Why do you want to do it?

There are lots of reasons to set-up on your own. For me, the reasons I still work independently are:

  • Control over the type of work I do
  • Flexibility in my schedule
  • The freedom to set my own path (try new things in business)
  • The lack of commute
  • Being around/at home is useful and helps reduce our childcare costs

Most of that boils down to flexibility. Your mileage will vary depending on the type of work you’ll be doing and what you want from it.

The narrative around flexibility in freelancing is interesting because the circumstances that allow people to work flexibly vary a great deal. Lots of freelancers work normal-ish schedules – out of choice or necessity – but the other benefits of self-employment still make it a net gain.

If flexibility is one of the main reasons you’re considering freelancing – perhaps to help with family life – it’s worth bearing in mind that building flexibility into a business takes time. A lot of marketing suggests that freelance life is instant flexible work, but work isn’t a tap you turn on or off: especially when you’re starting out.

Freelancers who have lots of flexibility in their business tend to fall into one of these categories:

  • They’ve built up a stable business over years
  • They have a strong roster of clients and/or network of referrals
  • They’re probably able to work remotely
  • They may have a source of passive income (e.g. a course), which requires an audience (read: time to build)
  • They may have financial support or not need to rely on their freelance income to survive

What I’m getting at here is that glossy #FreelanceLife social media snaps don’t portray the all-important backstory. Everyone’s situation is different, so think about why you want to do it and how it will work for you.

Ultimately, your why needs to be strong enough to see you through all the ups-and-downs of freelance life.