A lot of people dream about leaving their day jobs – I know that I’m one of them. And one of the most popular routes that people take when they leave their job is to become a freelancer or a consultant. While building up a solid freelance business can help you leave your job, does it really provide the freedom of leaving the rat race? Let’s take a look…
The Perks of Freelancing
There are so many perks when it comes to freelancing. Just look at awesome stories from people like Tom at Leaving Work Behind or Matt at Life Without Pants. Both of these guys have highlighted the many perks that come with starting a successful freelance business. These include working on your own time and terms, not having to answer to a boss, and, in Matt’s case, not having to wear pants…
You get the joke, but it is true – if the biggest torture of your day job is having to put on a suit and tie everyday, commuting to the office, and grinding away and menial paperwork, then freelance sure looks like it has a lot of perks. You set your agenda, you decide when and how you want to work. You decide the location. You decide the customer if you really want to.
You not obligated to anything. You want to tell someone to fuck off, go for it. While it may not be the smartest business move, who cares?!?! You’re the only one you have to answer to, and from my experience in dining or shopping at mom and pop stores, a lot of people have been very successful in business while saying whatever they feel like to their customers.
The Challenges of Being a Freelancer
Just because there are a lot of positives doesn’t meant there are many challenges you’re going to need to address as you go along. First, you need to acquire customers. This means marketing, developing a solid product, and building a customer base. Sounds easy, but it isn’t. You may have the best product in the world, but the internet isn’t always a meritocracy, and you need to adapt.
You’re going to need to work hard at some points. You’re going to need to wear a lot of different hats. Being a freelancer means that you’re now the one who has to produce, but at the same time you’re answering phones, responding to emails, doing bookkeeping, maybe doing a little web development, and more.
While you can outsource many of these tasks, you still have to find someone to outsource them to, train them how to do it, and follow up.
Are you seeing the common theme here: you!
Being a freelancer means that the whole business relies on you. If you’re sick, you may not make any money, and that could spell trouble. If you’re not getting customers, you could be in trouble. If you’re not constantly promoting your business, you could be in trouble.
Once again, the common theme here is you!
Did You Really Escape?
So, now you need to ask yourself the real question – is becoming a freelancer a real escape from the rat race? Is it the path towards creating your ideal lifestyle?
For some – yes, it can be the answer. If the reason you hate your job is the commute and your boss, this could be the “job” for you. You work from home, you work for yourself, and if you don’t mind putting in the time, you’ll be wildly happy doing it.
But for others, including myself, freelancing wasn’t the answer. It’s a step along the path to truly beating the nine to five. Freelancing is a great side hustle. Freelancing can provide a great income stream. But freelancing doesn’t truly provide financial freedom so that you can beat the rat race.
Freelancing, by itself, also isn’t the way to become a soloprenuer. Freelancing is a task driven way to make money. Entrepreneurship is a passive way to make money from the past work you did. My ideal escape is to work hard, put in the time and effort necessary to create and build something that will resonate with people, and then let the residual effect of that propel me into the future.
Solo entrepreneurship doesn’t mean not working either. I fully plan to continue to work – just on projects I choose. I hope to continue to develop my multiple income streams, and let them provide the financial freedom to pursue what I want to, when I want to. I think that is the real escape. If I want to freelance, I can. If I don’t want to, I don’t have to.
Is becoming a freelancer a real escape from your day job?