My clients and the people I coach like working with me because I’m honest and direct. So here’s the plain, ugly truth:
You may not have what it takes to be a freelancer.
I’ve worked with hundreds of freelancers in my career, and the ones who fail all have at least one of these traits in common:
- No Marketable Skills – If you don’t actually know how to do anything, you’re going to struggle as a freelancer. Web development, design, marketing, and copywriting are great examples of marketable skills.
It’s okay if you’re new or still learning. But if you don’t have a skill at all, you’re going to struggle.
- You Want to Get Rich Quick – Freelancers can make a hell of a lot of money. But it doesn’t happen without hard work. Looking for a get rich quick scheme? Scram.
- You’re Not Willing to Learn New Skills – Freelancers need to wear a lot of hats. Unlike a full-time job, you don’t just practice your craft (design, programming, writing, etc).
You also have to find clients, persuade them to pay you, and experiment to grow your business. Unless you’re willing to learn, you probably won’t make it.
- You Think You Can Go It Alone – I haven’t met a single freelancer whose success can’t be attributed, at least in part, to the mentorship of somebody who has done it before. You can’t just read a few blog posts and become an overnight success. You’ll need some support, ideally from other freelancers.
What It’s Like to Be a Freelancer
If none of these apply, then you’re in the right place. Freelancing can be a fulfilling and flexible career path.
Here’s what my typical day looks like:
I’m a night owl, so when I’m not traveling—remember, freelancers can work from anywhere!—I like to start my days late. I usually drink a few cups of coffee on my porch around 10:00 AM, read the news, and catch up on email.
I may have one or two short calls, but I spend most of the day doing what I love: designing and coding websites, testing new marketing strategies, and helping my clients grow their businesses. Being paid to do meaningful work is a wonderful feeling.
My wife works remotely, too, so we usually eat lunch together, and it’s pretty common for us to go on a short hike, explore, or run errands when we need a break during the day. I make it a point not to work past 5:30 PM, so I have time to pursue hobbies, spend time with family, and actually enjoy my life.