Many would-be freelancers spend all of their time learning about freelancing and none of their time actually being a freelancer. If you ask, many will tell you that they are waiting for the right time to start.
But just when is the time right to start freelancing? My question to all of those who put off starting is this: why wait?
Of course, you have your excuses. You need an even bigger portfolio before you can start. You’re not sure whether anyone would actually hire you. You’re waiting for the economy to improve. The list goes on…
If you’ve done your homework and prepared yourself, there’s no real reason to wait to start freelancing. That perfect time that you are waiting for so that you can start a freelancing business may never come.
In this post, I provide 13 reasons why I think that right now is a great time to be a freelancer.
Why Right Now Is a Great Time to Be Freelancing
In my opinion, this is one of the best ever times to be a freelancer. Here’s why:
- Internet access. A decade ago, many Internet users relied on a slow dial-up connection to connect. Working with a dial-up connection was a slow, tedious process. I should know. A decade ago, I was one of the dial-up users…and I was freelancing. Today, however, many more Internet users have access to a high-speed connection. The difference between working using high-speed access and dial-up is like the difference between night and day.
- Free WiFi. It used to be hard to find free wireless Internet access when you traveled. You had to really search to find a connection. Now free WiFi is nearly everywhere–in restaurants, hotels, airports and even in hospital waiting areas. On a recent road trip, I discovered that in the U.S. many Interstate rest stops even include free WiFi.
- Mobile technology. Improvements in mobile technology mean it’s no longer necessary to be chained to your desk to get your work done. You can grab any one of a whole array of mobile devices (depending on what type of work you need to do) and work offsite. It doesn’t matter whether you’re traveling or just need a change of scenery. Mobile freelancing is easier than ever.
- Job security. People usually think in terms of a traditional job when they think of job security. But, I beg to differ. I think that being a freelancer is one of the most secure jobs that you can have. Look at it this way–while you may put up with the feast or famine cycle you don’t have to worry about being chosen for a reduction-in-forces by some high-level executive whom you’ve never met. If you lose your job as a freelancer, it’s because you’ve decided to quit.
- Freelancing is more accepted socially. Freelancing used to be widely misunderstood. Most long-time freelancers have stories about how friends, family, and even neighbors didn’t understand why they were at home during the day. However, the number of freelancers has increased. Now that a significant portion of the population (depending on which study you read) are self-employed or employed by small business, more people than ever understand what freelancing is about.
- Cool new apps. If it seems to you like new apps are coming out every day, you’re right. Not only are there applications for your desktop–now there are apps for your phone, your tablet, and even for your favorite social media account. If you need to solve a problem, there’s probably an app to help you do it (or there will be very soon).
- More Opportunities. The growing popularity of the Internet has created opportunities for work that barely existed a decade ago. Witness the nearly insatiable demand for online content–not only for websites but also for social media. This new demand has created new opportunities for freelance writers, freelance artists, and other freelancers who can create good quality content.
- Companies are more apt to use freelancers. What most fail to realize is that a slow economy often leads to more opportunities for freelancers. That’s because the work still has to get done and somebody has to do it. If that somebody is not an employee, then who do you think it will be? That’s right! It’s likely to be a freelancer.
- Freelancing is kind to the environment. It’s not mentioned as much as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean we should forget about it. The environment is still important. As a freelancer (who likely works from home), you can give yourself a huge pat on the back for not having a daily commute to work. Not driving to work each day means that you use less fossil fuel and that your car emits fewer fumes.
- You can give yourself a raise. As a traditional employee, it was tough to get a raise or promotion. Not only did you have to impress your immediate boss, but that raise or promotion had to be approved by someone higher up in the food chain (likely the same exec who never met you in #3). As a freelancer, you can give yourself a raise whenever you like by either raising your rates or accepting more work.
- Clients are looking for you right now. How do I know this? Easy. I’ve had clients contact me (yes, recently) without me having to lift a finger. How did they find me? They were searching for freelancers, that’s how. If they found me, they could find you too if you built up your web presence.
- You can start part-time. I think people forget this when they think about becoming a freelancer. They tend to think in terms of being a freelancer or being a traditional employee. But there’s no reason that you can’t do both. You don’t have to quit your day job before you start freelancing. There are plenty of successful part-time freelancers out there.
- Freelancing gives you much-needed experience. If you’re waiting to get more experience before you start freelancing, you may want to think again. Freelancing can expose you to a wider variety of projects than you’d get to work on as a traditional employee. Because they work with a wide variety of clients, freelancers often get more experience more quickly than others in the same field.
- There’s no time like the present. I can’t promise you that tomorrow won’t have even better opportunities. I can’t even promise you that you’ll be successful if you start freelancing right now. What I do know is that you won’t succeed if you don’t ever start.
Do you think it’s a good time to be a freelancer?
Why, or why not?
Share your thoughts in the comments.
Image by ronnie44052