Across the globe, the number of freelancers is on a rapid surge upward, and Pakistan is not far behind. Amid a turbulent job market, most people take up freelancing as a side job with a potential to turn it into a full-fledged business.
The freelance revolution is evident from an independent study commissioned by the Freelancers Union and the recently-merged Elance-Odesk. The study reported that more than 1 in 3 Americans (53 million) are now freelancing. The most striking role of the Freelancers Union is its support for entrepreneurship i.e. many of its members are classified as small business instead of line workers.
Of the five freelancers’ segments identified by the study, 5% (2.8 million) are
“Freelance Business Owners”
Where an inverse relationship exists between full-time employment and freelancing, a rather direct relationship is manifested when freelancers transition to entrepreneurship. As more years are added to a freelance experience, entrepreneurial ventures also pick up. Freelancing is even regarded as more secure in comparison to the traditional 9-5 work arrangement.
But what actually does a freelancer get that makes this side job an in-between step on the path to becoming a full-time entrepreneur?
Though starting up a business venture while working as a full-time freelancer is hard, here are 4 reasons why you shouldn’t step over a freelancing career but build upon it.
You Gain More Time
Contrary to a day job (40 hours plus commute), when you freelance, you get the time to start building multiple sources of income. You can set your own schedule that adds the flavor of flexibility, thereby taking up much less time than your traditional day job.
You Get Relevant Skills and Experience
Many times your day job doesn’t teach you the skills you need to become an entrepreneur. With freelancing you get the opportunity to build up the knowledge and practical experience you need. When you work for multiple clients, you work in a bright spectrum to draw on the huge amount of knowledge required to launch your business.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that no other job prepares you for your entrepreneurial dreams like freelancing does.
You Achieve Self-Discipline
We all know we are far from perfect when it comes to possessing brutal self-discipline. When you are a freelancer, you don’t have to be at your desk at any particular time, and you don’t have a manager overseeing your tasks, but you do have clients and deadlines that push you to develop better organizational skills.
You might have legitimate worries that keep you from staying motivated and productive; however, as a freelancer, you develop better work habits that give you the strength to keep going even if you don’t see instant results.
You Build an Audience
From the very outset, keep the audience-building perspective in mind and work for multiple people instead of a single client. Your online footprint when associated with your entrepreneurial dreams can bring a big chunk of traffic your way through the professional showcasing of your portfolio.
Your strong online presence and testimonials turn your audience into potential clients who ultimately buy your products and services.
Now let’s tackle the big question:
When is it the right time to move from being a freelancer to being an entrepreneur?
The following markers signify it’s time to make a leap.
Your Projects are Exponentially Growing
Your projects are getting a life of their own. They have the potential to generate additional income either immediately after their completion or subsequently down the road. You are earning a decent living through your main freelance business and your side projects consistently earn you additional cash.
Because you are now easily managing cash streams with balancing the time different projects require, you have stepped onto the road of entrepreneurship. For example many writers or bloggers write books or sell their courses to their readers.
Your Confidence is Increasing
Since you have been handling a consistent stream of projects offering high quality services to your long-term clients, you have tested the waters not just once but several times. The developed reputation that is driving more clients your way has given you the confidence to handle any challenge thrown at you.
You no longer have the what-ifs running through your mind – Am I sure I can do this? , but without hesitation, your faith pops up screaming out loud that I’m capable to make things work, no matter what. The missing what-ifs are a top indicator that you’re ready to make the leap.
You Don’t Intend to See a Cap on Your Income
Freelancers trade their time for money, and when they feel a project is not worth their time even if it’s paying well, they let the client go in order to make room for valuable ones to come into their service sphere.
If work picks up with high paying, but troubling clients, you can easily choose to let them go. This is simply because other projects are enough to deliver a consistent stream of cash to make payments for bills and services you hire (paying for delegating tasks); therefore, you are all set to make a transition to entrepreneurship.
You Want a Strategic Spin on Your Time
Working for someone else makes you feel your time is not your own but is rather “purchased.” Your desire to own your time grows so much more that it makes it difficult for you to spend it on clients or projects that aren’t worth your precious time. For example there are various administrative tasks you are assigning to someone else to focus more on the core business (high paying, long-term clients).
When you are easily managing time and also taking up the task of networking and building connections, understand that the hour to make the leap has arrived.
You are Ready to Show Yourself to the World
Working as a freelancer does make your profile shine, but not with all glory. You’ve stayed behind the scenes and diligently worked to bring to the surface your profitable and meaningful venture; you no longer feel the need to hide from your current client base.
It doesn’t feel hard to escape the sense of hiding anymore. You feel confident and proud to appear to the world.
Look at these success stories and answer for yourself:
Is now the right time for you to transition from freelancer to entrepreneur?