I don’t know about you, but my ultimate dream is to own a business. Not just any business, mind you, but one that won’t require me to run it day in and day out. I mean, what use is having your own business if you’re tethered to it like a 9 to 5 job, right? For me, the whole purpose of having my own business is so I have enough time and money to spend on other things.
Although freelancing gave me those to some extent, I was still trading my time for dollars. That means it was hard for me to scale things because it would require me to put in more hours. Alternatively, I can always just raise my prices, but there’s also a cap on how far you could do that.
If you’re wondering, “so why didn’t you just get straight to entrepreneurship then?” Well, there are many factors to my pursuing freelancing first, but I felt that I just wasn’t ready at that time. This is a decision I’ve never once regretted because freelancing afforded me the skills and knowledge that proved to be handy in my journey to entrepreneurship. Here are some of the ways that self-employment paved the way to my path as an online entrepreneur.
It Made Me a Better Decision-Maker
Ah, decisions, decisions. I personally believe that no one is born an amazing decision-maker. Just like any skill, it’s something you practice and hone over time. Upon starting freelancing, I have the sole responsibility of deciding everything. This means that if something went bust, no one’s to blame but me.
It made me more accountable to my decisions and spurred me to make better ones because heck, I don’t want to make a slew of bad decisions that will sabotage my own business.
In order to be a better decision-maker, I did my research in advance. Initially, I was often overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. To keep this from happening, I made it a point to sort through the chaff. I separated what the crucial information are and focused on those. After which, I draw up the pros and cons and then factor in my intuition in the process.
I found out that this process of decision-making always led to the best outcomes for me. Lately, I just found out why is this is so. When you just rely on your gut without any prior information, the chance of committing mistakes can be really high. However, if you take the time out to get informed first and then include your gut instinct in the process, the probability of making a superior decision becomes higher.
Being a capable decision-maker isn’t just good for business, but for your life in general as well. Decision-making is a transferable skill. As long as you apply the same decision-making process that allowed you to have better business outcomes to your personal life, then you’re all set.
It Made Me Comfortable With My Freedom
A lot of people want freedom but only a few know what to do with it. In fact, I read someone’s story once where he shared how he found freelancing after a decade of working in a corporate setting. He said that he didn’t know what to do and was so used being given directions instead of directing himself. It took him awhile to get around to it and he said 10 years worth of that kind of programming was a bit hard to shake off.
Although my 9 to 5 stints are exceptionally short and spaced between long drawn-out years, I felt the opposite. Back in those times, I always felt some kind of internal unrest even if I was making good money. I just prefer having a say on what to do in my day and being at the mercy of a boss.
With freelancing, I was able to exercise my freedom to work when I want to and what to work on. If I don’t like how I’m being treated by a client, I just pass off the project no matter the amount of money involved. I have the freedom to charge what I feel is fair to me. I have the freedom to dedicate enough time to my other interests.
More than that, I also have the freedom to indulge in a couple of distractions while working. But best of all, I love my freedom to map out my process and work the way I like to.
That kind of freedom did a lot for me. It was priceless and also allowed me to explore and find out things I wouldn’t have known otherwise.
It Made Me Responsible With My Time
I don’t know if it’s just me but there’s something about an environment where I’m required to work within a set of hours regardless if I’m finished or not that I really found disconcerting. Imagine the things you could’ve done within those time, but you’re stuck there waiting for the time to tick until it’s time to be out.
It’s actually through my freedom that I learned how to be more responsible with my time.
I realized that if I want to work effectively, I need to be aware of how I’m spending my time. So that’s what I did. I tracked how much I worked and what time of the day I work best.
The end result was I able to fashion my working time to a schedule that’s conducive for myself. On my part, this means I get to save my clients time and money for being able to work productively.
Because of this, I know I could never do my best work if I had to adhere to a 8 or 9-hour daily schedule with fixed breaks. I definitely appreciate having the time and space to think and explore different ideas. Or being able to enjoy eating at an extended time. How about you?
It Enabled Me to Handle Rejection Better
I think that rejection is a part and parcel of life. If there’s only a handful of skills you can develop, handling rejection should definitely be one of them.
