If you’re a freelancer, then you’ve probably already engaged in some level of risk. (Especially if you’ve quit your “day job” and are now relying on your freelancing business to support yourself.)
Even though most freelancers engage in some degree of business risk, there are certain freelancers who have a higher tolerance for risk than others. In fact, a few freelancers even seem to be attracted to risk. You might call them “daredevil” freelancers.
You know the type — whenever there’s a new program, tool, or business opportunity this freelancer is sure to be found in the thick of it. Whenever there is a new idea, they jump quickly, often without looking carefully first.
So, how does business risk-taking affect the typical freelance business? Is risk-taking a key to business success, or a surefire means to crash and burn?
Advantages to Taking Risks
Taking risks definitely has its advantages. Some benefits to business risk-taking include:
- Those who adopt a successful new technology trend or program early (early adopters) tend to benefit the most from it (practically and financially). Think about those individuals who wrote the first blogs. Of course, not all of them stuck with it, but many of those who did are top bloggers today.
- Early adoption allows a business to develop an expertise in something before the market becomes glutted with experts. Expertise is often based on length of experience — the longer one has used something, the more expert he or she is perceived to be. By default, early adopters are more likely to become experts.
- Early adopters often have access to “perks” such as charter memberships or even product freebies that are unavailable to those who come on board with a product or service later in the marketing cycle.
- Choosing a technology or trend before everyone else can give a company the reputation of “being on top of things.“
There’s also a downside to taking business risks.
Disadvantages to Taking Risks
Some disadvantages to business risk-taking include:
- Early adopters are more likely to be caught in fads, or even become victims of scams. Since the amount of information available about new technologies, products or services may be limited; an early adopter may be caught in a scam without realizing it at first.
- Taking the wrong business risk can cost a freelancing business a significant amount of time and money that they may not really be able to afford. It takes time and usually money to implement something new. If that something turns out to be a fad or useless, then all that money and time is wasted.
- The technology or program may not be fully developed. Many early adopters may find themselves in the role of unwitting product testers (which may require them to spend additional time getting an item to work properly).
- A company that adopts a new technology or business opportunity that is later shown to be a fad or worse, a scam, may look foolish to its clients and customers.
While there’s no guaranteed way to always pick a winning trend, there are some guidelines that can help.
Some Things To Consider Before Taking a Risk
Should you jump on board with a new technology or business opportunity?
The trick, of course, is to avoid taking business risks with fads and instead invest in long-term trends. That’s easier said than done, though.
While there’s no way to know for sure if a particular technology or business opportunity will become widely used, there are five questions freelancers should ask before they take a risk:
- Can I afford this technology/product/opportunity?
- Do I have the time to learn it and/or upgrade my systems?
- Is the company/people sponsoring this reputable?
- Is there a real need for this technology/program/product?
- How difficult is the technology/program/product to use?
Getting solid answers to these questions may require a lot of thought and research on your part, but doing so will help to ensure you are making a smart move in taking a risk.
Share Your Experiences With Risk-Taking
Do you consider yourself a daredevil freelancer? Why, or why not?
Have your experiences with business risk-taking been mostly positive or mostly negative?
Share your stories.
Top photo originally by jurvetson, customized by FreelanceFolder