“Your ability to follow instructions isn’t the secret to your success.” — Seth Godin
How do you handle the uncertainties that come with freelancing and working for yourself?
I recently spoke to a group of high school students who asked me how I handle living with an unpredictable income and lifestyle. How do you do it?
I was invited to speak to my old high school last Friday. My youngest brother is 16 and his teacher was curious when he found out that I was a blogger. My brother is doing a co-op at a barber shop, so his teachers and friends will pop up occasionally for a haircut. This one teacher wanted to hear more about blogging. He invited me to speak about starting an online business. I was hesitant at first. Then I remembered that I promised myself that I would get better at speaking so I took this opportunity.
As I was speaking to the class, many questions were being thrown at me. I enjoyed every single question. I believe in helping out everyone as much as I possibly can. Then the teacher asked a good question that I hear fairly often:
“What do you do if you don’t make any money? How do you pay the bills when you have a family to support?”
How did I respond? Did I tell him to follow your passions? Nope. I said the same thing I always say.
There are no guarantees when it comes to freelancing.
I wasn’t there to sugar coat or to sell the dream. I just wanted to be as brutally honest as possible about blogging and the opportunities that exist. The students were more surprised that you can make money off social media.
Worrying about financial uncertainties doesn’t become an issue until you have bills to pay.
What are the biggest uncertainties with freelancing?
- Making money.
- Getting work done on your own.
Let’s tackle both of these concerns…
Making money with freelancing/blogging.
The good news is that you don’t need a business loan to freelance. You can start freelancing today with only a few bucks and an average idea. Execution is key in my opinion. If you devote a little bit of time and execute your plan fully, you’ll be able to earn money.
The bad news is that there are absolutely no guarantees when it comes to making money. There’s no set salary or any income guarantees. One month you can make $5,000 and the next month you make $500, barely surviving.
You don’t have to worry about a business savings account. You don’t have to stress about some 100-page business plan that nobody will ever read. You just have to find a way to keep the money coming in. If you’ve ever invested in stocks, you know how to deal with risks and uncertainties.
The best way to tackle financial uncertainties with freelancing/blogging full-time is to hold a part-time job/save lots of money before you quit. You have to pay the bills somehow. You still have to eat.
Then comes the next uncertainty.
Getting things done.
Getting work done isn’t easy as a freelancer. Everything is on you. You’re holding many different hats:
- Accounting department.
- Complaints control.
You have to deal with all of this. I’ve covered how to get things done as a freelancer and the truth is that there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. You just have to motivate yourself to work, create systems that force you to bust out of your comfort zone, and learn as you go.
No motivational book or system for getting things done will work if you make excuses or don’t have that certain drive. If you’re happy with complacency, then you should stick with it. If you want more, then I suggest you give something like blogging a try.
I was jealous of all of these high school students at first to be honest. They’re only 15 and they have the world at their finger tips. They can start an online business today and then reap the benefits when they’re in their 20s. Then I realized that we all have these same opportunities. We all hold the potential to make a living doing something that we actually enjoy. It’s never too late. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how old you are. What matters is consistency and sticking to your goals.