There are a lot of misconceptions about freelancing, hiring a freelancer and what the life of a freelancer is really like. Here are some of the common myths and a look at the reality of each one.
Myth: It’s not possible to make a good living by freelancing.
This myth goes along with those that say business owners can never break even and that it’s not realistic to be in a position to save money when you work for yourself. Of course, you can make a living freelancing and working on your own – people do it every day. Just like any other endeavor, it takes hard work, experience, skill, research and planning, but it is a very feasible and realistic way of earning an income.
Myth: Freelancers only freelance because they can’t get a real job.
While some freelancers get started after being laid off or leaving a full-time job, the fact that they freelance by no means says that they are unemployable. Most freelancers I know do so because it’s their choice.
Myth: A freelancer needs business so badly that they are willing to negotiate their rates.
From time-to-time, every entrepreneur may face difficult financial times and consider revamping their current rates and offerings. But to say that freelancers are more willing to negotiate their rates is simply not true. In fact, the most successful freelancers are those that take time to set a rate they are comfortable with, and then find clients who are willing and able to pay what they deserve.
Myth: Freelancers get to do whatever they want, whenever they want to do it.
Anyone who has ever worked from home knows that balancing life and work is not always a relaxing experience when they overlap. Sure, one benefit of working for yourself is the ability to make your own hours. But if you have a successful freelancing business, taking time off during the day usually translates into late nights or off-hours work. Yes, you can work when you choose, but there is still work that needs to be done.
Myth: As a freelancer, I don’t need to use a contract with clients.
Contracts are an important part of any kind of business. Not only do they help set the specifications of a project, but they also outline the payment terms. While a contract certainly doesn’t guarantee you will be paid and paid on time, it’s good practice to use one with your clients.
Myth: A client won’t hire a freelancer when they can hire a large company.
Yes, some clients will hire an agency or full-service firm instead of a freelancer. But that doesn’t mean those same clients will never hire a freelancer. It really depends on the scope of work and expertise needed for the project. Many clients do hire a freelancer because they believe they can get the work done quicker, that the freelancer is more responsive, and the client may appreciate that they only have to deal with one contact to get the job done.
Myth: I don’t need to worry about learning new skills if I freelance.
As a freelancer, you ALWAYS need to continue to learn if you want to expand your services, increase your marketability and stay on top of what’s going on in your industry.
Myth: Freelancing is a lot less stressful than working for someone else.
Freelancing may be more stressful in some cases because of the depth of your responsibilities. Not only do you have to do the work well and make your clients happy, but you have to manage your business finances, invoice and track payments, offer customer support and do everything else that makes your business run.
Myth: Freelancing is a good option if you’re not a people person.
When you freelance, you have to be willing to interact with your clients, potential clients and colleagues. Relationships are a huge part of being a successful freelancer because they can lead to work, repeat work, referrals and collaborations. Good communication and an openness to form relationships is a must-have.
Myth: I shouldn’t bother freelancing if I’m not willing to quit my full-time job.
The beauty of freelancing is that you can do it part-time, full-time and even sporadically. Doing some freelance work on the side is a great way to get more experience, learn new things and explore if full-time freelancing is a fit for you.
What freelancing myths would you add to this list?
Image credit: Christian Ferrari