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  1. Carrie this isn’t just super funny, it is very educational. New freelancers take note of Carrie’s comments and suggestions. They are worth gold if you are just starting out.

    Not everyone is an ideal freelancer or an entrepreneur – and that’s okay. Te key is to recognize where your strengths and weaknesses. Mitigate the weaknesses and focus on your strengths.

    If freelancing is not for you, know this:

    If you want the freelancer live style, but you don’t quite have all the “stuff” to make it happen, look for a firm that embraces freelancers. You can be a part-time freelancer for a firm that deals with the marketing, sales, and accounting. This would allow you to be able to have a freelancer lifestyle while still focusing on your strengths. There are plenty of WordPress companies that would welcome you. You just need to identify your skill-set and approach someone who is in need to that skill.

    If freelancing is for you, know this:

    Six years ago I quit my six figure job to become a part-time freelancer. That lasted about six months and before I realized it I was working full-time and building a business. I did not plan or want to build a business. Now I have a team of part-time freelancers and full-time staff.

    Where you are today does not dictate where you will be tomorrow. If you have a plan (as Carrie wisely states), you can make anything happen. Look six months and five years ahead to obtain success.

    And always be open to those around you and what may be placed in front of you. You never know when the perfect client, employee, or business partner will present themselves.

    • That’s some truth right there:

      And always be open to those around you and what may be placed in front of you. You never know when the perfect client, employee, or business partner will present themselves.

      Make a plan for sure, but don’t be afraid to deviate if the right opportunity presents itself.

  2. Hi Carrie. I just started following your blog after purchasing my first Genesis theme. Thank you for all the great posts on that! 🙂

    After 30+years in the corporate world, I broke free and started freelancing with my own business writing company in 2008. The biggest transition I have seen for just about every freelancer I know (myself included) is viewing freelancing as a business. I prepared a long time to start freelancing but I still didn’t fully appreciate what being a business owner means. Especially if that business is just you.

    You are IT, sales, customer service, the janitor, and everything else, all rolled up into one. At least until you can outsource some of that – and even then you’re still accountable.

    I so appreciate posts that share a realistic point of view of freelancing. You’re right. It’s not for everyone. It’s hard work but I have never regretted my move to freelancing. Even on the worst techie problem days. 😉

    People like you help easy those bad techie days. So-thanks!

    • Janitor.

      That one’s my favorite hat. 😛

      Cathy, being a writer, I’m sure you’re at no shortage of topics, but I think it’d be interesting to hear more about freelancing as a second career. I’ve met quite a few folks in the WordPress world that left a long and successful career and are starting over in a freelance capacity.

      I started freelancing at 21. That’s a very different perspective than someone who’s got a lot of life and business experience behind them (and probably a lot more responsibility), which makes me think that’d be an interesting angle to write from and something a lot of folks could relate to.

      When you’re done cleaning the bathrooms, post a link to your blog? 😉

      • Thanks for the question. I’ll do anything to avoid cleaning those bathrooms. 😉 I have several blogs but my blog for business writing is at http://www.SimplyStatedBusiness.com – just so you know, I have not converted that to Genesis yet.

        I’m creating a new Genesis-themed site for my professional site/portfolio. 😉 Then the plan is to set up my current business writing site (with a Genesis theme) as one dedicated to better business communication tips, freebies, etc.

        I have a niche in health care and employee benefits from my corporate days so it has served me well in my freelancing career. I also find I brought some good skills from my corporate consulting days. Can write a report with the best of ’em. 😉 The difference is I don’t ask to get paid by the pound (weight) for the report – something we were accused of in my corporate consulting days. LOL!

  3. Awesome topic. On #1, I think that has phases. True, if you don’t want to make ANY decisions and always want to defer to others than it’s true. However, I think starting out, the area in which decisions are made can grow as we learn and have different experiences.

  4. Another great post, thank you – and also quite reassuring as I think I now meet most of your criteria!

    But one thought that I’d like to share with would-be freelancers is that you don’t need to be ready for all these things straight away – but you need to be willing to get there.

    When I started out, I was terrified of having to make the decisions, didn’t want to part with a penny in investment without a sure-fire return, had very little confidence in my own skills (“assertive” was definitely not a word anyone would use!) and had no idea how my business might grow.

    Over the past 4 years, I’ve learnt to trust my judgement, found ways to balance investment vs return, discovered that – although I can’t do everything – there are some things that I can do *really* well, and which people need and will pay for, and have found ways to build my business which I’d never have thought of when I started out.

    My top tips for someone starting out on this journey would be:
    1) Be professional. You may be a one-man-band but if you behave like a proper business, people will treat it like one. If you refer to it as “my little business”, and act like you’re doing a favour in exchange for a little bit of money, people will treat it as a hobby and you’ll never get beyond that.

    2) Be willing to learn, and seek out knowledge. When I started, I asked everyone I knew for advice – on everything from my brand name to what services to offer and what to charge. I sought (and continue to seek) advice online from forums, bloggers and LinkedIn groups. I’m always trying to grow my skills, and am consequently much more confident about what I can offer to a potential client.

    3) Don’t be alone. If you freelance, it can be very easy to sit at home and work without talking to anyone else all day. This is particularly true for those of us who work remotely (as I do – I have some clients that I’ve never met face to face!) Besides the obvious social consequences, this is also bad for your work. If you’re not connected, how can you know what’s going on in your industry? How can you expose yourself to new ways of doing things? Or sound off ideas? I chat to people about my work whenever I can. Partly because I simply love what I do but also because of those serendipitous conversations that go in unexpected directions and spark ideas you’d never have without them.

    Phew – sorry about the essay (I’m wondering now whether I should make this a blog post for myself!)

  5. Awesome post. I know that it’s hard to have to explain to people what being a freelancer is really like. Almost instantly when I tell people they think it’s the coolest thing in the world and I get to sit around in my slippers all day. I have to explain that you have to do every job from the CEO down to the janitor. Most of your time is being the janitor.

  6. Great article, I’ve already been a freelancer and would like to share a little bit of how I was organizing at the time!

    Being your own boss has your challenges there, but it’s just organizing the money and the routine that everything gets easier. The goal of more freedom will only come to fruition if you plan to make the financial instability typical of a freelance career impact your life negatively.

    >> Prepare the change of life

    Make the transition from employee to freelancer life in the least radical way possible, as you do not know exactly what your income will be.

    >> Calculate your income in a new way

    The freelance life can be a seesaw. In a few months you can accumulate multiple projects and earn a lot, but in others you may run the risk of having fewer jobs than you would like. Therefore, it is safer to set a goal of how much you need to earn per year, not per month

    >> Learn how much your working hour costs

    Pricing your time is indispensable. To find out how much your working hour costs, look at your competitors and your audience. “Feel how much your customer is willing to pay.” If time is short or delivery time is too tight, increase the price.

    >> Pay a salary for yourself

    To work for yourself, you will have expenses you did not have before, such as the telephone bill, travel costs, and taxes that were previously deducted from the salary. Add all these expenses and exclude them from your net sales.

    >> Prepare a work environment

    You do not want the phone or the bell of your home to hinder the workflow, but at the same time you want to be able to go out to pick up your kids at school or go to the gym in the middle of the afternoon? To balance productivity with flexibility, set daily goals. For example, meet 50% of the tasks until lunch time to be able to go out and have coffee.

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