Why freelance?
Many agree that freelancing has its benefits and drawbacks. In my discipline area, freelancing offers a lot of opportunities providing your skill set is wide enough. Many people in many industries are looking for someone with programming experience and it’s not impossible to find small projects to do. What’re the benefits of this? For one, you’re your own boss, taking which projects you want and working when you want to. You can also earn more than usual on a project, as well as more than employees in a firm, as you can accept many projects and contracts. You also develop a large skill set from working on many different things. It of course has its drawbacks, and it’s up to the person whether they’re worth it or not. For one you have no job security. You work a contract and when it’s done, it’s done. You have no paid holidays and no breaks that you don’t provide yourself and lose money on. Anytime spent not working or looking for another contract is money lost. There’s very little certainty of actually getting work as well, you could have a long period with lots of jobs, followed by a drought and a severe lack. Finally, you’re entirely responsible for everything you do, and every aspect of it, not just the project itself.

What does Freelancing require from someone? It requires dedication and patience. You’ll spend nearly as much time looking for work as you do working on it. Sometimes you’ll be flooded with so much work to do, you have no free time, and other times you’ll have absolutely nothing to do and no money coming in. It’s lonely work, especially if you’re doing it on your own. However it’s not all bad. You can develop contacts who can become regular sources of jobs by building their trust, and you can earn a lot of money if you’re committed, but it’s tough.

That brings me onto my next point, networking? Why is it so important? For a freelancer it should be obvious enough, the contacts you make are who you’ll be going to for work, and who’ll hopefully be contacting you with work. They’re your lifeline and best chance of making it. But what if you’re not a freelancer? It’s still important, from job offers to just general advice, getting yourself known in an industry is always a good idea, as well as getting to know other skilled professionals, from whom you could draw knowledge from. It is highly recommended to go to events, in my case as a programmer in the gaming industry, I’d be looking at Game Jam events and Gaming Conventions, where I can meet other developers and get a chance for them to know who I am. Carry personal business cards around that have your contact information on them, you never know who you might run into.

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