3 Things You Need to Know about Full-Time Freelancing
Making the transition from part-time freelancer to full-time writer can be a bit challenging. There’s a lot that goes into any decision to leave the world of “traditional” work and start freelancing full-time. As you get ready to leave your job behind and embrace the world of full-time freelancing, here are three things you need to know:
1. You’re Always Looking for the Next Gig
I’ve built my freelance business around the idea of securing regular gigs. They don’t always pay as well as one-off gigs, but they are often long-term and provide a certain level of security. However, even though I have several gigs providing regular content, I still remain on the lookout for the next gig. I don’t actively search for jobs, but I do remain open for others to approach me.
The reality of the situation in full-time freelancing is that you don’t know if one of your steady gigs will suddenly disappear (this has happened to me three times in the last 11 years). If you rely more heavily on one-time gigs and projects, you really need to be active in looking for the next gig.
I often integrate new, higher-paying gigs while dropping older, lower-paying gigs, or I make room for one-time projects that can give my emergency fund a little boost. Even if you aren’t applying for gigs all the time, you do need to be open to the possibilities and make room for something extra, just to make sure you can shore up your finances.
2. You Have to Make Up for Missed Benefits
You might not really understand how valuable your work benefits are before you switch to full-time freelancing. Once you’re on your own, you need to put together your own benefits package. If you have a partner with benefits, it can help matters. My ex’s benefits are amazing. I don’t have access to them for myself, but it’s a big help that my son can stay on his health insurance and receive dental and vision coverage.
I do need to pay for my own health insurance and cover other benefits that some employers offer, like life insurance and disability insurance. You also need to consider how you will manage vacation and retirement. When you’re into full-time freelancing, you aren’t able to receive a match for your retirement account, and you aren’t paid for vacation – you have to work while you travel if you don’t do a lot ahead of time to prepare. There’s a lot of freedom and flexibility with freelancing, but you have to be ready for to make up for the benefits you no longer receive from an employer.
3. Self-Motivation is Key
A “real” job offers external motivation. You have to be there at a certain time, punching in. When engaged in full-time freelancing you are responsible for your own work schedule. No one will tell you when to get up, and when to get your work done. Instead, you need to find the motivation in yourself. It’s nice, sometimes, because if you feel unwell or unmotivated, you might be able to take a morning off, or go on a day retreat. However, if you don’t ever feel like working and you don’t get your writing done, eventually you will lose your income streams.
Be ready to sometimes focus on your work even when you don’t feel like it. No one is going to “make” you get to work, but you won’t succeed if you aren’t ready to push yourself.