Shannon Byrne is the Chief Content Office at Cloud Peeps, an online freelancer marketplace, similar to oDesk and Elance. She's the genius behind asongaday.co, and she knows what it's like to be a freelancer. What can be learned from those who work for none but themselves and lack the advantages (and disadvantages) of the common organization? What do freelancers have to say about what they do? What's it like? Here are a few of the takeaways Shannon and her friends shared on the Cloud Peeps blog.
1. It's about control
Sometimes, we're just not motivated to do things the way our employer wants them done. Paul Jarvis says he didn't like the way his company treated clients, so he quit. He now has control over his clients' satisfaction and he's doing great!
2. It can be lonely
You have the freedom to work where you want to work, if you work remotely. However, you don't have that conventional office team around you every day. If you don't find a way to keep in touch with people, it can be like solitary confinement. Find a way to stay in the loop with people, whether with meetup.com, eating lunch with a buddy once a week, or video chatting with your friend in Korea at the end of the day. On a related note, you can't learn things from people who aren't around, so finding a way to get answers can be tricky. Keep other freelancers in your Skype list or in your phone contacts and rely on each other when you need it. Keep those ties strong.
It really, really helps to keep your work and your personal life separated. If you can, keep all your work-related stuff in one room and everything else in other parts of your house or apartment. Try not to keep your personal cell phone around when you're working. In general, just keep your work life and your personal life separate. You'll start to get disappointed in your productivity if you don't.
4. Plan Carefully
Freelancers are clear that when you're on to something, you might end up with more work than you can handle. Be sure to slow down. You can even work part-time to get used to your new clients and avoid overbooking yourself.
5. It's normal to need more clients
Just to clarify, you probably won't be able to overbook yourself at first. That privilege is usually reserved for entrepreneurs and creatives who find a way to stand out. Simply listing yourself on a website probably isn't enough, unless you can get by on a teeny sum of cash every week. On the other hand, there are freelancers who move to places where their hard-earned money will buy more. You have options.
These are some interesting answers for anyone considering the freelance lifestyle. Be sure to read the full article if you still have questions. When you're ready to get started, find the best way to secure your first client.