Growing up, you probably have heard it a countless number of times – your parents telling you to do good in school, finish your studies, get a good job, keep the job for as long as you can so it will take care of you when you can no longer take care of yourself.
Ah, if only things were that simple. Times have changed, that much we know, and whatever had worked for them in the past may not necessarily work as magnificently for us now.
Modern times call for modern measures
I can definitely appreciate the do-good-in-school-and-everything-else bit, except for the last one. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d be able to hold on to my job until I reach the ripe old age of 60, which, as my math sees it, is still decades from now, given that I’m still in my 30s.
While it’s not about being ungrateful for the perks my company provides, at the end of the day, what I have is still a job. If I stay lucky, I might still have it tomorrow. If not, then, I’m lucky I have a decent pair of shoes to pound the pavement with if and when I decide to look for another corporate cubicle to park my butt while trying my damnedest to help somebody else grow even richer.
Meanwhile, while I join the ranks of the unemployed, the bills pile up, the kids continue to eat like horses and the world keeps on spinning without any care for my predicament.
The workforce may be a company’s backbone, but in this dog-eat-dog world we live in, no one is indispensable, not even the very person who built the company from the ground up. Just ask Colonel Sanders of KFC or George Zimmer of the Men’s Wearhouse.
What then can you do?
- Save as much as you can for the rainy days.
- Broaden your income sources.
Freelancing is not for the faint of heart
If you’ve got the right skills, freelancing is one way to diversify your revenue stream. Freelancing, however, is not a walk in the park. Internet marketing is a big bad world, and a game that is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Freelancing, however, is something you’re cut out for if you possess the following basic characteristics:
#1. Strong work ethic
Without a boss to constantly remind you of your goals and deadlines, you should be motivated enough to honor your commitments and stick to your timelines. Without a boss breathing down your neck at the most inopportune time, procrastination can be your downfall.
Success is dependent upon the glands – sweat glands. – Zig Ziglar
#2. Ambition and drive
If you’re a parent, alongside kids to take care of, keeping a full-time job is a tough act to pull off. Add freelancing into the mix and you end up with a nasty time management headache. It takes a decent dose of drive and ambition to keep a balance.
Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings. ― Salvador Dali
#3. Ability to plan
Unlike with a full-time job, with freelancing, there aren’t any guarantees. No money straight into your bank account every fifteen days or so, the possibility of having to scour the job boards for days on end before you land one that’s worth your time. Knowing that there might be more lean days than rosy ones should put your ability to plan ahead in the spotlight.
If the exact opposite happens, however, like you get more projects than you bargained for, the ability to understand your own limitations and effectively plot your schedule around those should get you going just fine.
Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan. – Margaret Thatcher
#4. Good communication skills
A good freelancer is a good communicator. That’s a trait that’s non-negotiable. Whether it be about marketing yourself, convincing a potential client that you can deliver, reaching out to other freelancers, a good set of communication skills can take you far. One great thing about communication skills, just like other basic freelancing skills, they can be learned or cultivated.
You can change your world by changing your words. Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue. – Joel Osteen
#5. Confidence in one’s abilities
Believing in your capabilities is the first crucial step to freelancing success, or any endeavor for that matter. Skilled men and women who possess little or no capacity to understand and accept the depth and breadth of their skills are on a journey to nowhere. They will forever be held back by the fear of rejection and failure.
I have great faith in fools – self-confidence my friends will call it. – Edgar Allan Poe
#6. Attention to detail
The devil is in the details. In freelancing, consciously or not, even the minutest detail cannot be overlooked, as it can mean either the success or failure of a project.
It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. – John Wooden
Having great organization skills is synonymous to management aptitude. Having an efficient filing system, a workstation that’s conducive for work, and being able to manage your time and life as a freelancer aside from the other roles you generally play will ensure you keep your sanity intact even in the most demanding of circumstances.
It’s a lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration. Those emotions are poison to any living goal. – Steve Maraboli
Image credit: adamr | FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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