Depending on who you listen to, millennials are, according to the Freelancers Union, either flocking to freelance work or, according to Fortune magazine, avoiding it in large numbers. No matter who's right, many experts predict that half of the workforce by 2020 will be freelancers and most of those will be millennials. The internet along with advanced technology is turning the tide, allowing people to work from almost anywhere on the planet with a ton of flexibility. Freelancing is the future, but do you have what it takes to become successful at it? Fortunately for us, many of the traits we need to succeed are already ingrained. We grew up with technology and the digital world is second nature to us. Take a look at the following traits to see if you have what it takes.
Do You Have a Marketable Skill?
First things first. What can you do that people will pay for? Are you highly skilled at writing, graphic design, system administration, marketing, social media, project management, accounting or web development? Do you need to take a class or two to solidify your skill set? There are lots of freelance job opportunities as long as you fill a need.
Are You Focused?
OK, I admit this is one of the traits I fall a bit short on. Average attention spans are shorter than they were just a few years ago. We're used to instant information. Freelancing means focusing on the work at hand and getting it done. If you don't, you won't get paid. It's as simple as that. If you want to freelance and find yourself struggling to focus, there are programs and techniques that can help you out. Asana is a project management program to help you stay on track. Google Calendar is another tool you can use to stay focused. Many freelancers use time as a motivator. One technique is to work a period of 50 minutes and take a 10-minute break. You can check your social media accounts during your break. Periodically scheduled breaks, in fact, increase productivity.
Can You Multi-Task?
Chances are, you're great at it. We've been multi-tasking almost from birth. As a freelancer, you'll not only have to find clients, invoice, get paid, pay taxes and a zillion other things, you'll also have to complete your work and meet tight deadlines.
Multi-tasking can be difficult, however, if you commit to more work than you can comfortably deliver. Over time you'll hit your stride and know exactly how much work you can take on, but at first it's easy to take on everything that comes your way and have some sleepless nights.
Can You Get Back Up After a Setback?
Setbacks can come from a number of sources. A client doesn't pay you, you underestimate the work involved and end up earning 10 cents an hour, you can't please a particular client, your printer dies and on and on. There will be setbacks. It's how well you bounce back that proves whether or not you're a good freelancer.
Can You Handle the Slow Times?
How true the "It's either feast or famine" saying is for freelancers. There'll be times when you have more work than you can handle and other times where you sit and wait. Of course, as a freelancer and owner of your own small business, which is what freelancers are, you always have marketing, billing, paperwork, taxes and correspondence to do, but you can also take the time to enhance your skills. If you can find productive ways to handle slow times, you've won the battle.
What do you think? Do you have what it takes to be a freelancer?