Have you spent many long days in the office staring at the computer, overwhelmed with tasks you are struggling to find motivation for? Dreaming of becoming your own boss in charge of your own schedule? You are not alone.
In the 15 year period between 2000 and 2015, people who declared themselves to be self-employed workers increased by 45%, and at the time of writing, an incredible 47% of the global population make their income through working for themselves.
So why are so many people choosing this lifestyle and making the move to freelancing? What is it about working for yourself, even with the hardships that come with it, that’s so appealing to millions around the world? And how exactly can making the switch to freelance work help you take the leap to entrepreneurship?
Being in charge of your own time
Time is our most valuable asset. When we are employed, we are ultimately exchanging our time for money, no matter what our industry. Being in charge of your own time and therefore your own working schedule, opens up countless possibilities. This is why freelancing is a wise and often essential stepping stone towards becoming an entrepreneur.
What makes a good entrepreneur is exactly what makes for a good freelancer
Think of freelancing as stretching before running. It is the perfect way to prepare yourself, slow and steadily, for starting your own business, as it gives you experience in setting your own targets and working towards goals that have been agreed upon between you and your clients.
It also allows you to work out how you work best and why, meaning that when you come to start your business, you have a developed understanding of the best practices for your most effective and productive working output. What makes a good entrepreneur is exactly what makes for a good freelancer, and building up your skills in a freelance capacity is the perfect way to establish yourself as self-employed before making the leap to starting and owning your own business.
Freelancing gives you the ultimate networking experience
As a freelancer, it is all about making connections with the right people; developing relationships with customers and clients and maintaining those relationships through high quality, reliable work. This essential stage of relationship building is the ideal precursor to becoming an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is dependent on the ability to maintain a strong network of diverse regular clients.
A freelancer can easily transfer their experience to their business and make use of a growing clientele base.
A freelancer can easily transfer this experience to their business and make use of a growing clientele base. Once you have secured clients as a freelancer, you can split your time between working on freelance projects and on your business, which is something that can be extremely hard to do if you are employed on a full-time basis.
Remote work is the new normal – even for entrepreneurs
As a freelancer, working on your business is like investing in yourself and every minute spent working towards your business is a move towards giving yourself a sustainable self-employed future. When employed, spending your free time working on a business can often feel like a chore; tiring and draining work that is completed after a long day of working for someone else.
When working for yourself you can be much more creative with your use of time, not just whilst you are working, but in your free time too. Working for yourself means you can work to a pattern that best fits your prime working hours. If you are a night owl that loves working into the evening, you can spend your mornings doing things that truly set you up best for your day.
Similarly, if you enjoy working on weekends and having your days off mid-week, you can do that without worrying about eating into your holidays. Freelancing allows you to work at your best, in a way that full time employment can never offer. Freelancing also means that you can travel as often as you like and whenever you need, should you be able to do so, so it’s the ideal path towards remote working that so many ‘digital nomad’ entrepreneurs are now aiming for.
The benefits of work from home have also long been a heated topic of discussion. But a recent 2-year Stanford study proved that telecommuters enjoy an astounding productivity boost as opposed to office workers, and their employee attrition decreased by 50 percent. In 2020, it’s near impossible to debate that work from home is not just as productive – if not more – than working at an office.
Freelancing can boost job satisfaction and overall happiness levels
If the possibility of being in charge of your own schedule, working towards starting your own business and being able to work from home aren’t enough to convince you of the countless benefits freelancing has to offer, a recent study found that self-employed people experience higher levels of job satisfaction and a higher level of overall happiness than those working for an employer.
Not only that, but self-employed people are more likely to work longer hours and spend more time working. Imagine being happier even though you are working longer! This is down to a mix of factors that freelancing can bring, including being able to use your skills to their full potential, freedom to innovate and express opinions on your work and the ability to have influence beyond your own role on projects.
As a freelancer, it is up to you what projects you take on and ultimately how well you do your work. Meaning that you are more likely to experience higher levels of job satisfaction due to increased pride in your work after meeting high standards of output for both yourself and your clients. Of course, maintaining a healthy work/life balance as a freelancer can be difficult, but by setting certain ground rules for yourself, you can achieve a much better, healthier work environment for you and for your budding business as a freelancer than if you are working full-time.
Learning to avoid freelance burnout will set you up for protection against entrepreneurial burnout
It is important to keep in mind that whilst working extra hours because you love your work can be great for business, maintaining a work/life balance when you are self-employed can be harder than when working for an employer. Therefore, keeping to a schedule and knowing when to turn off is important to avoid burnout.
When you are a freelancer in the digital space, especially if you’re working globally, clients essentially have access to you 24/7 and so it’s vital to set strict boundaries to prevent yourself from being ‘always on.’ Ask yourself, do I really need to reply to this email at 10pm at night? Can I wait until tomorrow when I’m back ‘at work?’ This way, you can ensure you’re making the most of your free time and separating your work from your personal life to ensure you’re as productive as possible when working.
The life of an entrepreneur is similar to that in many ways. Being the boss essentially means that everyone reports to you around-the-clock, and you can find yourself stuck in a rut because you have nowhere to escape. If you become a freelancer before becoming an entrepreneur, you can rest assured you’ll have had enough practice setting boundaries for yourself in order to maintain a healthy distance from your business when needed.
To sum it up…
Freelancing before starting your own business is not only a great step towards becoming an entrepreneur, it is a smart, safe and savvy move towards creating a sustainable self-employed future that you’re proud of.
If you’re feeling inspired and want to kickstart your freelance career now, sign up on Ureed.com – the GCC’s largest online freelance marketplace.