3 Warning Signs You're Not Cut Out For A Freelance Career

Dec 24 2013, 2:17pm CST | by

3 Warning Signs You're Not Cut Out For A Freelance Career
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

The allure of freelancing is ever so tantalizing: independence, control, flexible hours, and the freedom to create whatever kind of business you want, with a pot of gold waiting at the end of the rainbow.

But freelancing isn’t for everybody, and the sad truth is most freelancers struggle to cobble out a living, work under constant pressure, and put in far more hours than they ever imagined.

If this makes you more intent on being a freelancer rather than less, then congratulations. You’ve exhibited the first sign that you’re cut out to be a freelancer: relentless determination.

1. Can You Do Whatever It Takes?

It’s easy to say you have relentless determination, but another thing altogether to demonstrate it. Here’s a little story. When I was starting my career, I worked under a man who became one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the packaging industry. One day we were trying to move a very large band saw into the warehouse. After half an hour of trying to muscle it through a doorway, he completely lost his cool and grabbed the saw by the blade to pull it through the door. He cut his hand to the bone and ended up spending a couple of days in the hospital, but mission accomplished.

Now, I’m not saying a person has to go to this extent to be a successful freelancer. But right then and there, I knew definitively that this guy was not going to let anything get in his way. He applied that same ferocity, intensity, and single-mindedness to every business challenge that came his way. So the question is this: How far are you willing to go? Remember, when you’re freelancing, there’s no net, no backup, no bailout. If you like to play it safe, freelancing is a tough row to hoe.

2. Can You Always Be Closing?

In his famous Glengarry Glen Ross speech, Alec Baldwin presses his salesmen to always be closing, always be selling. It’s another over-the-top example, but the point is crucial. If you’re uncomfortable selling, you’re in for a rude awakening because clients have to be sold. No matter how nice you are, how competent you are, how brilliant you are, nobody is going to hand you business. You don’t charm your way to success; you sell your way to success.

This is why social media sites are a deadly trap for would-be freelancers. They encourage a mindset that says, if I just put out enough great content (whatever that means), if I just connect with enough people on LinkedIn, if I just accumulate enough Twitter followers, I’ll magically develop a client base.

Wrong.

Social media sites are useful adjuncts to a sales and marketing plan, provided you knock on a lot of doors, shake a lot of hands, kiss a lot of babies, and ask for orders. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time.

More AllBusiness:
The Top 25 Home-Based Business Ideas
10 Websites Where You Should Have Your Company Profile Listed
25 Frequently Asked Questions on Starting a Business
The 10 Most Creative New Business Ideas Out There



3. Can You Put In the Hours?

Let’s suppose you have relentless determination and you love to sell. Is success around the corner? No, because there’s one more obstacle staring you in the face — a 60-hour work week. Remember, you don’t have a team behind you to balance the books, prepare taxes, design business cards, print business cards, set up phone lines, update computer programs, make copies, expedite rush orders, pay suppliers, and the 1001 other things that every business needs to handle.

Once the shine of independence and control wears off, freelancers are left with only the dull drudgery of carrying out thankless task after thankless task. Now, a lot of people thrive on multitasking and have the energy and enthusiasm to sustain them for 60 or even 80 hours of work, week after week, year after year. If you’re one of those people, my hat is really off to you because you have the ingredient that is so lacking in failed entrepreneurial startups.

A willingness to work covers a multitude of sin, and as Ashton Kutcher said recently, “I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work.” I believe he’s right. Even when freelancers are risk-averse and have below average sales skills, they can succeed anyway simply by putting in the time — not always, but often.

Can you put in the time? If your answer is yes, it may be time to ditch the corporate time card and start punching your own clock as a freelancer.

Read all of Brad Shorr’s articles on AllBusiness.com.

Related Articles on AllBusiness:
Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship Are Here to Stay! Are You Ready?
6 Simple Tips to Set Up a Functional Home Office
Do You Have What It Takes to Start Your Own Business?
Filing Your Taxes For 2013: The Home Office Deduction Will Be Much Easier



For more great small business articles such as The Top 25 Home-Based Business Ideas and Keeping Your Business Ideas Confidential, visit AllBusiness.com and AllBusiness Experts. For local business information on 15 million businesses, be sure to check out InBusiness.com.

