and skills which can tell you if you should hang up your ‘employee’ boots and turn to freelancing instead.
1) You have insatiable curiosity, you like variety and you can switch between thinking and doing
Curiosity and a desire for variety are signs that freelancing is right for you
A lot of professionals who I speak to are stuck in jobs that are monotonous and no longer offer them growth, the chance to learn and do something new. If you’re the kind who has insatiable curiosity, you like variety and you can effortlessly switch between thinking and doing, then freelancing is right for you. Even if you don’t have all of these mindsets, but find yourself definitely having 1 or 2 of these, then with some support, you would be ready to launch yourself as a freelancer.
I’ve found in my career coaching work, that mid-career individuals who have been in professions like consulting, where they have worked on a variety of projects, and learnt new things each time they’ve been on new assignments, find it easier to switch into freelancing. Of course, you may need coaching to help you articulate and strengthen your personal brand, and then your freelancing career can get off to a start.
2) You don’t set store by titles : Having a fancy title and wanting to climb the corporate ladder aren’t your thing anymore. Freelancing is not about titles and the corner office – sure you can call yourself your own company’s CEO, but titles don’t give you a high anymore. If you already have the title that most would dream of and yet find yourself wondering many times, “is this it”, “is there something I may be missing”, then it’s possible that freelancing is the right choice for you.
3) You like freedom, freshness and flexibility : Freedom! Isn’t that a part of the word freelancer itself? Freelancers thrive on freedom, freshness and flexibility – having autonomy over the time they work, where they work from, who they choose to work with and what kind of work they do. So if you’re done and dusted with having others call the shots on all of this and are ready to experience freedom, freshness and flexibility like never, that’s a sign that freelancing is right for you.
I’ve also met and spoken to many ‘closet’ freelancers – who are waiting to break free. At mid-career particularly, you may find yourself drawn to this kind of life, with its promise for aligning to your life stage too! Don’t worry too much about whether these urges are the right ones to act on – working with a coach at this stage to clarify your deeper interests and motivations and the commitments you are ready to make, to start off as a freelancer, would be a very worthwhile investment.
4) You carry your authentic persona wherever you go, including social media: I’ve coached many people who have been exhausted by the pretences they’ve had to put up at work, being an employee. It leaves them feeling frustrated and anxious most of the time, as if they fear being truly who they are. If you want to carry your authentic persona into your work and not try to be someone else, then maybe it’s time you consider freelancing as the right choice for you.
Carrying your authentic persona wherever you go is a sign freelancing is right for you
A lot of great freelancers are very active on social media – to promote their work and attract opportunities. They carry their authentic selves into these spaces as well – allowing the right kind of clients to find them and want to work with them.
5) You are a self-starter and you get after your goals with gusto : The people who take to freelancing like fish to water are also the ones who love setting and going after big and meaningful goals for themselves. A key difference between being employed and going the freelance route is that you have to decide what works for you – the income level you want, the kind of lifestyle you want, the hours you want to work etc. So if you’re pretty good at figuring these things out for yourself and also tend to enjoy minimal supervision, while also plugging away towards your goals, then it’s a sign that freelancing is right for you.
Going after your goals with gusto sets you up for success as a freelancer
6) You have in-demand skills: You can’t be a successful freelancer if you don’t have in-demand skills. So either you’ve already acquired a fair amount of in-demand skills or you’re on your way to upskill yourself in them, if you want your freelancing career to take off.
A number of people I coach, have conventional educational backgrounds, but they’ve acquired a bunch of very valuable, market oriented skills, often on the side of their regular jobs. For instance, I have worked with lawyers and marketers who have now turned to freelancing, using in-demand skills they’ve learnt like financial advisory, brand consulting, strategy for start-ups.
7) You are technology savvy and enjoy updating your tech skills – Freelancing is not always easy and to make it work for you, you have to boost your productivity using technology and tech tools. So if you’re open to learning new tech tools which are related to the domain where you offer your services as a freelancer, your future is bright. For instance, you can’t have a career as a freelance content and digital marketer, if you don’t know tech tools like Hootsuite, SEMRush, SEO tools etc.
8) You are good at making your work speak for you and you market yourself well – Finally, if you are good at making your work speak for you and are savvy at self-promotion, then that’s the best way to attract more freelance work towards you and grow your business.
After reading this, if you find yourself stirred to explore how to make a career change into freelancing, talk to us (write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can support you. Our coaching has helped many individuals go from being employed to becoming their own boss.
Kavita, an alumna of IIM Ahmedabad, brings 20 years of experience in Experiential Learning, Coaching, Personal Growth & Change. Her forte is Career Transition Coaching and Leadership Development for mid-senior individuals, helping them find success and fulfilment at work . She also teaches Career & Self Development courses at leading management institutes including IIM Kozhikode, IIM Udaipur, IIM Indore and at the IITs.