Deciding to strike out on your own as a freelancer is an exciting move. You’ve chosen your field of expertise, you (hopefully) have some credentials and case studies that you’ll use to convince clients that you can deliver the right solutions for their needs, and you’ve got a plan for the future. You know, that future where freelancing didn’t work out for you.
The Pitfalls of Freelancing
Everybody likes the idea of being their own boss, but being the boss isn’t for everybody.
As a freelancer you need to wear many hats, and you need to wear them well if your business is to have a chance of succeeding.
- You could be a fantastic problem solver, but you don’t get enough clients because your marketing falls flat.
- You could have a full calendar, but an empty bank account because you haven’t set the right prices, or because you can’t collect and manage money
- You could be so intent on growing your business that you say yes to every client, yes to every conference, and yes to every networking event, and then you slam headfirst into a brick wall called burnout.
What will you do IF you fall flat on your face as a freelancer?
What’s your next move?
Will you slink back to the job/career that you saw freelancing as an escape from? Or will you be ready to move forward to something better?
No one expects failure; when I started freelancing, I was looking forward to getting tons of clients right away. It was a struggle at first, hence the thoughts of having a backup plan at the time, but I gained traction and started to attract more clients after several successful projects. That said, the previous questions are all worth asking yourself.
Education is Insurance
The education and training that you already have could be enough to secure you a good job doing something that you enjoy if your freelancing adventure leads you over a cliff, but isn’t that a step backwards? To move forwards, you need better skills, or a new or higher level education.
If a bachelor’s degree was good enough for your previous roles, but you want more responsibility and earning power, then you should consider striving to earn your masters. It is a luxury that you will appreciate even when you have a successful career as a freelancer, knowing that you have something to fall back to when things don’t work out.
You could even widen your horizons and take advantage of the security offered by growth industries, by studying a completely new specialty. Sectors with growing needs for skilled graduates include healthcare and social work, civil engineering, information technology, and management. Taking a master’s degree in another field gives you the chance to do a career shift and allows you to add new services to offer as a freelancer at the same time.
There are reasons why a master’s degree is the perfect insurance policy. As you’ll find out below, pursuing a master’s degree of your choice is actually easier than ever. You can still work on your career as a freelancer while taking a course of your choice online.
Those with a master’s degree in select fields also have the advantage of a whole market in front of them. The demand for trained and experienced professionals is higher than ever; it will remain high for the next 5 to 10 years due to the market growth we’re having today. You will be able to land a mid- to top-level management job with your qualifications.
Lastly, the skills and knowledge you earn while pursuing a master’s degree are also useful for boosting your freelancing career to the next level. Skills such as project management, leadership, self-awareness and practical skills related to the industry you are in can help you provide better services to your clients.
Online Degree Programs are a Perfect Fit for Freelancers
Going back to school doesn’t have to mean sitting in lecture halls on a brick and mortar campus. Today, technology allows for you to study for many degree programs at home; for example, you could study for a degree in computer science or your masters in social work online.
An online degree allows you to study part-time, fitting your online MSW around your existing schedule. You can even complete the course at your own pace by allocating more or less time according to your schedules.
You’ll need to make sure that you choose an accredited school like Rutgers Online. Employers value a degree from quality institutions that teach to higher standards and a degree from an accredited school is the only kind worth getting. So watch out for unaccredited schools that will take your money and offer you nothing of value in return.
The idea that your freelance venture could fail isn’t a pleasant one to entertain, and many people refuse to contemplate the possibility of a negative outcome for fear of dwelling on doom and gloom and jinxing themselves before they’ve started. But having a backup plan isn’t a negative thing – not at all, especially when that back up plan gives you some new skills and opens up brand new opportunities.