Freelancing can get you familiar with rejection real fast, I tell you. Upon starting, you’ll find that many of your pitches and proposals will often be declined. Worse, some potential clients will just ghost you even if you follow up. To succeed in this field, you have to develop a thicker skin.
Initially, this was something that really got to me. I often doubted myself and my skills just because a couple of my pitches or proposals were turned down. Later on, I just realized that maybe I’m not just a good fit for what the project or client requires. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m not good enough—it’s just that they need different things than what I can provide.
The key was not to take things personally. The truth of the matter is, no one will land 100% percent of the projects they pitch to. Every client wants or needs something different that you may not always be equipped to provide.
I’ve talked to much-seasoned freelancers and they too weren’t exempt from being thrown an occasional rejection here and there. That just goes to show that you can be successful and still face rejections. From this, we could glean that success can only be built through consistent tries. If you stopped after sending the 20th pitch, you’ll never know if the 21st could’ve been your golden ticket.
When I realized this and changed my perspective, it was easier to move on and have a better grasp of reality. Because of this, I was able to improve my mettle and brush off rejections more easily.
It Widened My Creative Boundaries
Working in a corporate setting means having to answer to a higher up. What’s worse is sometimes you have to answer to more than one person. We all know what happens when more than one person has a say in your work—it doubles the confusion and restrictions you have to work with.
Since freelancing affords you the power to choose what projects to work on, you can opt for projects that are less creatively restricting for you.
The thing about working with the same process, people, and guidelines are that they most often lead to the same results. This, in turn, can stunt your professional growth.
One of the best aspects of doing freelance work is the variety of projects you can work on. This means you get to broaden your experience and widen your skill set. Moreover, you also have the chance to put your own spin on a project. All of these allow you to stretch your creative freedom as you see fit.
It Gave Me the Courage to Work More Inspiringly
I believe that majority of today’s workforce are in uninspiring jobs just to pay the bills. Although I admire people who have the tolerance to plod through every day in that kind of setting, it’s not something I would want for myself. My personality and character aren’t really suited for that kind of thing.
With freelancing, I get to work hard, but still enjoy it on my own terms. Moreover, as the boss of my own professional path, I get to chart my own direction.
In short, the only limit to growing your income is your level of work ethic and your vision.
Another way that freelancing encouraged me to work more inspiringly is that I get to say when enough is enough. I can opt to drop a project if I feel like I have more than enough on my plate. This, of course, makes for a more motivating way of working. As research from Kansas State University reveals, employees who work for more than 50 hours a week have decreased levels of mental and physical health. I don’t know about you but it’s a bit hard to feel inspired working when your mind and body are pretty much depleted consistently.
It Helped Me Develop a Wide Variety of Skills
As a freelancer, I’ve worked in different roles for different companies. This then helped me build a wide range of skills and experience. With the various roles I’ve taken on the past years, I gained a lot of really good insight into different processes, working styles, and business structures. Having learned these things, I now have a better understanding of what kind of business and working style is the best for me.
Being able to work on different fields and niches gave me the ability to advance my knowledge without being limited by a sole company’s processes and procedures.
I think this is a valuable thing to learn especially if you’re planning on being an entrepreneur. You get to have an insight of how most businesses are run and use the knowledge once you’re ready to put up your own.
Overall, having to handle many of the different aspects of running a freelance business helped me hone a variety of skills. I learned a lot about sales, marketing, and project management among others on top of the writing work I’m doing. Although learning many of the required skills in this business is hard work, it enabled me to discover and explore things I may otherwise haven’t known.
Marrying Skills and Ideas
Freelancing is an amazing way to school yourself in becoming an entrepreneur. Instead of giving your creativity, energy and hard work to a faceless corporation, start your own business.
Transitioning from a freelancer to an entrepreneur is a great way to finally put your skills in fleshing out your ideas. As a freelancer, your foremost value is in your skills. But usually, freelancers use these skills for projects to fulfill the client’s creative vision.
Once you become an entrepreneur, not only will you have free rein on enacting your vision but you also have the skills necessary to execute it.
So when is the right time to go beyond freelancing? Once you have the idea, you’ve amassed a diverse skill set, and you’re finally willing to take the risk.