With the world of work undergoing vast change, becoming a freelancer is a hotly-debated topic. What are the reasons to go freelance? What challenges do freelancers face? What advice do you need before starting out as a freelancer? We have gathered the experiences of several freelancers to provide you with a clear overview on the subject!
« I want to be more independent! »
Autonomy, finances, regular projects… There are many reasons to become a freelancer. Nevertheless, according to the freelancers we interviewed, it would appear that the main motivation for becoming self-employed is autonomy. In fact, becoming self-employed allows you to manage your own finances, work where you feel most comfortable, organize your schedule optimally and be your own boss. All these aspects increase the flexibility and independence of the worker compared to more traditional employment contracts. Above all, being a freelancer is about being able to rely on yourself and set your own goals.
Challenges for freelancers
As with any other job, a freelancer can face a number of different challenges initially. The freelancers within our community shared their experiences with us.
Web editor Delphine B. explains, “The challenges encountered as a freelancer are the same as any new business venture: deciding on legal status, launching and setting up the business, generating turnover. I undertook some training courses with regional institutions. I trained myself through MOOCs and online tutorials. As a result, I confronted my fears and dived right into the areas where I felt less comfortable or knowledgeable.”
Therefore, the challenges faced by a freelancer are similar to those encountered by a self-employed entrepreneur, regardless of the industry sector. There’s no need to panic!
Moreover, just like at the beginning of any new business venture, it can sometimes be difficult to find your bearings. That’s why the preparation time before starting freelance work is so important. The better prepared you are, the faster your first job will arrive in your mailbox. This is what fullstack Java developer Hoang Thanh N. tells us: “I started out 2 and a half years ago. We tend to lack advice on how to start up a business. It’s important to take time to research the right information, and be prepared at all levels. Personally, it took me a month“. Rayed B., developer, says that “raising his profile on the internet” greatly helped him to land his first project.
Lastly, it is important to add that some freelancers do not encounter any particular difficulties when launching their services. A freelancer who has been working as an Adobe Campaign solution expert for 5 years explained that “The sector is very promising and there is a shortage of expertise. The only challenges I faced were having to adapt and undertake regular training courses”. We strongly discourage pessimism!
Tips to remember when going freelance
All advice is helpful, so we’ve collected a few tips that may be useful for you before you embark on your freelancing adventure! On one hand, Rayed B. advises you to “Think carefully about your choice of status based on your income strategy“. Indeed, analysing your future earnings will allow you to choose the status that best suits your work, in the long term. The various different statuses offer you the possibility to choose the one that will be most attractive and beneficial for you in terms of costs and profitability.
On the other hand, on a more personal level, Delphine B. explains the need to “Work on your personal development in order to have the necessary energy and confidence. It is not advisable to work alone, but rather to surround yourself with other organizations and associations that can guide you.” Therefore, this image people have of a freelancer working as a lone wolf seems somewhat removed from reality. Freelancing is above all an adventure, during which it is essential to feel comfortable and fulfilled, to understand the reason why you have chosen to become a freelancer. Hoang Thanh N. says, “It is a different way of life and you will never look back. It allows you to avoid some issues you might have experienced as a salaried employee.“
Finally, from a practical point of view, Anthony C., a freelance developer for the last 3 years, states that “A freelancer is not like Shiva, you don’t have 50 arms. It’s important to stick to an acceptable and consistent workload. You won’t become operational just by handling 10 client needs at the same time.” Indeed, you may be tempted to take on several projects at once. Nevertheless, it’s important to measure your productivity and know your strengths so that your work is fulfilling and ensure you can make a living from it. Freelance groups on social networks such as LinkedIn will allow you to exchange with freelancers with similar profiles to yours. Don’t hesitate to share your concerns and questions with them, they will be happy to help!
In conclusion, just like at the beginning of any new business venture, entering the world of freelancing may seem a bit daunting at first. In reality, you are not alone, as thousands of freelancers will be around to offer you their invaluable advice on how to become a freelancer and welcome you into this promising field of work!
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