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Should YOU Become a Freelancer?

I’ve been coaching men and women in career or job transtion for 16 years and almost everyone who loses a job, leaves a job or wants to leave a job asks this simple question: Instead of getting “another job,” should I start something or become a freelancer? In other words, should I be self-employed and offer my services, knowledged or expertise to companies, individuals or multiple clients? Well…. maybe. Just maybe.. Or maybe not! This may be an incredible fit. Or lead lead you to fits or anxiety, feeling like a mis-fit or draining your bank account. 
Freelancing may be EXACTLY what you were made for…or a recipe for depression or poverty. And as you may already know millions in the US economy are moving to become freelancers.. either full time or part time. According to Freelancers Union, 35% of the US workforce (55 million Americans) are now best described as freelancers. And, according to Forbes, this number will jump to 50 pecent by 2020! Half of us!!

What do Freelancers Do?

They are free-lances. (where the word comes from) Instead of being “knights” that work for one king (or company), they are mercenaries paid to offer their skills and services to multiple kings (or companies or clients). In an economy where it’s now possible to work from home or the local coffee shop with a phone and laptop, freelancers offer things like marketing, writing, blogging, editing, coaching, web development, graphic design, technology support, administration, speaker, financial advising, bookkeeping….. And much, much more. 
And it doesn’t need to be full time. Many of the freelancers do it while working 9 to 5 as a “moonlight” to make extra income or to gradually transtion. Many others do so in their vision of “retirment” as a way to make a paycheck or even a playcheck simply because they love it or feel a calling towards it.

Big Upsides

The upside potential for freelancing is not only lucrative financially (when done right) but also leads to some key benefits that 9 to 5 or cubicle work won’t provide.

  • Flexibilty

  • Variety

  • Creativity

  • Low cost barrier to entry

  • Geography change

  • Serving in an area of passion

For years as a coach and advisor, I’ve watched client experience exactly that. They’re still doing it! AND some say “no thanks” and “get their resume back together and apply for a tradional “one king” type of job. So, what makes freelancing work for those it works for? Well, here’s my observations. 

Freelancing will work well for you if you are willing to

1. Get clear on what you uniquely offer. Those who succeed feel confident in what they are great at and what they bring to others to help them specifically. They know the outcome that's worth paying for.

2. Invest in your growth.

Be willing to invest in your own work, hire coaches and supporters and gain the technology you need. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but there’s still a cost. Even if you work alone in many ways, going it alone is typically not wise.

3. Keep it simple

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Start with a clear focus.

4. Focus on a specific niche.

The clearer, the better. Don’t underestimate this! Invest time or work with a coach to clarify your exact niche right away.

A specific niche is something like "dentists," "pastors," "women entrepreneurs," "cancer patients," "pro football players," "Tech start up companies..."

5. Price your services.

Don’t think that cheaper is better. Just the opposite, inexpensive may be sending a message of lack of confidence or quality.

6. Sell Yourself and/or Your Services

You may not need to be the “greatest saleman in the world,” buy you will need to continually be marketing and selling your services and creating contracts, simple or complex. Asking for the order will be part of your life.

7. Utilize Your Time Well

Like it or not, time is money and you will need to continually examine your time use and finding ways to maximize your energy and time.

Well, what do you think? Did most or all of these resonate with you as things you can or will do?

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