To most people, becoming a freelancer is something you do when you can’t get a “real job”. But to anyone who freelances, you know it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to keep your clients happy, while making sure the bills are paid (and you still have time to sleep each day — and eat).
I started Careful Cents, and my freelancing career, in June 2011 and have since grown this side gig into a full-fledged business, that includes several team members and monthly contributors.
So, when I was asked to speak on a freelancing panel for FinCon14, I of course said, “Yes”. Not only have I been to FinCon for the past 3 years (see all of my recaps here), but it’s been one of the biggest points for launching and growing my freelance writing + consulting business.
Speaking on a freelance panel
After spending 5 days in New Orleans, I’ve learned not to complain about the weather in Texas anymore. Why? Because NOLA is H.O.T. ya’ll. Like sweat rolling down your back, hair sticking to your neck, hard to breath, kind of hot. Seriously, I’m not cut out for that kind of stuff. #ineedmyAC
Anyways, back to why I was in New Orleans…Going to the conference this year, I had a completely different mindset than in past years since my business is in a whole new place now.
Up until last year, Careful Cents was just something I did on nights and weekends to earn extra money alongside my full-time accounting job, so I could pay off debt.
But this year, I hit the one year mark of being self-employed, and things felt…awkward, but in a good way. Like a child who hits puberty and encounters growing pains. They are a necessary part of growing but that doesn’t mean they’re pleasant.
That’s part of life and running a business though. You’ve got to #GetGutsy and go outside your comfort zone in order to grow, learn and become better.
After talking on the panel, Freelancing: A Better Way to Work, here are the top 3 reasons why freelancing is more secure than a traditional job.
1. A guaranteed job is a thing of the past
Up until a few decades ago, you were basically guaranteed a decent job — in your area of expertise — once you graduated college with your degree. Nowadays, you’re lucky if you can find a minimum wage job to pay the bills.
Seriously, my chef husband applied to Blockbuster (remember when those were on every corner?) and lost out to a guy who had a Bachelor’s degree. A Bachelor’s degree to stack and organize video rentals! Honestly, how are you supposed to compete with that?!
Well, you’re not. This is why freelancing is rapidly becoming the better solution to this “jobless” economy, and currently employs over 53 million Americans. AND that number is climbing more and more each day. Collectively, freelancers contribute more than $715 billion in freelance earnings to the national economy.
“Freelancing is the new normal.” — Sara Horowitz, Founder and Executive Director of the Freelancers Union
2. Cultivates more skills
When you apply for a traditional job, your resume generally lists of brief set of skills and tasks you can easily perform. With freelancing, however, you’ll cultivate a wide variety skills.
Many of which involve dealing with clients and customers, submitting work on time, handling A/R and A/P on a regular basis, as well as quality control and having a basic knowledge of technology.
After working 10 years at my small business accounting job, I thought I’d seen it all. But I was wrong. There’s no other job that prepares you for the real world like freelancing. As a freelancer, you’ll gain an unlimited amount of skills and experiences, that will ensure you’re successful in the real world.
3. Provides better diversification
You’ve likely heard what diversification means for investing, but did you know it applies to the types of income you have too? Freelancing provides a better sense of diversification for your finances, since not one person (or sole employer) is responsible for paying your salary.
The clients you have, the products you create, and the different types of projects you work on, means you’ll have a higher level of diversification to combat tough financial times.
In other words, instead of worrying about when your boss plans to downsized, you can sleep at night knowing that even if several clients ended their contracts, you’d still be able to pay your bills and feed your family. That kind of security is priceless!
Good eats and fun peeps
Aside from the business meetings, awesome sessions, and happy hours that made up the conference, I did have a little bit of time to enjoy the sites. And let me tell you, NOLA has some of the most amazing food EVER!
I even got to eat at one of Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants in the French Quarter. #drooling
I call myself all kinds of names, from solopreneur, to business owner, to entrepreneur, but one thing that I’m truly passionate about doing (and being) is freelancing. On top of these three main benefits, there’s also the freedom and flexibility that comes with working for yourself.
Are you a freelancer? What are the benefits you enjoy most?
OR, have you thought about freelancing but don’t know where to start? Schedule a time to pick my brain!