Are the fears of switching to freelancing justified?

My name is Sasha Zhuzhgin, I am a freelance graphic designer. For 10 years he worked for hire in one company: he began as a packaging designer, and ended up as the head of printing production. To be honest, I would not have started looking for a job on the side, if I had not experienced a lack of money and a desire to radically change something. 4 years ago I started combining main work with freelancing, and during this time it has increasingly inspired and motivated me.

Despite the fact that all these four years I led, in fact, made decisions and delegated, and in my work there was much less routine than others, for more than a year I have been working only on freelancing. And I can say for sure – this is a completely different feeling and experience.

What attracts freelancing?

It seems to me, first of all, do not lie to yourself. It is not possible to invest so much, working for a salary.

Yes, I tried to do my job as well as possible and there were other things besides money that motivated me. But, you often have to do things that you consider unnecessary or generally unpleasant, but so the management needs.

You can’t just refuse to work with some employee, because you will definitely frame another. And “it is not accepted so”, “everyone is silent and you are silent”. Or cooperate with a bad client: everyone knows that the client is problematic, but he brings money to the company, and you rake up the problems with him. An endless OS that just burns out all the energy and initiative. Therefore, freelancing became for me like a breath of fresh air.

Yes, when working for yourself, not everything is sweet either. And these pictures with a guy on the beach with a laptop, these are only photos.

In reality, sometimes you have to give much more than when working for hire. Now there is a direct risk of being left without means of subsistence. You also have to do what you don’t want, and there’s also a lot of routine and surgery. But most importantly, I always know the answer as to why I need to do this. I only do things that give me some value. And I can cut off everything that I do not like, without any explanations and formalities. And that’s what motivates me the most. Something that gives you the strength to move and develop.

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The transition to pure freelancing was quite long for me because of the fears, which began to gradually blur with the advent of experience and the increase in earnings.

Fear One – Loss of Income

My first and main fear is the loss of stable earnings. I think that’s the case for a lot of people.

Gradually, the realization came that the biggest risk is just work for hire. You just shift responsibility for yourself to the employer.

The fact is that the employer is also a person and can unsuccessfully take a risk and the whole business will go downhill. You may just consider that the direction where you work is no longer profitable or interesting and just close it. There may be a crisis and there will be cuts. This is a huge number of factors that affect work, and therefore well-being.

And in fact, everything turned out to be as honest as possible. The way you work, that’s how you earn. But your risks are diversified. Rarely anyone works with one client, over time, their own client base is formed and you have to work on several projects at once. And, accordingly, you can have several sources of income at once. The constant choice of a new job, an increase in the cost of labor, training, all this keeps in good shape and leads to the fact that fear disappears, and, conversely, a feeling of confidence appears.

The second fear is low pay

I was very demotivated by the low cost of work. Although I think that’s not the case for everyone, a lot of people don’t think about it at all, living from paycheck to paycheck.

I’ve compared my earnings to people who work for hiring companies and do the same things I do, and they seem like great professionals to me, and they don’t earn that much.

I was afraid that no one would need my skills, no one would pay for it.

But it turns out that many just do not look beyond their monitor, do not develop. Yes, they do a good job year after year. And also from year to year they receive plus or minus the same money. Their employers know they’re not going anywhere, so why would they pay more.

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I even suggested to some, when I had a backlog with projects, to work together, after hours, etc. In response, I heard that “it’s difficult”, about “a bunch of other things” and other excuses.

Therefore, it turns out that it is possible and with less skills in some areas, but with a greater desire, it turns out to achieve more earnings than a professional who just goes to work for 8 hours a day and does not want anything else.

The third fear is to be irrelevant.

I’m afraid my skills will become irrelevant. And this is a very good fear that does not allow you to relax.

I thought that people, working in a team, develop faster and learn new things. That’s partly true, but there is also a “BUT”. First, not in every company. I’ve seen those where they pay well, a fashionable office, but work is just a swamp, a stupid routine day in and day out. And you can look for a good company for a long time and, if there is an urgent need for money, you can not find it.

As it turned out, you can also get stuck on freelancing, always doing only simple and understandable work.

So (for me) that fear is very helpful. It is he who makes you move, develop and learn. And you can immediately learn from working projects, the main thing is to try to correctly evaluate the work and immediately tell the client that: “here, here and here, I know how to do, but here – no, but I will definitely find out.”

And the opportunities for development of a freelancer are much greater than those of an employee of some agency or IT company, where often the growth of the employee reaches a certain, sufficient level and then, as if under a copy, he makes project after project.

The fourth fear is weak socialization

I thought there was too little communication on freelancing. Perhaps someone does not care, but it is important and very important for me. It gives me energy, a sense of drive.

When I was working for hire, my phone would burst. There were constant meetings, communication with colleagues, partners, customers. I like to talk, to discuss something. Sometimes it was even too much, I wanted to turn off my phone and at least spend a day in silence.

At first, on freelancing, I began to lack communication. But with the increase in the amount of work, everything fell into place.

Although I know that for some freelancers, calling a client is stressful, but personally, communication with customers directly saves me. I can do four projects in parallel, and everywhere I need to discuss or decide something. And besides, there is family, friends, sports, a bunch of different courses and much more. And again, it turned out, in comparison with hired employees who communicate more in the circle of their company, on freelancing this circle expands significantly with an increase in the number of clients.

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The Fifth Fear is Career

It’s scary to be stuck in the role of a performer for a long time, for 10-20 years. That is, to be such a craftsman, to do only one thing.

The hired employee, if it interests him, always has the opportunity for career growth. You can grow up the career ladder in one company. If the company is small, you can always go to a large one and realize yourself there. Take on more and more tasks and responsibilities.

A freelancer doesn’t have that. And I couldn’t fully dispel that fear. But because of him, I began to take the issue more seriously. I started running all my business as a small business.

I set up a small CRM for myself – with shacks, time tracking, internal deadlines, KPIs. I registered an entrepreneurship, rented an office and go to the work that I created for myself.

I’ve noticed that it’s a good discipline: the feeling of “hacking” disappears. Allows you to feel like an entrepreneur at this stage. Take on a little more responsibility in the form of tax burden, operating expenses, first contracts. It turns out that you are building a career for yourself, because these are the first steps towards the development of your business in the future.

These are the main things that stopped me when switching to freelancing. Perhaps someone does not think about some things at all, and someone also has other problems. But the awareness of all these problems, the search for solutions – help to develop, not to lose focus, give confidence in what you are doing.


Written by Shubham

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