Can Anyone Be a Freelancer?

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With an estimated 66 million freelancers in the world at the moment—and that figure growing every year—it inevitably raises the question “Will everybody eventually become freelancers?” Of course, it’s impossible to answer that question, but it also, it also raises the question of “Can anyone become a freelancer?” Now that’s a question that we can answer, so let’s take a look.

Can anyone become a freelancer?

Yes and no. Technically, there are no requirements to become a freelancer. You don’t need a qualification or degree to start freelancing. You just need a computer and an internet connection to get started. However, you do need relevant skills and experience in whatever freelance skill or area you decide to pursue—or you’ll really struggle to win clients. And you also need a lifestyle that allows the lack of job and income security, which isn’t always possible if you have bills to pay.

Should anyone become a freelancer?

So, the question is less “Can anyone become a freelancer” and more “Should they?” Personally, I love freelancing and I’d never go back to the 9-5 employed world. However, I wouldn’t recommend freelancing to just anyone, because not everyone is suited to the freelance lifestyle and not everyone would enjoy it. So it’s a less a case of can anyone be a freelancer—and more who is suited to freelancing and who probably wouldn’t enjoy it.

Freelancing may be great for people who:

  • Have a strong independent spirit and sense of initiative.
  • Work better on their own and enjoy their own company.
  • Can motivate and discipline themselves to do the work.
  • Prefer to make all of the decisions and set the goals and direction.
  • Feel restricted by office rules, dress codes, and working hours.
  • Want freedom and full control over their working hours, environment, time, and priorities.
  • Solve their own problems and rely on themselves.
  • Can deal with a lack of stability and the risk of an unstable income.
  • Understand how to sell themselves and their services.
  • Are comfortable pitching to clients and competing against other freelancers.
  • Know how to manage their finances, work-life balance, and workload.

Freelancing might not suit people who:

  • Don’t have a strong sense of initiative or independence.
  • Work better in a team, with a boss.
  • Easily get isolated or lonely working on their own.
  • Struggle to motivate themselves or be disciplined.
  • Prefer other people to make the decisions and set the directions and goals.
  • Feel more comfortable when other people set the rules.
  • Look to someone else to resolve any problems.
  • Prefer security and stability in their working hours and income.
  • Feel uncomfortable promoting themselves, pitching, or competing.
  • Struggle to manage their money or workload.
  • Can’t switch off from their work to ensure a good work-life balance.

The verdict:

Of course, these profiles only provide an indication of whether someone may be suited to freelancing or not, and would enjoy freelancing or not. There are no doubt people who sit outside of these general profiles—and it’s also true that people can change and adapt. For example, if you currently look to someone else to resolve the problems or make the decisions but you want to become a freelancer, you can start working on these areas to make life as a freelancer easier. If you don’t have these characteristics now, you can just start working on them.

Have you got anything to add to these lists? Do you see any of your characteristics reflected in these profiles? Comment below or get in touch.

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