I saw this question online over the weekend and if this if you’re asking if freelancing is worth your time, you’re not asking the right question.
Why You Shouldn’t Ask If Freelancing Is Worth Your Time
I don’t believe in stupid questions. I understand why people ask if freelancing is worth their time. I mean, there are people that ask if changing their diet and beginning to workout is worth their time. There are people that ask if fixing their relationship is worth their time. People equate time to all sorts of things.
I do, too, because I have OCD and I am fixated on time.
Personally, I must be very careful with how I view the concept of time.
But…you shouldn’t ask if freelancing is worth your time…and here is why.
- No matter what you choose to do to make money, there is no such thing as an overnight success. Unless you’re a trust fund recipient and have the gift of funding that you don’t have to pay back…or someone gives you a generous financial gift (not loan, a gift), it does not matter what you choose to do, you aren’t going to wake up tomorrow and be a six or seven-figure success. The chance of that happening is ridiculously slim. I mean, even if you play the lottery and win, you could be like this poor bastard and drown with your ticket still in your goddamn wallet. As far as business is concerned, any business, it’s like having a newborn. You need to be in it for a minimum of two years and give it your all (just like a baby…), even if it is a side-hustle and you are limited as to what you can do, before you decide whether you are successful.
- What is success to one person may be different to another. My definition of success has changed from year to year. By the time I turned 40, I broke every professional goal I set. I did every job I ever wanted to do. But I started working from home for different reasons than most people. My business was designed to support what I need out of life as a person, as a mom, and as a wife. Now, at 43 (October 2021), I am setting much bigger goals for 2022 because my life has changed since Uriel is more independent (although he will still never leave home) and my other two sons are adults. Uriel is back in school. Bull has his own things. I just have more time. I always made enough to support us comfortably. Now, I can do additional things. The business can grow now that I have an extra set of hands with one of my best frans’ and graphic designer extraordinaire on board. So, if you compare what you can accomplish with your life facts in play to what I had or have going on, you could be in for a bad time.
- The time is going to pass regardless of whether you do something hard and/or productive. You might as well use it. Your other option is to sit around in the future kicking yourself and asking what if or being bitter talking about how it isn’t possible and accusing people like me of lying about what we do. And then I have to write posts like this about you.
Okay, so then what should you ask? Don’t worry – I gotchu!
What Do You Actually Want to Do?
Let me tell yall…there is nothing worse on the planet than being stuck doing a job you hate…especially when you own the business. I am not speaking from experience. When you start planning for a business, make a list of what you do not want to do. I want this to be a list of things you hate.
These are the things you will not do. I don’t care how much money you’re offered. Let me tell you about the only except I made. I spent yeeeaarrsss as an Executive Assistant and I was very good at my job. I had zero interest in being a Virtual Assistant. I don’t like being on the phone. More power to anyone interested in it. I’m just not. Of course, I talk to my clients on the phone. I have meetings with them. I help them. I supposed to some degree, all of us are VAs to our clients because we virtually assist them. Anyway, I helped a client I won’t name by updating their online virtual assistant career course. I won’t name them because I don’t enjoy being a VA. I just happen to be very good at Executive Assistant level work. I write a lot of textbooks. I edit a lot…so I was in a position to help.
Make a list of what you really want to do. Today, as my friend and I sat together working, her husband said never in a million years did he think people could really make a living doing what we do.
He knew it was possible because he knew I did it…but I’m not sure he knew the depth of the work until she started working with me.
So, spend time thinking about the things you hate and the things you really want to do. Make those lists.
Are You Ready to Devote the Time You Can Devote?
I know that not everyone can start freelancing or otherwise working from home full-time. I know this because I didn’t start full-time, either. I had two jobs, three kids, a husband, and a puppy. Starting this venture was basically job #3. An object in motion is more likely to stay in motion.
I know it gets frustrating when things don’t seem to take off right away. I know that from experience, but what I stated above about two years (minimum) for a business? That’s a statistic from the SBA. It’s not me making things up.
Make a schedule of some kind and stick to it. For me, it was a lot of early mornings, late nights, and weekends when the kids were busy. It was getting rid of distractions: less social media, less TV. You are your best friend in this journey and your worst enemy. You are the person that decides whether you can do this.
Are You Risk Averse?
Freelancing or starting a business of any kind (and freelancing IS a business) isn’t without its risks. Of course, there’s the risk of: what if it doesn’t work? What if no one hires you? The fact is that this is probably more of just a worry that stops you from taking action. I felt this way also about my business. The best course of action against this is to do something anyway. I took a $15 gig off of Upwork just to get some feedback. I moved on from there. It helped my confidence and getting the feedback was beneficial because it showed someone took a chance on me. there are bigger risks, though, that we all face.
- What if you end up with a shitty client that you can’t get along with? I’ve had this happen a couple of times.
- What if a client refuses to pay? I’ve had this happen twice. Once for $10 (I didn’t bother to chase that down; it wasn’t through Upwork). Once for $300 (also not through Upwork) and I got my lawyer involved. I ended up with rights to the book.
- What if a client hates your work and demands a refund?
- What if your work slows down around the holidays?
- What if you end up with so much work and you have a traditional job too and you’re struggling to balance it all?
- What if you’re stressed out?
- What if your spouse isn’t supportive?
- What if a prospective client is stalking you?
- What if you hire another contractor to help you with overflow and they really suck?
Those are just some of the risks you could face. Every business has risk involved. But you know what? The nice thing about freelancing of any kind is that you can start with your internet connection, whatever computer you have (or have access to), and whatever time you have (because you can take only the amount of clients you can handle).
So, don’t ask yourself if freelancing is worth your time. Ask yourself the right questions. Also, I want you to do one last thing…think about your future goals.
What do you want out of your future? I always wanted to be available for Uriel since he is nonverbal. I always wanted to be able to take my three sons to do things…and we can. I wanted to go with my husband and do things during the day. I just wanted the freedom away (mostly) from the clock. And I have that now (I try to keep a schedule – I work a lot around Uriel’s school schedule as much as I can…lupus and my fatigue doesn’t always allow it, but…with a traditional job, I’d be so tired, I don’t even know if I could work at all right now.).