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Freelancing is tough, but an enjoyable ride!

Freelancing. No strict working hours, no bosses hanging around you in the office, and no office at all. It sounds like a perfect dream job, right? Well, like anything else in life, it has its own pros and cons – of course. But still, I must admit that freelancing is awesome and wonderful. I am a freelancer myself, and I enjoy it. Want to know more about freelancing and how I handle it? Just continue reading because that is what I am about to tell you.

Let me introduce myself first. My name is Rodna, I was born in 1996 and I am from Macedonia. I have been working as a freelancer for four years now, and it has been a life-changing experience. My native language is Macedonian, but I have been studying English since 1st grade and I have finished high school where the subjects were taught in English. So, after finishing high school, I went to University in a different town. And when I saw that university costs a fortune, I started thinking about how to earn extra money and help my family with my expenses. I started exploring job opportunities online, and these were my first steps towards freelancing.

My Professional Path

My first freelancing job was on the platform called Odesk (now Upwork). I know English and I study Medicine, so I thought that writing medical and health-related articles were the perfect combination. One job led to another, and another, and another… One piece of advice: when starting out, take a lower-paying client. With this, you can build a stronger portfolio. After some time, I started working for some clients outside Upwork and I was paid directly. So, my job is 100% remote. Basically, I learned hell a lot of my way through this time. My experience is gained thanks to the variety of different projects I’ve been working on – from articles with pieces of advice to product description.

At the beginning, I was struggling with making concepts, keywords, SEO, etc. Everything was new to me, and each client had different requirements. But nothing is impossible. Thanks to the internet, there are tutorials for every single thing now. So, I started learning new things and implementing them in my work. I learned that if you want to keep your customers happy, you must be innovative all the time. Is it hard? Yes, of course, it is. But learning stuff hard way is more efficient. But believe me – there comes a time when the investment pays off. After some time, I was more secure in myself, and I knew that I have improved my skills. This results in higher payments as well! 😊

Other challenges that come with Freelancing

The most challenging thing is health insurance. In the beginning, I was having health insurance through my mother (because I am a student). But after reaching a certain limit of income in my country, you are losing your right on health insurance. Luckily, there are private health insurance plans here in Macedonia that are not that cheap, and offer really good options. So, I am paying around 20 euros a month for my health insurance. But I think that we should take care of our health, and I would rather stay at home some weekends are saved money for the insurance that goes out. Sorting our priorities helps a lot with money management.

Billing our clients: When working outside the Upwork platform, I always ask for half payment upfront. I don’t find it mean because I have been scammed a few times.

Time management. When working from home, it is so easy to get distracted. The phone may ring, my favorite tv show may start on the TV, some friends may come to my house, etc. To avoid this, I try to get rid of any distractions, I put my phone in silent mode and focus on my work.

Finding clients and promoting yourself. I am aiming to keep my clients and maintain a longer work relationship, then looking for new ones all the time. It is easier to communicate when you know the client for a longer period. Also, I am thinking of having my own website where I can write about my services and show some work samples. Also, I want to grow a startup.

The daily routine. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t even have a routine – I wake up at a different time every day. This is a huge problem for me when I have to get up sometimes early in the morning and do something. I am not used to waking up in the morning. But I am trying to set a daily routine by setting my alarm. Even though I don’t have to get up and go to work, I still don’t want to make disbalance to my body.

What I have learned from Freelancing?

The frequency of work is varies. If you have lots of work this month, it doesn’t mean that the next month will be the same. Sometimes there is a gap in the project, or sometimes you must give your body a rest. I aim to work more sometimes, and then rest during my exams and focus on my studies.

Having time for yourself and for your family is so important. You should never put work first. Be your own priority! Manage your work, and have free time for your friends and family. This will result in better work efficiency as well.

There is the flexibility of choices. You can choose your working hours, your clients and the type of niche you want to work in. It is really up to you.

Finding motivation can be difficult. Yep, not every day will be your best day. But try to stay positive and finish your work, so you can rest later.

Since you have enough money to live, you are okay. I am not stressing about money. I am happy with having money to pay for my normal needs. I believe that the future is bright for those who are trying. Normally, I think that a steady monthly income would be better, but that means working 8 hours a day, every day (even from home). For now, I don’t have that time since I am still studying, But, normally, in the future, I would definitely go for full-time and constant work from home.

And lastly – I CAN DO IT! I am strong and confident, and I know that if I work hard, I will succeed.

So, is freelancing for you? Does it seem like your dream career? As I said, there are ups and downs, like everything else in life. Sometimes you have to take the risk. Remember that only if you dream bigger, you can achieve bigger. Some people want to have flexibility and freedom that the freelancing job is offering. Others, on the other hand, enjoy the stability and security that a regular job provides. What about you? Do you have any personal experience that you would like to share? Are you a newbie or a long member of this club? I would love to hear your story! And of course: Enjoy freelancing – it is tough, but an enjoyable ride!
Author: Rodna Guguljanova