As the gig economy continues to expand, more and more professionals are working as freelancers, contract workers or consultants rather than as traditional employees. While freelancing provides a sense of control, a flexible schedule and an opportunity for real work-life balance, it also requires a willingness to live with risk and to act as a self-starter. Before making the leap into full-time freelancing, it’s important to understand whether you have the traits that make you a good fit for the gig economy.
You Don’t Give in to Self-Doubt
Being a freelancer often requires a significant amount of self-confidence, because you’re the primary (or only) person marketing yourself. If you’re prone to self-doubt, it can harm your ability to sell yourself. In addition, you need to be able to move on comfortably when your role in a project is over. If you tend to take things personally or question why you’re no longer on the project, freelancing might be difficult for you.
You Are Flexible
Freelancers don’t work a regular Monday-to-Friday schedule in the gig economy. If you expect to reap full-time earnings while working part-time, you may be surprised. Freelancers work long hours and must stay flexible to stay available to clients at any time. If you deliver what your clients want and stay in contact with them, you’re likely to build the kind of loyalty that creates return clients.
You are Self-Disciplined
As a freelancer, you’re in charge of your routine — but you still need a routine. Many freelancers find that certain practices help them to stay focused and productive so they can pace themselves, do good work and meet deadlines without a boss telling them what to do. Consider incorporating the following practices into your own freelancer routine:
- Establish a schedule and keep to it
- Keep a running to-do list and work from it
- Start each day with your most challenging task while your mind is fresh
- Keep your workspace clean and tidy to promote clarity of thought
- End your day by thinking through what has to be done the next day
- Include time for exercise to stay healthy
- Schedule time for personal care and relationships
You Are Driven to Be Productive
Many freelancers have an inner drive that keeps them working through all the ups and downs of their career. Even highly successful freelancers feel the pressure to earn money, expand their personal brand, and keep succeeding. This internal impetus often results in a preoccupation with being productive day in and day out. If you are able to remain fully engaged in your work without extrinsic motivation, and ignore distractions, you have one of the key traits necessary for success in the gig economy.
You Are Able to Stay Connected
Because freelancing can sometimes be a lonely pursuit, those who reach out to maintain social connections often thrive the best as independent workers. While many freelance pursuits require long periods of dedicated work, staying connected to collaborators, mentors, clients and peers is vital to keep freelancers mentally healthy and to put them in place to get new gigs.
Freelancers also have to maintain control over their own budgets. Using cloud-based accounting software like QuickBooks simplifies this process, allowing those in the gig economy to remain productive and organized.