Can you handle it?
Freelancing is not for the faint of heart, and that’s especially true in the project management field. In project management, even the most well laid plans can fall apart. Projects can be shutdown if they are no longer determined a priority. Scope can change, and shorten the duration of the project. That 12 month engagement could turn into 6, or worse, 3 months. Sometimes what looked like a great project/project manager fit turns into a tight squeeze. Then you’re on the outside looking in. Are you ready for the unknowns?
You’re a BUSINESS
Whether your assignment has you working as a corp-to-corp, 1099, or W2, it’s imperative that you view and treat your freelance career as a business. You might only have 1 or 2 “big accounts” for the year, but like a small business you need to constantly market yourself via networking. You have to monitor and control your personal brand as a freelancer to build your reputation. You have to have a reserve fund, a.k.a “rainy day” money, until you find the next client, or any of the events in the previous section occur. Multi-millionaire and recording artist, Jay Z, once said, “I’m not a business man, I’m a BUSINESS maaaaan.” That’s the mentality you need to carry with you in your freelance travels.
Speaking from personal experience, we tend to think once the project is closed, we move on to the next one, generally forgetting about all the great people we had the pleasure to work with. I’ve made this mistake. Yes some were better than others, and gave you far less grief, but overall you just spent the last 6-18 months building relationships. Ending a project doesn’t mean those relationships have to end. It’s sort of like having had a child together after delivering a project. Don’t be a deadbeat and disappear off the face of the planet. We’re all super busy, but get those emails, cell phone numbers, and say hello once in a while to keep in touch even on LinkedIn. The value of your network is immeasurable as a freelancer.
Freelancing is the Future
Most people don’t realize freelancing is probably in their future. Actually it’s more like an old fashion trend coming back into vogue. Before the dawn of big business, artisans brought their crafts to markets. Skilled individuals pretty much went door to door offering their services. With tight global economies, freelancing will become “the new black” as people struggle to find the “security” of full time employment. Risks to your lifestyle will increase, but if you apply some project management to your life: identify, monitor, and control those risks by having a plan.