By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes
Do you find yourself thinking that your day job just isn’t cutting it?
Perhaps you want more of a challenge and creative outlet or you need to bring in some extra cash to pay off those student loans. Whatever the reason is, if you feel this way, you’re not alone. It is reported that 44 million Americans currently have a side hustle, with the overwhelming majority being Millennials.
Many people are finding freelance work to be a great way to start a side hustle and even transition full time away from the corporate world.
As a career coach to Millennials, I have worked with clients time and again who want to make the shift from the 9-5 office life into freelancing. It is an exciting option to consider and something I recommend as an alternative to seeking a different full-time corporate career.
There are some major perks associated with this style of career. But here’s the thing, this path isn’t for everyone, it will take a great deal of dedication and lifestyle adjustment to make freelancing a success.
Here are three benefits that come with freelancing and the downfalls to watch out for. If you find these perks align with your goals, it might be time to try out freelancing.
1. You are your own boss.
In freelancing, you are officially your own company, and you make the rules. The days are gone where you report into someone else or work for clients you don’t vibe with on a schedule that doesn’t fit your needs.
In the corporate world, you might have fought for the window desk or had to wade through the bureaucratic waters to gain access to skills or opportunities. Perhaps, your day was filled with time-wasting meetings. Good news is, you can say goodbye to this in the freelance world since these issues are practically non-existent.
Does the idea of heading to a spin class at noon and then logging back online afterward get you excited? Or does traveling while still making money align with your lifestyle? If yes, then freelancing will suit you well.
Here’s the catch, you are also your own boss and need to be able to hold yourself accountable. If you let yourself slack off too much before you know it your freelance biz might be spiraling downward into a hole of unemployment.
Fight this off by creating a routine that works for you, and set goals that you are personally tracking on a weekly or monthly basis. If you can do this, your freelance work has the potential for major success.
2. Your earning potential and opportunities are limitless.
With the expansion of technology and platforms such as UpWork, your earning potential and client reach is vast. I started a publishing company (CAKE Publishing) for freelance writing and was able to gain clients not only from around the country but around the world.
You are no longer limited to one skill set, 61% of freelancers report having two to three skillsets they use to generate income. If you enjoy web developing but also want to do content marketing, the sky’s the limit in the freelance world. And the ability to experiment with these skill sets is more accessible than a standard job.
Want to take your freelance writing from web copy to ghostwriting e-books? Want to take your video editing beyond company content? Freelancing provides opportunities for this to happen if you are willing to seek them out.
In freelancing, your income and success are the direct results of the efforts you put forward. If you are hoping to make more money to fund a special trip, you have the opportunity to pick up more work. And vice versa, if you need to cut back for health or personal reasons it is completely up to you.
Be mindful, it isn’t all roses and wine, freelance work can have periods of highs and lows. Not to mention, there are now added expenses to your life that didn’t exist before. Being self-employed, you need to fully support the cost of health and dental insurance, business taxes and contributions to 401(k) and retirement. This can all add up and needs to be calculated into your hourly or flat rate fees.
3. Your office takes on a whole new life.
The majority of workers are not satisfied with their work-life balance, whereas 66% of freelancers report a better balance than their previous job.
The average U.S. employee commutes a total 52 minutes a day. That is a great deal of time that could be spent working, or doing something enjoyable. If you freelance, you likely can work from anywhere and at any time.
With this freedom, you can work at home in comfortable casual clothes, or head to a coffee shop or coworking space to enjoy some company while not being bombarded with work-related questions.
Take it from me, spending the day in your pajamas at home is enticing, but after days, weeks or months of major solitude this can have some downward effects. Remote work loneliness will take its toll on your mental and physical health if you are not careful. Stay connected with a community and just because you are working at home–you should still take a shower!
While the career path of freelancing provides benefits completely unique to other work styles, it does come with some dangerous pitfalls to always be aware of. Consider which pitfalls you are most likely to fall for and set yourself up for success before transitioning into this career.
If you are hesitant to jump into freelancing, start out with a side hustle to feel things out before committing full time.
Don’t forget, you get to create the job of your dreams!
For a FREE course to land a new job you love, launch your dream business, or find your purpose, visit https://ashleystahl.com/