In 2008, I quit my long term job as a Project Manager to appease my insatiable appetite for my creativity. It was crazy to give up the money I was making, but in speaking to my husband about this, and driving the point home that he would be living with a very cranky person who wasn’t happy with what she no longer thought was fun and enjoyable to do each day, he agreed to support my decision.
I had already been taking night classes and received my degree in web graphic design to start my own business, Pegleg Web Designs. In doing so, it became apparent that with companies downsizing on it’s work force yet hiring contractors or freelancers like myself, they save themselves alot of money on health insurance and reduces the risk of hiring people full time.
And to be completely honest, today’s technology makes working off-site easier than ever – freelancers or contracted employees are a 21st century alliance that will be getting bigger as companies are forced to keep reducing their costs.
So, for a freelancer like myself, it’s good news. However, not everyone is cut out to be a freelancer. You need a few things from a personality perspective. The first is extreme self-discipline. Since I work from home, I can either choose to do laundry, walk the dogs, clean the house, work out, tend to my garden or work on a client website.
In knowing that I have to pay my bills, my job always, ALWAYS comes first. I don’t have to worry about kids since mine are adults now, but I do have the four legged kind who tend to nudge me from time to time to remind me that they have to relieve themselves and want to be told they are loved and were not abandoned by that keyboard I keep pounding away on for hours on end.
In a nutshell, I enjoy the freedom of doing what I want, when I want to do it and not having to be chained to a cubicle chair being mandated by strict office policies. So, if I have an appointment for a doctor during the day, I’ll be working later at night to catch up. That’s the beauty of keeping your own hours.
You also need to know how to manage your time. Since I used to be a project manager, I was able to multi-task 20 or more projects without blinking an eye, so multi-tasking is a no brainer for moi.
The other thing you need to learn is how to market yourself and your business. So, I learned thru trial and error on what works and what doesn’t work for my business on how to get my name out there. However, the best way to get business is thru your previous clients and their recommendations about your work.
You have to be your own book keeper, marketer, sales person and do all the work rather than rely on a team of individuals to help you get a project done. I create my own designs, my own graphics, coding, writing, and testing across multiple versions of browsers. I have to handle all the maintenance for my clients, their e-newsletters, blog support and also educate them on SEO.
You ARE the one man band when you freelance.
Do I worry about this? No. Why? Because I’m obsessed with getting stuff done, being creative and knowing that the devil is in the details. I WANT my clients to succeed and be happy with what I give them or else I don’t succeed….and I certainly wouldn’t be happy.
So, if you want to freelance, you need to be self-motivated, dedicated and goal oriented. You have to be a multi-tasker and extremely organized as well as focused on your client’s goals since every client’s online goals may be different. But most importantly, if you’re going to freelance, customer service and quick responsiveness is what is missing from alot of companies today. So instead of being jostled from one electronic recording to another, people want a human being to talk to who can help with their needs. They want a call back.
They want to know they are not just another number.