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Bryan Singer Accusation Raises Uncomfortable Questions About Which Movies We Choose To See
Bryan Singer Accusation Raises Uncomfortable Questions About Which Movies We Choose To See
No film is getting more publicity right now than X-Men: Days of Future Past. The Fox franchise has been the lowest earner of the Marvel series with no individual movie earning more than $500 million at the box office....
 
 
Sabre, Weibo Jump Through Closing IPO Window
Sabre, Weibo Jump Through Closing IPO Window
The two-year anniversary of Facebook’s 2012 IPO is just a month away, and if recent trends continue the demand for new offerings may start resembling the freeze that followed the social network’s debut. After that...
 
 
Russia Recession Not Out Of The Question
Investors won’t be surprised if the Market Vectors Russia (RSX) exchange traded fund wipes out Thursday’s nice 6.15% pop in the days head, as economic data out of Russia points to a slowdown. Or even worse: a recession...
 
 
How To Use A Secured Card To Rebuild Your Credit
Who among us hasn’t needed a second chance? Or a first opportunity? For the millions of Americans who were battered by the Great Recession and came out of it with a tattered credit score, plus the legions of young...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Bryan Singer Accusation Raises Uncomfortable Questions About Which Movies We Choose To See
No film is getting more publicity right now than X-Men: Days of Future Past. The Fox franchise has been the lowest earner of the Marvel series with no individual movie earning more than $500 million at the box office....
Read more on Business Balla
 
Sabre, Weibo Jump Through Closing IPO Window
The two-year anniversary of Facebook’s 2012 IPO is just a month away, and if recent trends continue the demand for new offerings may start resembling the freeze that followed the social network’s debut. After that...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Russia Recession Not Out Of The Question
Investors won’t be surprised if the Market Vectors Russia (RSX) exchange traded fund wipes out Thursday’s nice 6.15% pop in the days head, as economic data out of Russia points to a slowdown. Or even worse: a recession...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Janet Yellen's Lunchtime Speech -- The Market Heard a Dove, But That Wasn't the Message
At some point during Chair Yellen’s tenure people will likely begin to see the pragmatic central banker she has been. Wednesday’s luncheon speech to the Economic Club of New York was a step in that direction, once...
Read more on Auto Balla
 
Aereo CEO speaks on future of company, industry
NEW YORK (AP) — The future of Aereo, an online service that provides over-the-air TV channels, hinges on a battle with broadcasters that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court next week. For as little as $8 a...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
How To Use A Secured Card To Rebuild Your Credit
Who among us hasn’t needed a second chance? Or a first opportunity? For the millions of Americans who were battered by the Great Recession and came out of it with a tattered credit score, plus the legions of young...
Read more on Business Balla
 
An Egypt Expert Doesn't Share IMF's Hopeful View
Before you think that Gen. Abdul-Fatah al-Sisi’s booting of the Muslim Brotherhood from power and legitimacy in Egypt has restored a sort of Mubarak-y order, consider this week’s grim report:  The senior fellow for the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Why Brazil's Unemployment Rate Is So Low
The unemployment rate can baffle a Brazil watcher.  How can the economy be growing at its lowest level since the credit crisis of 2008-09, yet unemployment continue to decline. On Wednesday, Brazil’s unemployment...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Social Security's Proper Role In Your Retirement Plan
Could you live on Social Security? That seems to be a stock answer for many folks nearing retirement, and it’s a tremendously misguided view. According to the Social Security Administration’s latest statistical snapshot...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners Named Top Dividend Stock With Insider Buying and 6.95% Yield (KMP)
In this series, we look through the most recent Dividend Channel ”DividendRank” report, and then we cherry pick only those companies that have experienced insider buying within the past six months. The officers and...
Read more on Business Balla
 
 
Auto Balla Sexy Balla Sport Balla TV Balla Politics Balla Movie Balla Apple Balla Business Balla Ad Balla Celebrity Balla