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“Be or not be a freelance/ entrepreneur?” A day before shoulder surgery

Dear friends, colleagues, readers, candidates and clients, I know this is not my usual post about HR and sales issue (at least in the very begging); this is something more personal and intimate.

Despite this I decided to share it with you, not because I am looking for some' like 'or to search for solidarity, but because I believe could be starting point for a post containing interesting insights: a situation like mine indeed is not isolated case, thus I hope it can be a source of inspiration.

Few weeks ago, I have had a car accident (fortunately, I am not guilty) anyway, considering my role and position, driving car on daily base as for many of you is affecting a dominant part of the job. I could say car is my primary office.  Due to the impact during the crash, I reported a strong dislocation in my right shoulder and I need to undergo surgery at the glenoid to remedy the situation. The surgery itself is not much complicated but will not happen in arthroscopy for some complication, anyway the effective problem is due for the long rehabilitation that take about 8-10 weeks.

During this time, I will have very limited capacity to move and normal things that I use to do with my right hand automatically and without thinking become insurmountable obstacles. I consider myself lucky; however, considering the car accident, overall situation could have been much worse.

For some reasons related with my labor situation (indeed I do not have labor contract as I am a free-lance, temporary manager, owner, whatever you like to define such status) there is no obligation for your ‘client’ to keep going the cooperation if you must stay at home  to heal and to perform rehabilitation and you cannot ‘deliver’ your services.

If you are an entrepreneur, the lack of possibility to ‘interact’ with business environment will limited also your capacity to create deals and generate opportunities. Of course, no driving allowed for sometimes.

It will be also very demanding, writing my blog that is something I like very much as well answering to emails will be an issue…..but this surgery is necessary if I want to back to 100% of my heath.

So now, I want to talk with you about the main topic of the post:  “Be or not be a freelance/ entrepreneur?”

Considering all I said, I need to think about business environment in another way. I need to adapt the business environment to my new situation if I want to stay tuned.

For most of us, freelancing full time seems like a dream come true. We get to be our own boss, work our own hours, and are responsible for our own success. It all sounds great – and it is, but freelancing full-time is not for everyone. While some freelancers thrive on being their own boss, others find that they are not as good at working for themselves as they were working for a company.

Many people thrive on working full-time in a traditional office setting. Whether it is because they love working in teams, like to bounce ideas off each other, and be able to share a joke with a colleague sitting next to them, or because they are too used to it to be independent.

Definitely, there are people who may not be suited for the freelancer’s life. So before you take the plunge, consider the following aspects of a freelancer’s life to see if it is your cup of tea, things like…

 

This is the first step, do not UNDERSTIMATE IT!

Before you make the jump, make sure that your family supports your decision. When you start freelancing, things are stressful. You are spending a majority of your time finding clients and are constantly worried about making ends meet. If you do not have your family’s support (and I am not talking about just financial support), your stress level is going to spike through the roof. There are going to be days when you will feel like it might not work. That is when family support matters the most. Just having someone – a partner, spouse, your parents or even one of your big-eyed kids – tell you that it’ll all work out or they believe in you, can go a long way in boosting your confidence.

 

In addition, friends are a great source of support during the first few months too. They can help spread the word about your services and refer you to folks in their social and professional circle if they are looking for a freelancer. You can consider them a support of daily PR activities made with LinkedIn or Google Adwords.

Ok, now you are strong motivate to start, here we go:

Point 1) You hold Yourself Accountable

Freelancing full time means you are responsible for yourself and your work more than ever!!!!!

 There is no one around to monitor how much work (you set your own KPI’s monitor it and evaluate it) you are being done or whether you are meeting your targets. For you to be successful as a freelancer, you need to be accountable for yourself. Does it clear?

Point 2) You will need SSD: Strong Self Discipline

When you first start freelancing full time, it is so tempting to give it your all and work late nights. However, what those late nights really do is make you so tired that getting up in the morning is difficult. Then you think, since you are working for yourself, you can set your own hours making it okay to sleep in. Wrong! You need a strong self-discipline and attitude, you work for yourself, sure, but you deliver service to your clients, keep it in mind.

Point 3) You have to deal with Clients

Surprised? Unless you have directly dealt with your company’s customers and clients during your office years, your very first roadblock is going to be dealing with clients. When interacting with clients you need to be courteous, direct and helpful in your communications with them. There is no room for sarcasm – even when they are horrid to work with. Think of it this way: your client is now your boss and you have to treat them like one. So impress your client, and you will have smooth sailing for the most part.

Point 4) You must Learn to negotiate

In a full-time job, - generally speaking not valid for every kind of job of course- you are paid a fixed salary each month with a raise every year, medical insurance, paid leave and other perks. In freelancing, your earnings are directly dependent on your rates and there are no benefits in freelancing.

In order to succeed, you need to be able to negotiate reasonable freelancing rates for yourself. There is nothing wrong with starting out with low rates or special offers – as long as you steadily raise them as you gain a reputation for yourself and are always improving your skill set to deserve higher pay.

Failure to negotiate rates means that you will be stuck with low rates – and nobody else is going to help you raise your rates.

Here is a bonus tip for raising rates: always quote a rate that is higher for your new clients compared to your present clients and work your way up as you get more projects.

Point 5) You must know What is Trending in your sector

As a freelancer, you will need to stay on top of the trends in your industry to stay ahead of the game. It does not mean you waste time trying out everything, but figure out which trends affect you directly and how you can use them to your advantage. A few years ago, when blogging became the next best thing for business, freelancers who quickly establish their own blogs managed to not only get more clients but also established themselves as leaders in their niche.

As a full-time freelancer, you need to keep an eye on emerging trends and have the ability to quickly figure out which trends would benefit your freelance business the most. You need lot of knowledge of your specific sector, you must be up to date always (some e-learning, conference, blog, books, event can help you to stay tuned) simply you need to fall in love with your activity. Be passionate and professional, always.

In the end, I want to share with you the secrets to be successful as a full time freelancer: simple is to treat it as a business. Do not forget NEVER you are the CEO of your freelance company. You are the one responsible for everything related to it.

Stick to the work ethics you conform to during your office-going days and you will be fine. The only difference is that you can take a break when you want to, and work extra hours when needed. You get to spend more time with your family since you are spending less time being stuck on the way and back from work. Remember the intensity of your single work hours are more exhausting as you need not only perform an activity you need to control, evaluate, correct and improve it always as well keeping update your clients and finding new trends, service, products, solution to emerge from others.

Welcome in the most competitive sector in the World. 

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