So you dream of firing your boss, kicking back in your newly decorated home office with your mac pro with coffee brewing and your music blaring. Yeah crazy cool.
Can you do it?
This year I celebrated ten years of working location independent, based in Italy but travelling all over Europe. In those ten years I've worked as a content writer, editor, blogger, travel photographer, project manager, coach, trainer, digital strategist and consultant. I wear lots of hats and have clients on every continent. I've seen amazing places and done fantastic things, but one thing is a constant - the ability to find, keep and bill clients. It is this alone that will determine my success or failure.
7 things you cannot afford to kid yourself about.
1. You're going to work alone, a lot, you're going to have to fight the distraction of popping out for a cappuccino, switching on the TV, digging in the fridge, playing on twitter, updating your facebook, watching clips on utube. All these are the drug of the solitary worker, and they eat the one resource you do have, time.
2. You can choose your hours right? Wrong. If you burn an all-nighter, the next day you feel like hell, so you sleep in and lounge around in your pajamas till noon. Yeah this is it, no boss to chase me. You just exchanged your one boss for many, your clients are now going to be your bosses, when you find some that is.
3. They will come if you build it - The silent phone, the emails you dreamed would come in a flurry asking for you to design that site and write those articles. Silence.. If you just keep going to conferences and social events joining facebook and linked-in groups the work will eventually roll in, right? Wrong - you have to pitch, like the salesman who knocks on doors constantly, and for every presentation he makes gets rejected 90% of the time, you must get comfortable pitching.
4. Starting with no savings in a one income household? Panic sets in quickly once the rent isn't paid, and that new mac pro you bought starts to seem like an expense you should have waited awhile for. You'll need family support, or a regular job while you phase in your first freelance attempts. Office space can wait too. Yes you'll sometimes have to lock your spouse or your screaming baby out of the room to meet that deadline. You'll definitely work harder than you ever did for a boss.
5. Billing according to industry standards and getting contracts and agreements signed is by far the most difficult and important thing you'll learn. When to bill? How to negotiate with difficult clients ? Sometimes the first client is a client from hell, that leaves you pacing the kitchen floor talking to yourself. You need a support group of other freelancers to bounce ideas off and learn from.
6. Getting recommended and verified. This is were time management becomes crucial, the ability to build a network of people who you can communicate with daily on social media in a directed and focused way, is an essential skill, asking for what you want is another.
7. Keeping up with trends and adapting and transitioning is a full time challenge. The changes in the past two years alone have made work people were getting paid good money to do, obsolete. Whole industries have disappeared. Re-invent yourself.
Can you do online coaching and webinars? Can you continue to be competitive in your field?
If you can manage yourself, and your erratic finances it can be a wonderful lifestyle defined by you and your dreams.
What should you charge for your services..