Alright, now before I get started, I just want to acknowledge the fact that I know that not all of you are going to agree with me on this topic, and that's okay! I should also mention right now that the second half of this post is NOT for you if you currently have a 9-5 job that you love. Now I know that not everyone is wanting to start their own business, nor should they: it's not for everyone. This is just what I believe, and I would love to share why I believe it with you :)
WHY I STARTED FREELANCING
First, let's start with why I started freelancing in the first place.
If you read my last couple of posts (click here to read my first post!), you already know that I began freelancing last year on the side of my full-time job. I discovered an amazing group of other entrepreneur ladies that are all out there #makingithappen, and it made me realize that I wanted to become an entrepreneur myself. They made me believe that my dreams were possible.
For one thing, I've always loved art. When I was younger, it was rare that I wasn't carrying around a box of crayons or markers and paper or constantly doodling in a sketchpad. FUN FACT: at one point in high school I had this serious obsession with drawing eyes. (I know, a little creepy). This creative side of me has never gone away.
I went to college majoring in graphic design, but ended up changing majors pretty quickly, choosing something "more practical," (i.e. Business), as it would have more application in the real world when I graduated, or so I had been told by professors and other classmates. I also didn't feel that I had the skills to make it in graphic design. But, many of those business classes bored me TO DEATH (ex: accounting, statistics, etc.), so I was in constant need of a creative outlet.
Luckily, I ended meeting some really awesome people that were in the Mass Communications department majoring in Advertising. BOOM. And just like that, I found my peeps. I changed my major right away to Applied Advertising, as it was the best of both worlds for me: business mixed with creativity. This was easily one of the best decisions I made during my college years. I met so many amazing people, became a lead designer for an on-campus advertising club with some of my best friends, it led to several design internships and jobs I may never have known about, and through all of the clubs I was in, I was able to visit so many amazing advertising agencies that gave me a glimpse into the agency world of graphic design.
Now, I'm not going to lie: I ended my last few months at college thoroughly believing I would get a job at an advertising agency, as that was what we were all hoping and praying and applying for as we neared graduation. Little did I know, getting a job at an advertising agency is HARD without the right experience, and especially for a graphic designer, you have to have an amazing portfolio. That's fine, I totally get that. So, after interviewing at several ad agencies in Kansas City that didn't really lead to any job offers (sadly), I ended up being offered a job in Omaha as an Administrative Assistant. Not exactly what I was looking for, but I hadn't been offered anything else; graduation was nearing, and to be honest, I learned SO MUCH from this job that has truly helped me in the business I am running on my own today.
One thing is for certain about running your own business: you have to have AWESOME customer service. You are the face of your business, and you are the person interacting with your potential and current clients #onthedaily. My administrative assistant job was CONSTANT customer service. Answering phones, emails, scheduling appointments, submitting changes for ad copy, etc., etc. Not easy, let me tell you. And I definitely have had to deal with quite a few angry customers. But seriously, this taught me SO MUCH about handling clients.
Sure, I liked my administrative assistant job, but there was virtually no creative aspects to it, unless I was granted permission to help customers come up with ideas for their advertisements. Eventually, I came home every night just itching for something creative to do. So, I ended up messing around on the computer one night and came across The Shelancers Club, which I mentioned in my first post. I joined the Facebook group, introduced myself and got to virtually "meet" these amazing ladies who were starting and running their own businesses.
And then it hit me like a brick wall: I could start and run my own business too!
Next thing I know, I'm dreaming about my business idea day in and day out, working on it in the evenings after work and on the weekends, researching as much as possible about how to make it happen #forrealz. I won't lie, there were several times where I almost gave up on the idea of starting my own business. I would come across other freelancers that were so much better at what I'm trying to do that it seemed impossible for me to even think about competing.
Luckily, that group of ladypreneurs I mentioned earlier? Yeah, they helped me get past that nonsense FAST. What I've learned is this: there will always be someone out there doing the same thing you're doing, doing it better, faster, smarter, prettier, etc. But you're never going to get better at what you do by wishing you were in their shoes or had their talent. You just have to START. Start anywhere. Start with what you have and just KEEP GOING. Seriously, the best way to make your dreams happen is to START RIGHT NOW. One of my favorite quotes that I repeated to myself every day at the beginning of trying to start my little business was this:
"A year from now, you'll wish you had started today." - Karen Lamb
YES. A million times YES. If I hadn't started a year ago, my business would not be where it is right now. I don't even like to think about that.
So if you've got a dream that's been nagging you at the back of your mind, START RIGHT NOW. You'll thank me later.
WHY I BELIEVE FREELANCING HAS MORE JOB SECURITY THAN A 9-5
So. Let's get into what I'm guessing is the real reason you've made it this far into my post, or why you even decided to click on it in the first place.
DISCLAIMER: Like I mentioned above, I know not everyone is going to agree with me on this, and that's okay. This is just what I believe. I should also mention right now that this post is NOT for you if you currently have a 9-5 job that you love. I know that not everyone is wanting to start their own business, nor should they: it TRULY is not for everyone. But if you're no longer interested in what you're currently doing at your 9-5, or you've got a business idea that just won't let go, then I encourage you to keep reading :)
So, here are my reasons for believing that freelancing/entrepreneurship has more security than a 9-5.
#1: That income ceiling you have at your 9-5? Yeah, your earning potential is unlimited as a freelancer.
Unlike working for someone else, you don't have to beg for raises or struggle to climb the corporate ladder. As a freelancer, you are THE BOSS. You don't have to anyone else in your business, except for your clients. Your income is purely fueled by how willing you are to put the work in to make your business succeed. As a freelancer, there are no limits to amount of money you can make. I know of many freelancers who make 4-5 times the amount of money they would make at a corporate job, and I can see that potential in my own business if I truly put in the work it will take to get me there.
#2: What kind of security does your 9-5 job really have, anyway?
In all honesty, a guaranteed job is a thing of that past. Today, no job comes with the guarantee that it will still be there a month, a week or even a few days from now. Anyone can lose their job and that "guaranteed steady paycheck" at any company at a moment's notice: companies go under, they can no longer afford to pay employees, recessions, etc. It happens.
It is a well-known myth that being a freelancer means you're scraping by in order to survive: not always the truth. In the beginning stages of your freelancing business, yes, it will take time to start establishing a steady income. But, like I mentioned above, if you're willing to #dothework, it will happen.
#3: Passion > Corporate Conformity.
This is the real reason I started my business: PASSION. I couldn't go on living another day without following my passion. Without having started my business, I never would have found out that I LOVE hand lettering and calligraphy, and that I actually have a knack for it. Why would I just sit back and let that talent and passion go to waste when I have the ability to share it with others? I would much rather do that every day that struggle to climb a corporate ladder.
#4: Freelancing gives you freedom.
As a freelancer, you get to do what you love, and be your own boss. If I want to give myself a raise? DONE. If I want to take a day off for myself or take an impromptu vacation? Awesome, DONE. When you're a freelancer, you have the ability to schedule your own hours, work from anywhere, take days off when you feel like it, take a vacation when it's that time - you don't have to ask anyone's permission.
In favor of transparency, I should probably tell you that I still currently hold a corporate position as well as run Letter Lane, so I hope to eventually reach a point in my freelancing career when I am able to do this. Obviously, before you (or I) can start taking tons of days off and week-long vacations, we've got to have a business that is funding that time off. What it takes is that focus and drive, and then you can reward yourself later for all the work you put in to make your dreams happen.
But I promise you, it's possible.
I'm ready to hear your thoughts! Do you agree with my beliefs on freelancing? Do you disagree? I want to know! Please feel free to leave a comment below :)