Freelancing, does it work?
You may have heard by now what is freelancing, it is when you provide your services on a hire basis, very often it refers to digital skills like programming, writing, editing, consulting etc. There are websites like upwork.com and freelancer.com which are huge platforms where freelancers can find work and where anybody can hire a freelancer. This article is not to insult or to question the importance of freelancing but rather to give my take on this.
Disclaimer: I’m not a freelancer in the traditional sense of the term.
I won’t consider myself a freelancer in the traditional sense of the term but in an expanded view of things, I am a freelancer. My services are up for hire and if you are searching for a programmer, graphic designer, video editor, please refer to my blog realjema.com to get a quote. I don’t actively work on freelancing platforms (even though I tried) because I find it not to be the most efficient use of my skills, and here is why.
You should try other things first
Freelancing is not the only way to go and even though it may be (or seem to be) a very profitable way of earning an income, I don’t think it’s the most efficient use of your skills. Sure, you can make a lot of money from it, but an important aspect of every job is its consistency. Earning 1 million today might seem awesome but if that's the only money you will have for the next 10 years then it feels very insignificant. I think It's preferable to try building a business around your skills by providing services which don’t depend on a platform which is overloaded by new talents every second. I also don’t like freelancing because there aren’t always new challenges and no consistent growth through projects, either a project is way too big, way too small or in between those, there is no progressive evolution in my learning, so no experience being built. It sure is a good way for earning quick cash here and there, but in the long run it proves to be useless. I feel like my skills are better employed either working on personal projects which can have a high return in the future or a full-time job which earns with an immediate income.
What you really want is fast money
This is the biggest reason why most people do freelance, because they want fast money. The trend these days has shifted a lot to crypto instead, but for a very long time now people have been focusing on freelance because they just wanted some quick money to deal with one thing or the other, but we all know that fast money is not sustainable. Our bills will always be on time, problems will always be on time (and sometimes out of time) so you want to make sure that you don’t just get fast money but also sustainable money. The same goes for people who mix a full-time job with freelancing, the quick money just puts more pressure on you and may make you burnout very fast. It's always best to invest one’s skills on sometime more reliable than something unpredictable.
Profitability vs Stress
With freelancing you really have to find a balance between your profitability and your stress, It's already very stressful to manage a full-time job, imagine adding to that freelance too. Every client you meet is different, and you have to work with a new person every time, most of whom are very difficult to deal with and always under a rush, without mentioning that you can be ejected from the project at anytime. Very often, the persons who give you projects aren’t knowledgeable on that field and think everything is going to happen in a split second, so they put the pressure on you in the end. If working for a person can be stressful, imagine working for 100 persons.
It's not just long and difficult projects to do, the difficult ones being so not because of a technical standpoint but rather because It's difficult to please humans, the clients always never have a definitive vision. For the easy projects, you just end up doing repetitive and boring tasks which make you question your choices in life. After a certain amount of money, you start losing interest in those projects all together.
Remote Jobs pay better
No matter what all those articles promoting freelance may say, freelancing isn’t that profitable for the greater cross-section of the population, sure one or two people get a lucky break now and there, but It's really not a life-changing endeavor for the greater cross-section of person. 1 in 100 freelancers can really say freelance is sustainable or their sole source of income, there is just too much competition for the small tasks and the bigger tasks take more time to do. Very often freelancers do have a full-time job and then do some freelancing on their spare time just to make the extra income, it would be more profitable for you to seek for a remote job with those skills you have rather than focusing alone on freelancing. Remote jobs pay better and come with way more perks, you get to work on your schedule (sometimes), the pay is consistent, and you have a career path you can follow.
Start your own business
Even better still than you working for someone else, you could start your own business with whatever skill you have, the main difference here would be that people will come to you instead of you going to people. You have already seen how many people are looking for your services, so it would be more profitable to offer them these services directly and professionally, the rest is just marketing and pricing. You would be surprised the number of persons all around you looking for your services, just by marketing yourself in the right way, you can find a lot of customers on and off-line.
Freedom is overrated
Another major reason why a lot of people get into freelance is because they want freedom, to work on their schedule, and be in total control of their finances. I read a quote the other day which said this
I didn’t want to work a 9–5 Job so I started my business, and now I work 24/7 — anonymous
The truth in this really made me laugh because we usually seek freedom in independence and end up being trapped. You should not be too hasty to become independent, it takes a while for everyone to truly become independent, and fast money isn’t what is going to make you independent (most of the time). Just make sure you have a bulletproof plan before you engage in the route of freelance.
Freelance has its use and its merits, but I don’t believe it's the best way to groom skills and sustainable for the greater cross-section of people. Focus on building a business around your skills which you can market and earn more consistent income. Do freelance if you must, but you are going to miss out on the millions of jobs out there ready to pay you decent amounts of money to do the very same things you are doing for a couple of dollars for some strangers. Don’t try to rush towards freedom, it still takes some time to become totally independent, make the difference between freedom and salvery. Ultimately, its your choice
Thanks for reading!
Check out my blog for more articles, realjema.com