Before we discuss the top 5 reasons why you should become a freelancer, let us define freelancing. Freelancing is the practice of working your yourself, lending your services to employers on a short-term or project basis.
Although freelancing is not very popular in South Africa, it is estimated that by the end of 2020 half the workers in the UK will be freelancers. Over half the United States population is expected to take up freelancing in the next 5 years.
How to start Freelancing
Starting a freelancing career is a simple as registering on one of the free freelancing services listed below. Registration is free, but some require payment to bid for work.
The top trusted Freelancing services
- Freelancer.com with over 31 million registered users. Freelancers create accounts and wait for potential employers to post “job requests”. All freelancers then “bid” on the job requests and the employer chooses the freelancer that is most appealing, from price to experience and ratings.
- Upwork with over 17 million registered users. This platform works like freelancer.com – freelancers bid for projects advertised by potential employers. However freelancers have to buy credits to be able to bid for work. When you get started on the platform you will get some free credits that you can use to start bidding for work, when they run out you need to buy credits.
- Fiverr with over 7 million registered users. This is unique to the first two we looked at, freelancers create profiles and “gigs” which are like job proposals. Clients then browse through gigs and purchase gigs to get a job started
- Bark.com works similar to Upwork. Freelancers need credits to bid for work, and bark does not provide any free credits for new users and the credits can get very expensive when you have no guarantee that your bid will be accepted.
Why you should become a Freelancer
Flexible Working Hours
Are you a working mom? Perhaps you need flexible working hours or are prone to spontaneous holiday trips. If you like the flexibility of taking time off from work, then freelancing may be for you. You are not required to report to a desk job from 9-5 when you are freelancing. The clients you serve could be based anywhere in the world and in a different timezone, so your busiest times could be in the middle of the night.
However don’t be fooled, flexible working hours does not equate to easy jobs or lighter workloads. As a freelancer, you are judged on every project you complete. You need to be on top of every project to deliver high quality results, every time. As a result, your workload will go up – especially in the beginning when you are building a reputation.
No Glass Ceilings
Becoming a freelancer is similar to starting your own business. Initially it will be slow and you might have to lose money for a couple of months. However, when you start making money and growing – there are no limitations to how high you can go.
As a freelancer you can expand your skill set, teach online courses, start blogging, affiliate marketing and building a community of followers. You can expand horizontally and deliver the same services on different platforms and increase your earnings. The more you grow, the more money you will make and there is no limit to how big you can grow.
Explore new careers
The freedom freelancing gives you, allows you to explore new careers. The barrier to entry to any freelancing job is very low. Therefore you can teach yourself new skills online and quickly test them out creating a freelancing job online.
The money is low at first with no experience, but it is the ideal place to get experience and build a portfolio. There are many people who have started whole new careers in digital marketing, development – by taking online courses and starting freelancing online.
Expanded work opportunities
Unemployment is a major problem for many nations in the world. At the same time there are many people who need certain services, entrepreneurs stuck with ideas and no funds to afford big bulky design agency firms.
Freelancing helps you reach a worldwide client base, and help bridge the gap between businesses looking for affordable services and job seekers needing employment.
Online Freelancing platforms have provided jobs to millions of people who would be otherwise unemployed.
The nature of freelance work is that you can deliver it online. This is my top reason why freelancing is amazing, you can work from anywhere in the world. You are no longer geographically limited to a physical location because of a job.
Move to a new town, rent a flat and start freelancing. All you need is a computer and good internet connection. If you get tired of that place, move again and visit all the places in the world you have always wanted to visit.
This is the time to think hard about whether you are ready to quit your job, freelancing is a good starting point.