Why become a freelancer. And do you even have the guts to do it?

No, it's not for everyone. Being your own boss. Yay? Yeah, I'm a boss. But it also means sticking your neck out. You're responsible for everything. And sometimes you have to force yourself to do the unpopular dirty work. Or scold yourself. Motivate yourself. And reward yourself adequately.


So before you give a triumphant testimony in the current clamour and get your fancy business cards printed, think seriously. Am I in the mood for this? Do I have the necessary morals? Financial literacy?


I'll have free Fridays, yay!


Mmm, you won't. You probably won't even have weekends off the first few years. 


What does that imply? Go freelance doing exclusively and only what you are not only good at, but also what you enjoy. Above average. 



If you're looking for freelance work because you don't enjoy it and want to work less, this is not the solution. Let alone a good one. 


And what about that much vaunted freedom, nothing too?!


Yes. Actually, no. As a freelancer, you have a lot of freedom to do things your own way, to schedule jobs/work your own way. You're a night owl and you work best at night, but you need a nap in the morning? Why not. If you don't enjoy that kind of schedule, like meeting with customers, go for it. 




But that great freedom also equals great commitment. For example, if you give yourself too much freedom, you might not be able to work all the contracts you've agreed to. Bummer! It's a big one. 


Fixing a broken reputation takes many times longer and is many times more laborious than building a good reputation from scratch.


What does that imply? If you're not lying to yourself and you're already guessing that you can't work in a latte without an employer's whip over you... then you probably can't. Ergo, the seemingly bohemian freelance regime will turn more against you. Of course, we're not saying self-discipline can't be taught... 


Ugh, so a land without milk and starch...



Not at all. You can't just throw the ball in the park! In the Czech Republic, freelance work is quite sophisticated, so that you don't easily get into complete financial trouble. You have to pay social security and health insurance, which is not an exorbitant horror. 


So even if your business doesn't work out and you pack it in after a while, you won't be left on the street with a window to your mouth but without a pension. And that's enough of a crutch for a businessman to sleep better...


What does that imply? That if business doesn't work out, you just get busy again. Worse things have happened, and at least you tried. That happens to be appreciated. Most people are just smart (stupid) bullshitting. 


What to take extra care of

Oh, yeah, for the money. Whether you're sculpting furniture from pallets, inspecting boilers or building pergolas, financial (il)literacy can always catch up with you. Okay, and that means exactly what?!


Maybe you can't price well in the market where you carry your trade. You'll push it too high, so no one will hire you. But more likely, you set it too low, and you can't and won't make reserves. Let alone save for a decent retirement.


And that's like having a spare in the car. If you miss it in the trunk, you'll run out of it one day. 




Can you sketch out a solid, realistic financial plan? Good at predicting income and expenses? If your income is not significantly more generous than your expenses, you need to dip into your reserves in case of sudden (but necessary) expenses. But no matter how hard you look, nothing. Oops. 


Unpredictably, a crucial income drops out (a customer goes bankrupt and doesn't pay) and you can't dip into your reserves, you haven't managed to create any? Stressed as hell. 


What does that imply? Read smart advice on pricing. Feel free to humbly go to an expert to discuss it with you over coffee. Handle finances with respect. You don't have to have your cheeks permanently pinched... but you know what? For the first two or three years, you better. 




Didn't it sound optimistic as a whole? More like Game of Thrones by trade? That's right. It's not about enticing some disgruntled multinational to go to the trade licensing office for a business letter. 


If, despite our few basic nagging warnings, you still feel like the freelance life is for you, give it a try. Until you try... And once you do, you might finally be happy at work. 


And that is our heartfelt wish for you. May you be happy. And at work.