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article imageOp-Ed: What people do not tell you about small business freelancing

By Walter McDaniel     Jul 18, 2014 in Business
Are you incredibly skilled, charismatic and even intelligent? Freelancing may still not be for you. Come read about the other side of being a freelancer.
Similarly many of my friends in small business and freelancing are or were as well. We'll talk about what "were" means later on. For now I will bring you some facts about why freelancing, for most people, is not a great way to make money. Granted, it is something we love to do so we do it anyway. Obviously this does not make it any easier during a money crunch.
Admittedly the biggest reason that freelancers have such a hard time is that we are ignoring the laws of supply and demand. Even with an impressive skill set you are competing with thousands of people with similar skills. Sites such as Elance insure that not only are you competing with people with similar skills they are also doing it for rates at around 0.30 USD for 100 words. So from the start of the game a new freelancer has the odds against them.
Freelancing around the world is another reason rates are bad. When someone from another country can afford to much less than you and still make a living you simply cannot compete with them. Even with some of us writing 5,000 to 10,000 words each day or putting out a similar amount of other work we still cannot compete on price. Even at a better quality point you should not expect to beat out writers in countries that have favorable exchange rates. Odesk, which Elance bought, is the best example of this.
Do not go into freelancing unless you have backup money or connections that will let you afford having no health insurance and sometimes little money to pay the bills. The new "Obamacare" helped some but only in certain situations.
By and large if you are a freelancer you are liable to a client. In any event you will be held responsible if a job goes awry, even if it is not your fault. Incidents happen like this so often that people write guides about it.
Of course some of you are probably saying that this is trophy syndrome. Admittedly some people in my generation have it. However for myself and many of my freelancing friends we never fell into that. All of us worked constantly and a few of us, myself included, worked multiple jobs at once to make ends meet. At the same time you should not get into this line of work unless you are ready for a serious load.
For instance take my friend Joe Hall. He is very talented in every area of SEO and appears in some big media. His life is going pretty well now. I cannot speak for him in this area and you should, by no means, take my word as his but I know he had some trouble as well despite having an impressive skill set. Generally speaking this was probably in part because freelancers in any area are not paid well until they become famous or Join a larger company. He now works for Internet Marketing Ninjas.
Indeed, for many of us the job of a freelancer is much less secure and comfortable than many similar ones. Freelancers do it anyway because at least on some level we love what we do.
Before you get started make sure your talent is enough to handle such a demanding attempt. Both mental strength and physical skill are things you need for it. Do not just assume you have both, get feedback. Why am I so confident? Because outside of this site I'm known for my work with a number of clients who have given me huge amounts of positive feedback. I will admit though I'm a small fish here as we have a number of top writers who put in insane amounts of effort into freelancing. If you enter the arena you will eventually run into someone as skilled as you too.
Finally you also need to realize that no matter what business you go into connections are all that matter. Period. Skill, knowledge and everything else falls to the wayside in the face of this. Students planning to become freelancers should start making connections now or you will end up high and dry like I was for years despite having an incredible skill set and portfolio.
In conclusion freelancing is not the beautiful escape from nine to five jobs that you may have heard it is. In time you can able to build a name for yourself but until then you should prepare to make some sacrifices and work hard. Can you handle this? If so then welcome to the ranks of the freelance world.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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