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There are all types of myths, both positive and less than positive, that come with the territory of freelancing.
While the number of freelancers across the world continues to trend upward -- nearly 50 million just in the United States, as of 2015 -- many would-be freelancers refrain from making the jump because they have incomplete or inaccurate information about the #freelancelife.
Here are four of the most purveyed myths that hold back people from taking the leap.
No job security
I tend to laugh at this one, only because many folks act as if there is such a thing as “job security” when they are employed by someone else. In most cases, two week’s notice is two week’s notice, whether you receive it from a client or from an employer.
The benefit of freelancing is that you can build a roster of clients, so you’re not totally reliant on any one client and revenue stream. Plus, there isn’t a limit to the number of new clients you can add to your roster at any point in time.
As a full-time employee, you are totally reliant on your employer, and you can only have one employer (and thus revenue stream) at a time. Most rich people will tell you: The key to making more money is adding more revenue streams.
They say being a freelancer is lonely, especially when you work from home. That’s one of the reasons why I choose to not work from home. (The others being psychological separation of work and home, and clinical proof that working around other people makes us more productive.)
Thanks to coffee shops and shared workspaces (Exhibit A: WeWork), you can enjoy working alone without feeling lonely.
Lack of experience
Experience never hurts, but it certainly isn’t a prerequisite to developing a successful freelance business (whether part-time or full-time).
Before I started my freelance business, my experience was nothing more than a Business 101 course at some community college. Even then, the vast majority of my business skills today are directly attributable to everything I’ve done after making the freelance jump.
The point is: Courses, books and blogs are great, but you won’t truly understand the art and science of freelancing until you immerse yourself in it.
Word-of-mouth is the Holy Grail
Most freelancers will tell you they built their business on the back of word-of-mouth. In fact, freelancers often go as far as to say they have a “word-of-mouth-based business.”
No wonder so many freelancers become job seekers when word-of-mouth suddenly and unexpectedly dries up.
Don’t get me wrong, word-of-mouth is terrific -- but it’s also limiting and uncontrollable (limiting because it almost always happens in one-to-one settings, and uncontrollable because you can’t control when and to whom people talk about you and your services).
Whether you freelance or build an international conglomerate, the most successful businesses use multi-level marketing strategies. Word-of-mouth can be one such strategy, but when it becomes the only one, you inhibit growth and control of your freelance destiny.