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Business/Economy

Pandemic have you wondering about a long-term career as a freelancer? Here are some things to consider.

  • Author: Lynne Curry
    | Alaska Workplace
  • Updated: 5 days ago
  • Published 5 days ago

(Getty Images)

Lynne Curry’s new book “Managing for Accountability: A Business Leader’s Toolbox” available on paperback and for Kindle now. Read the details below.

You would never have dreamed of becoming your own boss, except you got laid off. You’d been a Wile E. Coyote employee, giving your employer your all, your legs wheeling as fast as you could until you looked down and realized there was nothing beneath your feet. No job. No paycheck. COVID-19 taught you a painful lesson, that you might never have true security working for an employer.

You struggled for a while, sending out dozens, then hundreds, of resumes, lurking on every job site. No employer wanted you, but you wanted work. You needed the money, and work gave you purpose. You widened your search, found a few gigs, and then a few more. Although your upward career trajectory evaporated, you discovered you liked contract work.

One day an acquaintance mentioned a job opening and after you hit send on your resume, a realization hit you — you didn’t want to return to working for someone else. Like 59 million other American workers before you, or 36% of the U.S. workforce, you began wondering if you could make a solid living as a full-time freelancer. According to the Edelman Intelligence’s 2021 research, 53% of Gen X workers (those born between 1965 and 1980), 46% of Baby Boomers and 46% Millennials view freelancing as a long-term career choice.

Here’s what’s possible — you can create a viable career as a freelancer. Freelancers work in most industries. For example, 75% of those who work in art and design, 55% of entertainment workers, 52% of those working in construction and 42% of those who work in architecture, engineering, computers, or mathematics freelance.

Before you leap off the traditional employment cliff, to a freefall in which you’ll miss the security of a steady paycheck, employer health insurance benefits, and paid vacation and sick leave, decide whether you have a strong enough “why” to freelance long term. This answer will help you keep going when things get tough. Perhaps it’s the freedom to make your own decisions and declare independence from corporate rules and micromanaging supervisors. Possible it’s because you want to work from home and on a schedule that fits your lifestyle. As a freelancer, you can do so if you find the right clients and projects. Maybe it’s security — if you’re able to land enough steady clients, you can secure financial stability for yourself.

You may not enjoy everything you’ll have to master to be a successful freelancer. If you don’t have “sales” in your DNA, you may not like hunting your own projects and clients, or “hitting on” your friends, family and acquaintances for work. The amount of work it takes to set up accounting and administrative procedures might stun you.

You may struggle with setting rates. You’ll need to learn how to collect from clients that stiff you. If you’re a handshake kind of person, you might learn from painful experience that you need to spell out in an advance contract the work you’ll do, what you need from your client before you start, how much you’ll charge, and what your client can expect from you in terms of interim updates.

You may bounce between work overload and project dry spells if you devote all your time to current projects and don’t keep an eye out for future work. You may learn you’re a lousy time manager and employer, and swing between putting off work until deadlines force to work 12-hour days.

But you’ll have independence. And you’ll know you can count on your new employer.

• • •

Lynne Curry’s new book “Managing for Accountability: A Business Leader’s Toolbox” (Business Experts Press) provides a roadmap detailing how to: choose exactly the right employee; set expectations for accountability as part of their company culture; inspire employees to “own” their jobs; effectively address problem behaviors that get in the way of maximum performance; retain their top talent; and create accountability in members of Gen X, Y, and Z. Each chapter provides useful, practical, field-tested strategies and solutions that can be immediately implemented.

Readers will find real-life stories and the checklists and tools immediately actionable and will walk away knowing exactly how to inspire employees, how to maintain employee commitment at a high level, and how to create an accountability culture in their organization. Available now at businessexpertpress.com/books and for pre-order on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.

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