Can Freelance Work Be Considered a Career?

One of the most difficult aspects to freelance work is making sure you have clients that can provide a long lasting workload. It’s possible to make a career out of working for yourself as long as you’re capable of keeping those clients. Otherwise, you could find yourself in financial dire straights. With the right amount of clients and skill, you could continue making money indefinitely.




Keeping the Flow of Freelance Work Going

A freelancer depends mostly on his or her ability to market skills and attract clients. It requires a great deal of motivation and determination to succeed. This is why I believe freelancers are the best at any given job. People like myself rely on work in order to keep the bills paid. When the workflow is low, we are not paid unlike hourly jobs which guarantee a paycheck. This means the freelancer is going to put more effort into a job well done in order to tempt the client for future income or references.

Professionalism Counts
In a way, freelancers need to exude more professionalism than your garden variety employee. As we rely on the client to give money for services rendered, a bad experience could greatly affect the weekly income. A poor performance through professionalism could mean the difference between getting a regular flow of freelance work and none at all. As the market for various experts is quite competitive on the Internet, it wouldn’t take much effort for a client to move on to someone else.

Continuous Marketing
Good clients don’t last forever. A year and a half down the road, the customer could decide to go a different route with his or her business. It’s has happened to me a few times. This is why it’s important for freelancers to continue marketing themselves in any venue possible. I spread myself out by using several different writing brokerage sites. Others will use their blogs as a form of portfolio and attract direct clients. In either case, you need to get your name out there if you want to keep working.

6 Things Freelancers Do Not Receive in Most Cases

A traditional career comes with a wide range of perks and benefits. Unfortunately, a freelancer doesn’t receive these in most cases. This isn’t say that it’s not possible. However, most freelancers are fairly limited when it comes to the benefits that many full-time employees take for granted.

1. Time Off
Paid sick leave and vacation time is something most of us do not get. If we’re not working, there is no pay. If you want to take a vacation and not have to worry about bills and expenses when you get back, you need to put in extra work before and possibly after your time off.

What you could do is set aside a separate bank account for the sole purpose of saving money for when you are sick or want to take a vacation. You need to make sure that this money isn’t touched until you are either sick or ready to pack your bags.

2. Cost of Living Raises
A lot of careers will automatically give you an annual “cost-of-living” raise. This is done to help offset the rate of inflation from various things like gas and food. A freelancer doesn’t get such benefits. In many cases, we’ll be paid the same in four years as we make today. This makes it more difficult for basic survival.

Luckily, freelance work can be increased by the professional. If you think your skills warrant an additional $0.008 cents per word, then that is what you could charge. Just make sure you don’t charge too much. There are a lot of people that will work for extremely cheap just so they can get a few bucks in their pocket.

3. Raises Based on Talent
Most career paths will provide raises based on talent and degrees. For a freelancer, it all centers around how much someone is willing to pay you. If someone offers you a menial task for $5 and there is no other work available, then that is all you’re currently worth.

Raises based on your talent can be addressed just like the cost of living increase. Simply charge more for your freelance work as a professional. You will be amazed by how much more quality clients will pay for those who know their industries. I’m often paid more by clients who find my writing to be perfect for their needs.

4. Credit Scores
Because a freelance professional is harder to track in terms of employment, improving credit is more difficult. No one wants to give us a credit card unless we have excellent credit and a regular job. Unfortunately, I made a few bad decisions in my day and have a hard time getting back on track.

This is actually an easy aspect to fix. A lot of banks will offer “credit builder” debit cards that freelancers can get with a simple deposit. Furniture rental companies can also help build up the credit report. It’s possible to get a high score through freelance work, you just need to be a little creative with what you purchase and from whom.

5. Retirement
Many careers will offer retirement packages or pensions that can be paid out once a person is of age to call it quits. Freelancers don’t get a lot of those benefits and will need to set these kinds of accounts up themselves. Although you may not get a good pension plan to pay your bills in your golden years, you can still get some kind of a retirement going through freelance work.

Savings accounts, stocks and a slew of other investments can be quite beneficial if you get them started at an early age. Since I am nearly 40, the odds of getting enough money to survive on through retirement are getting worse. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a viable option, though. It just means that I need to start making more of an effort if I want to enjoy retiring any time in my life.

6. Traditional Loans
One thing I am finding it more difficult to do is find a company that will give me a loan. Unless your credit is stellar, it can be incredibly difficult to get money to fix your house or repair your car. Since there is no verifiable income through traditional methods, most banks and lenders don’t see the work as a real full-time job.

Personal loans can help, but they often require a great deal more effort. Many lenders will require a minimum of two years for verified income. This could be from bank transactions or receipts to clients. Getting a loan isn’t impossible, it’s just far more work in many instances.

Freelance work has potential to be just as lucrative as any career. Being your own boss, setting your own hours and even retiring earlier are all possible as long as you’re mindful about those things. Don’t expect to get rich overnight when you’re self-employed. It will take a great deal of work, effort and determination if you want to succeed.

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Michael

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 5,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel.

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