Finding a career that suits your interests, lifestyle, and income requirements can be a challenge. For some people, the idea of working from home sounds beyond perfect, with the opportunity to wear pajama pants all day and surf the internet. 🙋🏽♀️
However, working on freelance writing gigs from home comes with its fair share of downsides as well. Before you make the leap and quit your day job, here are a few things to consider to know if freelance writing is right for you.
How do you know?
Let’s look at some factors you should consider when deciding whether you are a good candidate for freelance work. Here’s a quick preview.
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Now, let’s dig deeper into each point.
Self-employment can offer flexibility and autonomy that traditional employment does not always provide. However, it also comes with certain trade-offs and challenges that individuals should consider before making the transition.
One significant drawback is the loss of benefits typically offered by employers. As a self-employed individual, you are responsible for sourcing and paying for your own health insurance, retirement savings, and other benefits. This can be costly, particularly if you have pre-existing health conditions or require specialized coverage.
Another potential downside is the lack of paid time off. While traditional employees may receive vacation, sick, and personal days, as a self-employed individual, you may not have the same level of flexibility to take time off. This can be particularly challenging if you are a sole proprietor, as taking time away from work can mean a loss of income.
Additionally, while some self-employed individuals may be able to generate passive income streams, the majority of your income will likely come from active work. This means that you will only be paid for the time you put in, rather than receiving a consistent paycheck regardless of your level of effort. This can make budgeting and financial planning more challenging, particularly if you experience fluctuations in demand for your services or products.
2. Motivation, Determination, and Procrastination
The first question to ask yourself about working from home is how much of a self-starter are you? Are you able to be motivated to get up early, start working, and stay focused? Doing online research can be incredibly distracting and you will need to have the willpower to stay on task. You may not be making hourly money, so getting projects done will be critical for your financial health.
Another question to consider is how prone you are to procrastination. For people who find deadlines stifling, choosing your own deadlines with freelance can be a liberating experience. However, if you find yourself unable to commit to working without a deadline hanging over your head, you may not be successful. Be cautious about what kind of freelance jobs you pursue and whether they are suited to your personality type.
Along with self-motivation comes your determination in the face of adversity. Freelance writing can be difficult in that you are not guaranteed work and may be turned down for jobs that you feel qualified for. Pursuing forums and online job postings on a daily basis is critical to your success in this field. You will have to seek out new opportunities on a daily basis to keep yourself employed.
Being an inspired and creative person can be a significant asset when working as a freelancer. As a freelancer, you are responsible for generating your own ideas and producing original content that engages your audience. This requires a level of creativity, passion, and drive that is not always necessary in traditional employment.
If you are an inspired person, ideas may flow from you naturally and without much effort. This can be an advantage in freelance work, as you can generate new ideas quickly and efficiently. However, even if you do not consider yourself particularly creative or inspired, it is still possible to develop these skills through practice and dedication.
One key trait that is necessary for success as a freelancer is a love of the written word. Freelance work often involves writing content for a variety of clients and platforms, which requires a strong command of language and the ability to communicate effectively. This means that you should enjoy the process of writing and take pride in producing high-quality content that engages and informs your audience.
To be successful as a freelancer, you must also be able to come up with endless, unique topics that are relevant to your clients and audience. This requires a level of curiosity and a willingness to research and explore new ideas. Additionally, it is essential to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in your industry, so you can provide fresh and relevant content that resonates with your readers.
While being an inspired person is not necessarily a requirement for success as a freelancer, it can certainly be an advantage. By cultivating a love of writing, developing your creativity and curiosity, and staying current with industry trends, you can position yourself as a sought-after freelance writer who produces original and engaging content.
It is important to consider how comfortable you are working in isolation. Freelance writing often involves spending long hours working alone, often from the comfort of your own home or workspace.
If you are the type of person who enjoys social interaction and gets lonely or depressed after extended periods of isolation, freelance writing may not be the best fit for you. However, it is worth noting that many successful internet entrepreneurs and freelance writers are socially awkward or introverted and prefer the option to work from home.
Regardless of your social preferences, it is essential to be able to stay focused and driven when working as a freelance writer. This requires discipline and the ability to set clear goals and priorities for your work. You must also be able to manage your time effectively, particularly if you are juggling multiple projects or clients.
One potential strategy for staying motivated and focused is to set up a routine or schedule for your workday. This can help you stay on track and ensure that you are making progress on your projects. Additionally, taking breaks and engaging in self-care activities can help you stay energized and focused throughout the day.
5. Income Stability
One exceedingly important thing to consider before going freelance is how much income you need to live. Make a budget to determine exactly what the dollar amount is for you to maintain your lifestyle. Will you have to make significant cutbacks when freelancing? Will you be able to stay afloat in months when the work is not as abundant? Make sure you will have backup plans for funding your groceries in times when work is not as plentiful.
Freelance writers become their own accountants, as well. This means you will need to figure out your own taxes at the end of the year and pay them to the IRS. No more spending all of your pay, or you will end up with a significant bill come April.
So, Is Freelancing For You?
While the idea of working from home may seem attractive to many, it is essential to consider whether self-employment is right for you. Some of the key factors to consider include your motivation, determination, and ability to handle procrastination.
Freelance writers need to be creative, able to come up with unique ideas and topics consistently, and able to work independently for extended periods. Additionally, since freelancers do not have the benefit of company-provided benefits and stable income, it’s essential to have backup plans for funding and tax planning.
I suggest carefully considering all of these factors before deciding whether freelance writing is the right career choice for you.
This post was originally published in January 2016; Updated April 2023