I writed this article originally for ADWE. Here is the link of the original source.
Suddenly, one day you decide that you want to do something you like without relying on an employee contract. You look for a consultant (or you become one), you find out what you need to do to carry out the idea that has been around in your head, you follow the instructions and that’s it. You are now self-employed.
Disclaimer: This is an opinion article that has little to do with web development so first of all, I apologise for that.
The harsh reality
Being freelance means a lot of things.
First of all, it means that you are working for you. In other words, all the time you devote to your work is time you are spending on your own behalf. The overtime no longer exists (have it ever existed?) and are not dedicated to enriching anyone but you. It also means that you have the freedom to work whenever you want, since you don’t have to follow a set schedule and that way it’s much more comfortable for you.
By the other side, it also means that you have to look for people that hire you because, unless you are a rockstar, the clients does not rain from heaven.
Then it’s your turn to deal with them personally, something you probably never did before because you didn’t need to. And in the meantime, some taxes are accumulating that you must pay religiously to our great friend, yes, the one that you and I know.
That your customers don’t pay doesn’t help at all, of course, and we’re not too protected from these types of non-payments unless you charge a large enough amount to make it worth your while to bear the costs of reporting them. Nor is it nice to deal with clients who do not understand the environment in which we work, which brings more than one headache on many occasions.
I suppose you’ve heard this story many times.
You have to earn more money
In my own experience I have come across various situations that have conditioned my current employment situation, but the main and most fundamental is money.
Rent, maintenance, your taxes… at the end of the month you have a lot of expenses that you have to be able to assume in order to continue with your task. It may or may not work depending on the circumstances, but that is not the issue.
I don’t know about you, but I was (and am) all day thinking about things I could do to make more money. Because yes, because that’s what this is all about in the end. Making money.
I’d like to say that I have a notebook in which I write down all the things I could do to achieve my goal, but even though that notebook exists, I don’t usually write down many ideas in it. They tend to stay in my head and I often forget them or discard them because I decide that they won’t be of any benefit to me as they simply won’t interest anyone.
These are ideas that, after all, take time to develop. But how can you do that if you have to work? Unless you inherit a good amount of money or have a charitable soul that lends you what you need to do it, it is very difficult.
What if I go to work to other country?
Things aren’t going well and you’re thinking of alternatives that might solve your problem. What if I emigrate? There has been a lot of talk about this at the moment and my conclusion is that although for many it is an option, it is very possible that the reality is very different for many others.
It’s a very nice idea to go to another country where you can grow as a person, meet other people, learn a language, go to a country where your work is valued as it should be, but you will most likely end up working for two hard men in a job you don’t like. This decision depends on you.
What we can certainly learn from the latter is that in this profession (as in many others) the most important thing is to never stop learning. The better you do professionally, the better and more effective you will be in applying your knowledge to your work, which can lead to new job opportunities.
Be a nonconformist. If you’re comfortable with that programming language, change it for another one that challenges you, if you think your layout is perfect, look for new techniques that are more semantic and optimal, if you think you know everything about user experience, you don’t know how a user behaves.
Life as a self-employed person is not easy (says one who is no longer self-employed), but it is all about finding a formula that works for you and that allows you to make a living the way you like. Most likely you will have good months and bad months, but what I am clear about is that being freelance (much cooler to call it that, where we are going to end up) changes your work philosophy and your vision of life radically.