Yesterday I was browsing Google when an article entitled Part-Time Freelancing – Is It Worth it? caught my attention. Being a full-time freelancer myself, I stopped to think about that title for a moment, wondering what it would be like to freelance only part-time. For many, the limited pay and other factors associated with part-time work don’t outweigh the time invested, so I understand how someone could be hesitant to work less than full-time.
But whether you decide to work full-time or part-time, there’s no doubt that freelancing can be a tough business in some ways, while it can be extremely rewarding in others. Depending on your work style, this business may or may not be something you enjoy doing. Only you can decide in the end.
What’s so hard about freelancing?
According to SimplyHired.com, the average salary for freelance jobs is $68,000. Here are the earnings across the board, with the graph provided exclusively by SimplyHired.com:
Like me you might be thinking, “Wow, these salaries seem decent – I could live off of that kind of money easily.” Even if you made only $40,000 per year and were below average, you could still easily survive.
You could even calculate the hourly rate you would need in order to make that salary. Let’s take a look. Working backwards from $40,000, assume that you work a full 40 hours each week and you want to find the hourly rate. First, take the yearly salary and divide by the number of weeks in a year:
|($40,000 per year) ÷ (52 weeks per year) =
||$769.23 per week
Then take the $769.23 and divide by 40 hours per week:
|($769.23 per week) ÷ (40 hours per week) =
||$19.23 per hour
As you can see – the numbers are simple. You need $19.00 per hour on average to make your $40,000. It seems easy enough, right?
But are a majority of freelance jobs paying around $19.00 per hour? The freelance work that I have seen on the Internet doesn’t usually pay $19.00, and I know other contractors who are willing to work for much less. Corporate contracts pay a higher amount of money, but landing those bigger projects does not happen all the time – and it takes time and experience in order to land those types of projects. A majority of these contracts will go to those who are more experienced.
The point I’m making is that money doesn’t come easy in this business.
2. Work Lifestyle
In my opinion, if money is not an issue for you, then the daily routine and the hours you work could be the deal breaker.
As a freelancer you will need to spend time bidding on projects. And when you do get a job – you will likely find obstacles along the way that require your time in finding solutions to issues related to your project. Over time, this can add up – and you may end up working countless hours that you’re not getting paid for. For example, assume that you’re a web designer whose client needs a custom program used on their website. If you’re not familiar with the custom program – will you take the time to learn how to do it in order to improve your skills? How many hours will you need to take offline just to learn the required functionality? Or if you’re able to charge your client for those hours, what if it takes much longer than you originally planned?
3. Client Satisfaction
I have found that this is one of the most challenging factors in freelancing. I’ve heard stories from my past clients about their previous contractors who didn’t communicate well or failed to communicate at all. This shows that communication is key when dealing with your clients. For those of you who are not the best communicators, you may want to ask yourself if you’re committed to working on your weaknesses in this area, especially if you’re going to be doing it full-time. You need to understand that working with people and managing relationships takes a lot of time and energy.
The Good Stuff
If you think you have what it takes to manage the challenges mentioned earlier, then you will be sure to like all the rewards of freelancing. Here are some of my favorites:
If you enjoy being in control of your schedule AND your life, freelancing is a great opportunity. Especially if you’ve been working for someone else for a long time, you may have forgotten what it’s like for you to be in control of your own life. Just think about all of the things that you could accomplish during the day when you get to run the show!
2. Learn About Yourself And Your Work Style
Having more time also opens up doors for other areas of your life. You will likely fall into a new routine that includes a little bit of everything – working very hard, being lazy, spending time with family, exercising, running errands, answering phone calls, and spending hours at the computer. This will be an opportunity to learn A LOT about yourself and your work style. For example, I found that I enjoy exercising during the middle of the day in order to take my mind off of work. I also learned that I like working in short time periods with short breaks, so now I work longer hours but I have tons of opportunity to get my goals accomplished.
2. The Satisfaction Of Helping Others
When I was working as a lender at a bank back in 2006, I never really understood the true satisfaction of helping others. I’m guessing this was because I was mostly concerned with my own success at that time, and I didn’t really have a chance to help others they way that I wanted. I knew that I liked helping others in a positive way, but I simply didn’t understand how to do it because I worked all day.
Some people would agree that in life, one of the greatest satisfactions is to be able to serve others. As a freelancer, you will have the opportunity to help others in a way that you like to help them, not to mention that you will get paid for it! Soon you will notice that money becomes less and less important although you will be making more and more money, all because you earn a reputation as someone who understands the needs of his/her clients. Once you learn to harness the skills that you have, and then use them to serve others, life becomes very much enjoyable because you are able to help someone everyday that needs it.
3. Business Skills
Even if you have a full-time job, in my opinion it’s worth your while to start a part-time business. For me, gaining valuable business experience is the most valuable knowledge that I can get, even more than having money and freedom. An education can never be taken away, and you can always use it to make more money if you want.
As an employee, although you may hold a job in marketing, web design, or advertising – you simply aren’t able to view your responsibilities in the same way as a business owner (in most cases). A business owner needs to make use of several different skills compared to the employee who gets paid to specialize at their specific job. More importantly, a business owner will feel the burden when times get tough, which will provide the motivation needed to keep afloat. And chances are that, as a business owner, you will feel more obligated to the business because it pays the bills and feed your family.
Get Started Now!
If you’re thinking about starting a freelance business either full-time or part-time, I would highly recommend starting now and doing it part-time, especially if you currently have a full-time job and no other source of income. Starting a part-time business will give you the benefit of learning while you’re earning. You will have the opportunity to speak with potential clients, setup banking accounts, and also learn how to deal with clients. The most important part is that you get some practice!
You are the only one in your life who can make change, and you are ultimately responsible for your own happiness. Please make the best of any opportunities that are waiting for you!
Best of luck, and thank you for reading!