Growing up, many of us had parents who worked 40 or more hours a week, over the course of five or more days, at the same company, for the entirety of their careers. For them, that was the working life they knew because that’s how it was always done.
In 2015, however, it’s safe to say that the workforce has changed dramatically. The idea of staying at one job for your entire career has become archaic. Job boards, aggregators and search engines help job seekers find a wide variety of employment opportunities at breakneck speeds. Furthermore, the workforce is more educated than ever before—79 percent of Millennials, for instance, hold at least a bachelor’s degree—making candidates more attractive to potential employers, and the prospect of finding new work more accessible.
That said, in an economy where the average employee tenure is just 4.6 years, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, freelancing is one career path that seems to be growing. With technology allowing employees to work from nearly anywhere these days, a career in freelancing has never been easier to begin.
If you’re considering this career path, you’ll no doubt be asking yourself, “is freelancing right for me?” There are probably a number of other questions you’ll want answered as well. Understanding this, we’ve put together the five most common questions from candidates who are considering a career in freelancing along with some answers from our team:
- What is most appealing about freelancing?
For many the idea of not having someone to answer to is the characteristic of freelance work that is most appealing. If this is true for you, you might want to prepare yourself for a hard truth; freelance or not, you will never be free, entirely, of a “boss”. As a freelancer your source of income is dependent on your clients’ satisfaction, and you’ll have to answer them when work is inadequate or not up to speed. Essentially, they become your new boss. If that’s not making you sweat, freelance may be right for you.
- What do I have to offer?
If you’re considering stepping into the world of freelance, you’ll want to seriously consider what your skill set is. Remember, it’s easier to find work when you’re addressing an industry need, rather than trying to create a need for your skills and services in the marketplace. Is the problem your skills address a lasting one? Is it one that can eventually be automated? Successful freelancers will be able to meet lasting industry needs and won’t get derailed by newer technologies and trends.
- Is the time right?
If it were still 2008, it would be almost impossible to make a living as a freelancer. However, in 2015, with an economy that is improving at the tail end of a long recovery, the time couldn’t be better to take the plunge. Not only are hundreds of thousands of jobs being added to the economy each year, but employers are beginning to expand their budgets and take on initiatives they’ve been putting off for years. Furthermore, with the end of the year in site, companies are beginning to set their 2016 budgets, which means they’ll have even more bandwidth for requesting your services. The only question left to ask on this subject, is whether or not you’re going to let this opportunity pass you by? Don’t be late to the party.
- Am I interested in building a personal brand?
Building your personal brand, at first, can be a daunting task. You may be required to put together a portfolio, build a website to display it on, and begin finding ways to get your name out there. However, once you’ve begun the process, building your personal brand can be as rewarding as running your own business–because in essence, that is exactly what you’re doing. Furthermore, top-tier staffing agencies such as Onward Search, can help build your portfolio, advise on best practices, and even provide you with help paying for the conferences you’ll want to attend to improve upon your skills and brand. Successful freelancers are ready and excited to invest in themselves.
- Am I well established in my industry?
Many believe that freelancers must be well connected in their industries in order to be successful. This may be true if you’re trying to go it alone, however staffing companies have made it easier to establish a foothold in almost any industry. This will allow you to focus more on your skill sets and brand while putting the responsibility of making connections and finding opportunities in the hands of experienced recruiters.
Getting on your feet as a freelancer can be difficult to do on your own, but there’s no doubt that being your own boss and establishing your own brand is the most rewarding career path one could hope for. If you’re ready to get started, you might want to consider reaching out to a staffing agency like Onward Search.
We specialize in taking creative talent and giving them the means to be a freelancer, without the risk and uncertainty of going it alone. Want to learn more about how we can help you land your first project? Contact us today and we’ll put you in touch with a local office representative.