A big chunk of the workforce today has jumped out of their full-time jobs to join the industry of freelancers, contractors, and independent workers who choose to take control of their time instead of being tied to the regular 9 to 5 full-time work. These workers are now included in the gig economy, a thriving economy for the on-demand workforce which has been a trend for many workers who want to shift from the classic day job to being their own boss.
While making the big decision may sound exciting, you have to prepare yourself for all possibilities—good and bad—to be able to survive and thrive in this industry. Here are six things you need to know before finally embracing this work lifestyle.
Start with a Purpose
Jumping into a new venture should start with a purpose. Ask yourself this question: why am I doing this? Knowing the reason behind the decision of shifting to a career in the gig economy helps you plan your way to success. It must be established in the first place which shall serve as the core of your journey. It will also lead you to set priorities and expectations which you can always go back to in times when you feel like you are losing your direction.
Routines are Important
After many years of being an employee inside a stable company where routines and schedules are imperative, choosing to be an independent worker may take a 180-degree turn in the way you work. Routines are what keep employees focused on their tasks, especially if these are being monitored. For freelancers who a have control of their own time, routines are often set aside. As they can work at their own pace, work anytime and anywhere, there are chances that there is not a definite schedule to follow.
It is important for independent workers to stick to a routine, even when they only have themselves to look after. Routines help in one’s productivity. It lets one stay focused and accomplish their goals while having a balanced lifestyle. If routines are included in their schedule, they can oversee the time spent with work and the time allotted for their personal life.
Have a Comfortable Place to Work at
While working as a freelancer allows one to work anywhere as many digital nomads do, it is highly advisable to work in comfortable surroundings.
Before becoming a freelancer, make sure you have everything you need to work seamlessly. Have a steady internet connection, a trusty laptop or computer set that can keep up with the type of work you do, and all other necessary supplies you need. For those working at home, it is best to allot a specific place of work rather than working on your bed. Remember that your surroundings play a vital role in your productivity.
Work only on What you can Manage
Some may think that having a freelance lifestyle allows them to say yes on as many projects as they can. However, when starting in this type of work, it is best to work on a couple of projects only rather than juggling multiple jobs. During the transition, the independent worker still adjusts to everything—schedule, finances, and other essential matters that he may not be able to deliver the expected work on time, resulting to losing clients in the process. This may also start a bad habit on the part of the worker. You have to take things slow, learn and navigate your way through the whole process.
Clients Come and Go
Workers in the gig economy have diversified clients and sources of income. While some maintain a list of clients for the long term, some businesses only need workers for a short period of time. It is usual for independent workers to not rely on a single client or customer for their income. As most only come project-based, freelancers maintain multiple clients to secure their finances. Some are into freelance writing while doing graphics work. Some prefer being a coach, teaching people who to be a business owner, while some take up consultancy work while balancing their other sources of income such as direct-selling and small enterprises.
Always keep a target number of clients at a time which can cover all your monthly expenses and other needs, while allowing yourself to save up for the rainy days.
Unlike regular workers where they can see spend time and bond with their co-workers, independent workers are oftentimes working on their own. While being a freelancer lets you work at home or in any place you want to without the need to interact physically with officemates and co-workers, it is still vital to reach out to people. Make connections with people outside the comforts of your computer screen.
Make connections with your friends, family members, and housemates. Join social media groups of interest, join organizations, travel, and meet people along the way. It is equally important to associate yourself with people and not be delineated from the rest of the world.
Joining the gig economy is not a walk in the park. It has its challenges, yet the rewards are fulfilling. It allows you to earn more than what your typical day job gives you while giving you the freedom to choose the work you want and the people you are comfortable working with.
Not all people are designed for this type of work. It takes time to fully adjust and a whole process of trial and error in order to thrive in this industry. The rewards are fulfilling for those who show perseverance, hard work, dedication, and willingness to learn.