The modern work lanscape is one that is constantly changing. Today’s office is no longer one filled with cubicles and fluorescent lights, and more and more people are striking out on their own and joining the freelancing world in order to have more control over their careers. PSFK shares stories from various freelancers, who comment on what they know now that they wish they’d known when they started out.
Since relocating to NYC four years ago from Kuwait, I’ve found myself mostly working amongst strategists and creative professionals for whom freelancing is a way to gradually gain creative control over their work. Indeed, the freelance lifestyle is a symbol of independence, nimbleness, and the pursuit of passion itself. Yet, while some of us want our own clients, many of us also have aspirations to transfer into new fields of interest like film, music, literature, and technology. Thus we are torn between monetizing our passion and working for others. Moreover, as strategic and creative professionals we are naturally drawn to speaking engagements, consulting opportunities, start-up ideas, editorial work, and workshops. Setting ourselves up to accommodate all of these deliverables and directions requires specialized knowledge that is conflicting and difficult to centralize.
Organizations like the Freelancers Union help us manage risk by navigating the bigger picture. Through their resources, freelancers learn to deal with technical matters that can seriously hinder their progress in the long run. Sara Horowitz’s book The Freelance Bible touches upon countless learnings that will help you do things like: find clients, protect your ideas, secure a health insurance plan, price your work, deal with dry spells, maintain a robust network, organize taxes, and develop a personal brand. Horowitz accumulates and synthesizes her years of experience in the freelance world and boils it down to a tightly-knit reference guide. Horowitz covers both emotional and factual inquiries, meaning that she pays attention to topics like dealing with stress, coping with lack of work as well as telling what you need to know about intellectual property protection, taxes, and your insurance.
Personally, if I had had Horowitz’s wisdom in mind when I first arrived in NYC, I would’ve been more studious in monetizing my range of creative and professional skills. However, the book is helping me today as I evaluate and prioritize my capabilities. Naturally, when I relocated, my goal was simply to do freelance work as I searched for full-time employment (and I have full-time employment currently). But eventually I realized that being a freelancer was a major contributor to my happiness. Being able to translate my core skills into marketable offerings more quickly would’ve enabled me to take on more projects sooner.
The bible would’ve helped me advance certain aspects of my work more efficiently, for consultants are no longer judged based solely on their years of experience, but also on the quality of the questions that they ask and how their solutions are conveyed. While the professional freelance lifestyle cannot be reduced to lists of tips, the reference guide will help you get structured and solidly set-up.
This book accurately sets readers’ expectations about the path they are embarking upon by providing a realistic picture of how the game works, and gives access to important lessons so independent-minded professionals understand the larger context of the industry and can make informed decisions about their careers earlier on.
PSFK has partnered with the Freelancer’s Union to bring you a content series written by freelancers for freelancers, about how to succeed in the business – whether you’re just starting out, or are a seasoned member of the community. Click here to buy the book.