The nature of work is changing fast. Once upon a time, you got qualified, found a job and then worked at that job until you either retired or dropped dead at your desk. Nowadays, it’s often said that people will change careers seven times in their lives. And in 2015, 32% of working age Australians did some form of freelance work, according to UpWork.com.
According to pretty much everyone, freelance work is on the rise. In fact, freelance work is becoming so common that many people are doing it because they lack the option of full-time work. In the future, freelance might become the only option. So, are you cut out for the freelance life? Here are some questions to ask yourself before giving it a crack.
1. What industry do I want to work in?
While freelancing is on the rise overall, it’s pretty specific to certain industries. If you want to be a teacher, doctor, lawyer, nurse, chef or a tradie, you’re probably going to have a single employer and a very regular working schedule. Other careers, such as journalism, graphic design, web design, writing, photography, the arts, consultancy and IT are more geared towards the freelance future. So whether you can become a freelancer or a full-timer will very much depend on your industry.
2. Are there barriers to me working full time?
There are loads of factors that lead people into the freelance life. Maybe you work part time in hospitality or retail and your creative practice is your freelance job. Maybe you’re working out some mental health stuff and freelance work suits you better. Maybe you really like having a whole bunch of different jobs and clients purely for the variety. Maybe you’re a stay-at-home parent and you don’t have time to do fulltime work. Or maybe you just like travelling as much as possible and you want to freelance while you’re on the road. Maybe you can relate a little bit to all of the above. That’s cool–full-time work isn’t the only option anymore.
3. Do I like working with others?
Freelancing has become super common because digital technology makes us so connected. We can easily use tools like Messenger, email, Dropbox and Skype to get our work done and communicate with clients and bosses. On one hand, this can make things extremely liberating–you get to wear what you want, work at home and create your own schedule. But on the other hand, it can be severely isolating. Freelancers sometimes miss the workplace culture that comes with a full-time gig.
4. Am I self-motivated enough?
The thing about freelancing is that you’re the boss. If you want to sleep until noon, no one’s going to ask why you’re late. On the flipside, it can be a slippery slope to laziness, bad habits and unproductive days. If there’s one quality that every freelancer needs, it’s that you’ve got to be highly self-motivated.
Once you’ve answered these four questions, it’s time to set up your portfolio, network and score yourself some clients.