Freelancers: how to be one, or work with one
A while back I met 3 production management students from Berghs School of Communication who wanted to talk a about what life as freelancer looks like. As always, the students inspired me and I started to define what freelance life is to me. After all, the students at Berghs always know what's hot and what’s not.
Working as a freelancer
I recommend everyone to try a life as a freelancer. It is very rewarding. But there are a few thing you should consider before you get started. It did help me a lot.
- You need to really want it. No feeling = huge inner obstacle.
- It takes time. Give yourself a few months to establish your network. Everything is much easier and more fun if you’re not in a hurry.
- Money, money, money: Keep in mind that you first have to work and then send the bill before you get any money in your account. It took about 2 months for me bofore the cash rolled in, and that worked out fine because I had 3 months to get there.
Freelance life at its best
Freelance life is good to me, it suits me. There are some things that stand out as real perks:
- You get to decide for yourself. If something does not feel good, I can opt out of it without having to ask anyone else first. With that said, I can’t always do exactly what I want, then the business would probably not function. But it is up to me.
- You can make money. People seem to associate freelance life with a struggle and poor conditions. It doesn’t have to be like that. You can make money, take out a regular salary and save up for tougher times. And if you work A LOT, you can earn more and take looong holidays.
- You can work when it suits you. I’m at my best from about 10 am so I choose to start the day then as often as I can.
- You can select any title you want. Looking for a specific title? Well just take it. And if you don’t want a title you don’t have to.
You can buy things through your company. There are stuff that the company can provide for you. That stuff needs to be work-related, of course, so hold your horses a little. If you work as a freelancer in Sweden you can check out the rules on Skatteverkets website.
Freelance life at its worst
All is not awesome when it comes to freelancing. There are also some worst stuff with going solo:
- You are alone. Only you know what it's like to work at your company and with your clients. There is no one else who is familiar with it and “you had to be there” is part of reality. It has repeatedly held me back when it comes to sharing successes and frustrations. Unfortunately.
- Being sick and on holiday is expensive. When you don’t work, you don’t get paid. It’s as simple as that.
- No backup. In a company with more employees than 1, somebody can back you when you can’t get the job done. As a freelancer there is no such security. There’s only you.
- No bouncing ideas/questions. You can’t turn around and just throw out a question to anyone in a team at any time. Because? Well, there’s just you.
People usually ask me what the difference is between freelance and self employed? The simple answer is that there is none. At least not for me. I use both expressions at different times, mostly depending on who I talk to and why.
Working with a freelancer
A freelancer can be great for your business. How? Because:
- We can be hired to focus one thing and direct all our expertise at it 100% of our time.
- We are inexpensive. You do not need to think about providing us with anything else than money for the time we’ve spent.
- You get to access a priceless perspective, not affected by your internal politics or problems.
- Manage or avoid conflicts easier with us. As a freelancer I’ve asked the questions no one else dared ask, and I always get away with it.
Things to consider when hiring a freelancer
As a buyer of freelance services, you have a responsibility to look after the deal well. It may sound obvious, but it is not always as obvious as you might think. Therefore I send you some additional important thoughts along the way:
- A freelancer is just one person. This means that there aren’t any more hours to get than those that one person can work. Looking to double full time, talk to us at The Cast. Or, of you really have to, turn to an agency or a consultancy firm.
- We freelancers are not a part of the corporate culture. This means that we don’t know the jargon, social codes or the internal structures. We need you to help us with that.
- Tell your colleagues about us. It makes it a lot easier for everyone and help avoiding awkward situations by the coffee machine and at the lunch table.
- We have our own ideas, rules and policies to live up to.
- If you do not pay your bill on time it affects us directly. If you have special requirements or needs when it comes to billing, let us know before the job is started, not when we’re done.
- Sharing is caring! Give everyone cred when something goes well. If you hire a freelance, or work with freelancer on behalf of someone else, do not exclude that person. Forgetting someone and living them behind when in the spotlight hits you is an ugly ugly thing to do. FYI all agencies!
With that said: FREELANCE LIFE IS THE BEST!