A few weeks ago, we published an article about Myths, Half-Truths, and Other Freelance Lies. That post covered common beliefs about freelancing that are mostly false. One reader, Jamie, commented that I should also post about some common freelancing truths.
Well, this post is for Jamie and for anyone else who wants to learn the truth about what it is really like to be a freelancer.
Here are some common beliefs about freelancing that are absolutely true:
1. You Can Earn a Full-time Living.
You may have seen freelancers post about supporting themselves on their blogs or in their e-books. You may not believe that they are telling the truth about supporting themselves through their freelance income.
In actuality, many freelancers do earn enough income to support both themselves and their families.
2. Freelancing has Flexible Hours.
As long as you meet agreed upon deadlines, most clients don’t care when you actually do their work. If you are a night owl, feel free to stay up all night working. If you rise with the crack of dawn, then do your work early in the morning.
Within the parameters of your deadlines, you can also schedule your work around doctor appointments, your child’s field trips, or anything else.
3. You Can Work Wherever You Want.
Most freelancers choose to work from a home office, but a freelancer can usually work anywhere that there is an Internet connection and a telephone. I have worked from hotel rooms, restaurants, coffee shops, and libraries.
In fact, with today’s technology freelancing is one of the most portable jobs that you can find.
4. You Can Wear Whatever You Want.
Has the corporate dress code got you down? As a freelancer, you can literally wear whatever you want to work. The stories of freelancers working in their pajamas, sweats, or even in their briefs are probably true.
Of course, if you are meeting with a client then you may want to look a little more presentable for your meeting. The choice is yours.
5. You Can Deduct Your Expenses.
At least, you can deduct those expenses that specifically relate to your business on your U.S. tax return. This could include computer equipment, your software purchases, your phone, and even the space that you use for your home office.
(Check with your own accountant for details. Non-U.S. freelancers should check the tax regulations of their own country.)
6. You Can Turn Work Down.
From time to time, you will be contacted by potential “clients” who just are not right for your freelancing business. Maybe the work is not really what you do or something about the client does not seem legit. As a freelancer, you can say “no” to a potential project.
(Just remember that you are not paid for work that you do not do.)
7. There’s No Commute.
Since many freelancers do their work from home most have no commute time. When I worked for a corporation, I drove about an hour each way to work. That was two hours a day of driving (and two hours a day that I don’t miss now).
If you are concerned about pollution from automobile emissions, freelancing from home is a great way to cut back on your contribution to the problem.
8. You’ll Have Lean Periods.
For new freelancers who are accustomed to receiving a regular monthly check from a corporation, the way that freelancers get paid can be disconcerting at first. As a freelancer you may receive a lot of pay one month and very little pay the next.
It is important not to spend all of your income as soon as you receive it. Wait a few months to get an idea of your average monthly income.
9. You’ll Spend a Lot of Time Alone.
While many freelancers are in frequent communication with their clients and peers, it is true that most of us work alone. This means that there is no office chitchat, no one to go to lunch with, and no one there to help you with a difficult problem.
Successful freelancers understand the importance of building a good support group. You can look online to find peers, or you may find a local group.
10. Networking is Important.
For the non-freelancer, networking may be an optional activity. Many corporate jobs do not require much networking at all. However, for most freelancers, effective networking is vital to their ongoing success.
Look for networking opportunities that give you a chance to interact with clients and potential clients.
Let’s discuss this.
What would you tell someone who wanted to know the truth about freelancing?
Leave your ideas and experiences in the comments.