Many of us went into freelancing because we want something that has become the ultimate luxury in American society: Control of our time.
Even jobs offering a telecommuting option don’t give you full decision making power over the hours you work and where you get projects done. If the company wants you in the office next week for whatever reason, you’d better be there.
Freelancing can be a much better alternative for highly skilled professionals who want to know that no one else can take away control of their daily calendars–but it doesn’t work out that way for everyone, as the latest State of Independence in America report by MBO Partners points out.
Free agents who look at what they’re doing as a business tend to achieve the autonomy many of us crave, according to the report. Constantly cultivating clients who value their skills, they can pick and choose projects that fit into the schedule and lifestyle they want–and often make good money.
But those who bring an employee’s mindset to freelancing and end up handing over total control of their work flow to someone else, whether it’s single company bringing them on as a contractor without benefits or a temp agency, often end up miserable. They lack both control over their schedules and, in many cases, an adequate income. It’s an easy trap to fall into if you have lost a job and are desperate for income now, without the breathing room to think about how to build a business. Not surprisingly, many folks in this category yearn for a traditional job.
So how do you make sure you end up in the first group–loving life as a freelancer and able to pay the bills? Steve King, partner in Emergent Research, which conducted surveys for the report, shared his insights when we spoke recently for Forbes.
If you’re looking to take your business to the next level in 2014, take three minutes to read his tips. He’s devoted years to studying the freelance economy, and I consider him one of the world’s leading experts on independent work.