When I resigned from my corporate job, and my sister needed someone to fill a role in their team, I decided I would start freelancing. I figured, why not - I have my own laptop, and an internet connection at home, this should be fairly easy. Later did I realize that I wasn’t entirely prepared.
I had a lot of issues when I started freelancing - my internet connection was slow to non-existent, my then MSI Wind U160 Netbook would shut off without warning, making me unable to commit to my deadlines and along with other issues, I didn’t realize freelancing would be so different than a 9-5 job.
Resigning from a corporate job can make you decide to become a freelancer on a whim. However, you wouldn’t realize that you’re not entirely prepared for the setup until you’ve experienced a lot of setbacks as you start your freelancing career. Here are the things that you may want to prepare in advance before you delve into the freelancing world.
A stable internet connection
When you start freelancing you rely on your internet connection to be able to communicate with your clients, submit work, and negotiate prices among other things. It is best to always be prepared for scenarios where you might suddenly lose your internet connection.
- Have a backup connection
The Philippines has major telecommunication networks that offer dongles or pocket wifi that can be bought both at a prepaid or postpaid plan.
- Scout for places that offer high-speed internet
It’s best to have a list of internet cafes, coffee shops, co-working spaces, or a hotel where you know the internet is reliable. Here is a great article of places to work around in Metro Manilla.
Buy the right equipment
Whether you decide to use a desktop, or a laptop, be sure that you have the right hardware and software to do your work. Do you have the right computer specs for the job? Do you have all the necessary software to complete the task?
Also, consider buying a quality keyboard, mouse, and headset. The headset will come in handy when interviewing and you may have clients who want to have an online meeting with you every now and then.
Before you jump into freelancing, you have to be able to assess if you are ready to be a freelancer or not. Remember that freelancing will require you to directly liaise and negotiate with your client, without the help of a Human Resources Department, or a Supervisor guiding you.
- Your skills and expertise
Are you able to identify your top skills and area of expertise? Make sure that you have at least one area of expertise to focus on instead of being a jack of all trades. Grow and expand this skill so that you can improve yourself in this market.
- Market yourself accordingly
Don’t sell yourself short. Even if most of the freelancers you know in the same market have the same rate per hour, determine what you think your rate is worth.
- Time Management
Learn to manage your time. Freelancing allows you a more flexible time table. You don’t have the HR Department checking your time in and time out everyday. Make sure that you can stick to the deadlines you agree with your client.
- Are you mentally ready?
As a freelancer, you will need to be self-motivating and do what needs to be done even without being told. There are times when business may be slow, or you may have several contracts going on at once. You will need to learn to not only plan ahead for the slow time, but juggle and organize your contracts when you’re really busy.
- Your skills and expertise
How about you? Did you feel prepared when you decided to become a freelancer? What do you wish you would have prepared for?
Nice article! It's rainy season and I get worried about brownouts. I think I'll get myself one of those pocket wifi's. I didn't even know they have pre paid subscriptions.
I would have prepared for ...... "sacrificing Friday evening with friends". My working hours shifted by 12 hours from pre freelancing days..
Hi Jose Francisco,
The rainy season really is a problem! I have tried using a prepaid pocket wifi, and you can reload it just like how you would reload a mobile prepaid subscription. I think you should also check whether the provider's signal in the area is good.
I can relate to sacrificing Friday nights with friends. I guess one reason why it doesn't happen as often is because freelancers don't have to wait for traffic to ease up on a Friday night.