The Life Lessons of Freelancing

Freelancing is, in my opinion, a career that most people should try in some capacity at least once in their lives. Take, for example, me. As a writer first and foremost, that’s how I got my start in freelancing. The Internet was young, and so was I (just finishing high school). Now, it’s hard to believe that here I am, still young, with 15+ years of freelancing experience already! It’s been a character builder, and a great time management teacher. Here’s what I’ve learned so far…

Keep your freelancing wits about you.

Freelancing is a career that literally is what you make of it, and to make freelancing worthwhile, you’ve got to do a decent amount of research. Take it from someone who knows: a job advertisement might look excellent, but it might be misleading, extremely low-paying, and just all-around unreasonable.

Save yourself from a bunch of potentially problematic scenarios by looking up each and every person/company/platform you might even marginally be interested in working with/for at some point. Yes, this can be time-consuming in itself, but it’s a necessity. Remember, though – not all reviews are, in themselves, authentic. It’s an unfortunate fact that some pay others to post said reviews, be they good or bad, so tread carefully.

Watch how you spend (and earn) your money.

This could be said with everything in life, it’s true. However, with the many, many opportunities in what has become known as the “gig economy” freelancing can often be a playground for scams. After all, this is a career that (most of the time) comes with no health insurance, no pension plans, contracts that can be broken as quickly as they are made – you get the idea.

Unless you have passive incomes streams (like being an affiliate marketer of some sort) you won’t earn anything if you don’t work. With niches changing regularly, the job hunt can be almost continuous. Thinking about it in a positive light (as we must) it’s almost akin to playing a video game, except the score is real-life income.

Some “employers” count on freelancers taking their low-paying jobs because, after all, isn’t something better than nothing? Not in my book! Never, ever, EVER is it okay to earn a couple of dollars (or, I hate to even say it, cents) per hour. Don’t fall into those sorts of freelancing traps.

Another thing: PayPal is a preferred payment method for many. However, nothing is more disheartening in the freelancing world than working hard on a project, only to find that a chunk of the pay has evaporated due to transaction fees. Make sure you only work for clients that cover these costs themselves, so that you can get whole, happy paychecks!

Never forget that work isn’t what matters most.

It can be easy to lose yourself in your work – after all, there are always bills to pay. Then, before you know it, weeks, months, even years have gone by, and you’ve missed vacations, events, relationships, all because you prioritized your career. Yes, it’s important to create financial stability, yet it’s the emotions, the experiences, the people that make like the treasure that it’s meant to be. The productive freelancer is the balanced freelancer – strive to achieve that, and the puzzle pieces of life can start to fit together beautifully!

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