“I couldn’t be freelance, it’s too risky.”
I hear this all the time from people who have traditional jobs. Often from people who would actually love the opportunity to work for themselves creating projects they love and find meaningful.
One of the main reasons I started Freelance Success back in 2020, was the idea of job security.
Society drills it into us – from teachers to parents and friends – that we should work to get a steady job and climb the ladder, because that’s the safe, sensible option. It’s the one with least risk of failure attached to it.
But then… what happened?
Covid struck in 2020 and suddenly jobs were being shed left right and centre all around the world. Jobs that people thought they had for life were suddenly gone in a puff of smoke, through no fault of their own.
I saw a lot of people losing their jobs, losing control over their future and I realised that one of the main benefits of going freelance is the opportunity to define your life for yourself, and to take on more control over what happens to you.
Now I’m not saying it was (or is) easy for freelancers either – there have been all kinds of challenges because of the pandemic. But one of the benefits of being freelance was being able to be reactive to the rapidly changing situation, rather than simply having to let it happen to us.
Spreading your risk
Apart from being able to pick and choose the work you do, and having the freedom to do that work on your own terms, a great benefit of freelancing is the fact that you can spread your risk.
If you’re employed for a traditional company, and that company starts to fail – you’re pretty much stuffed. If you’re a freelancer, however, you can have multiple clients, and multiple options should things start to go wrong.
Freelancers can be vulnerable to this too – especially if you’re relying on one big client. That’s why we talk a lot about diversifying your income and finding multiple income streams if you can.
But it’s a little like investing. If you’re putting all your eggs in one basket – when things go wrong, it can be catastrophic.
If you’ve spread your risk across different options, however, you’re going to be in a much better position to ride out the storm.
Is freelancing too risky?
The idea that freelancing can actually be a less risky option than traditional employment is a very new one, but I think it’s going to become even more accepted as we move forwards.
The internet is still relatively young, but it has already completely revolutionised how we work.
Thanks to the internet, the typical worker has so many more options, without any geographic limits.
You can offer your services anywhere in the world’s and make a living in completely new ways – from social media management to SEO and creative services like graphic design.
The internet has also allowed anyone to develop their own skills using training and tutorials on YouTube for free.
I have learned so much more online over the last six months than I did over three years at a university.
It’s possible to learn almost anything and think of ways to help people solve problems with those skills.
As this knowledge spreads, and more people understand the incredible opportunities we have in 2021, more and more people are going to choose to go freelance, and take control of their lives and careers.
Traditional jobs could be riskier than freelancing
Traditional companies are already having to adapt, and most traditional jobs are under threat in the future. The idea of a job for life is starting to sound like an old fashioned pipe dream.
So rather than being something that is a “safe option” – getting a job where you’re not working on self-improvement, growing your skills and thinking about the future, may actually be the riskiest option.
Because what happens in 10 years, when that company shuts down, and you haven’t kept your skills up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies?
Or if automation is able to replace your work, and you’ve not been building the one thing automation will not be able to recreate – human creativity?
Things are moving fast, and there is always a risk in freelancing, just as there is in employment. But my sense is the balance of risk is shifting and will shift rapidly as we move forwards.
Chris Guillebeau sums it up well in The Art of Non-Conformity:
Freelancing is certainly not for everyone, but if you have the curiosity, creativity and the urge to build your own little world where you’re not so vulnerable to external factors – then freelancing could be the ideal choice for you.
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