Freelancing for a Living

Self-Assessment for Freelancers

Written by Charles Mburugu for Gaebler Ventures

Being a freelancer is a pretty lonely career, always filled with change, and a little unstable. The tough road of self employment is very unpredictable, filled with difficulties that come in form of notes that say "no, thank you" or rejection letters from once-potential employers and customers. At times, personal finance is a challenge, and the cost of healthcare has to be absorbed alone. Is self employment suitable for you?

For many individuals, the challenges that come with freelance employment do not deter them from taking that path. However, self employment does not work out for some.

Self assessing is a good way to determine if freelance employment is suitable for you.

Do I have a 'thick skin'?

Successful freelancing demands for a 'thick skin' emotionally. Work-at-home jobs are very competitive, with many freelancers quick to grab any money-making opportunity. Being self employed also means continuously facing the fear of rejection, and overcoming it. Even those who are very good at what they do get rejection letters from potential customers and employers. This is really the nature of freelancing. Only those who can absorb rejection, stay organized, and handle finances creatively and pay bills even when money is not coming have a chance of succeeding at self employment.

Am I disciplined?

Staying continually motivated and focused is one of the challenges of being self employed, especially when cable TV offers numerous distracting television channels. Freelance professionals must know how to manage time, stay on schedule and get the job done even when there is little inspiration.

Do I have perseverance?

Working at home and self employment is a difficult journey, but many have succeeded through perseverance and emotional toughness. Knowing if you have the capacity to deal with the tough task of self employment is a great way to discover if it is the right personal choice. Sometimes, freelancing is not the way to go. For those who can deal with everything that comes with the job, successful self employment can be a pleasant reality.

Am I organized?

Organization is the key to success in self employment. Freelance professionals work alone with no one to give useful reminders, and they alone suffer from missed deadlines, resumes that don't get updated and job searches that are not completed. Working alone is not easy.

However, freelance professionals can take advantage of a wide range of free web applications which can help them keep track of assignments. Downloadable calendars, as well as reminders and to-do lists, make scheduling easy. Other tools available online include writing tools for freelance writers, design tools for the less-web-savvy, marketing tools that help to spread the word, privacy and security downloads that preserve the integrity of work, and storage applications that help in conserving space.

Am I financially secure?

A certain level of financial security must be established before transitioning into self employment. Since the income from freelancing is not steady and tends to fluctuate, the wisest option is to test the waters first. Continue working at your regular job and freelance at the same time until you know how much you can actually earn from full time self employment. When you decide to go full time, make sure you have sufficient savings to draw on as the business struggles to find its feet.

Charles Mburugu writes for us from his home in Nairobi. He has a graduate degree in Business Management from Kenya Institute of Management. He is interested in writing about branding, CSR and intellectual property.

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