The following post is an excerpt from my new e-Book series, How to Become an e-Learning Freelancer. The three volumes in the series are designed to be easy-to-use, practical guides to getting your freelance e-Learning career off the ground. Learn more here!
Before you make the leap to become an e-Learning freelancer, ask yourself: What am I trying to achieve?
While it might seem like a basic question, you might be surprised by the number of people who forget this step, and end up wasting time starting a freelance career with no way to measure their own success. I myself was guilty of that at first: I knew I wanted the flexibility and freedom of the freelance life, but I didn’t define any goals for my first year. I wasted time taking work that I could do, without ever thinking about whether it was work that I should do. I knew I wanted to take jobs that would move my career forward, but I never stopped to define the kind of work that would do that.
Think about what you’d like to achieve over the next year. As you’re thinking about your own professional goals as a freelancer, let’s talk about some of the typical reasons people become freelancers:
- To make money. It’s easy to look at freelance hourly rates and think, “I would definitely make so much more money if I went solo!” But before you go putting a down payment
- on that new Ferrari, remember that being a freelancer comes with some major expenses—including everything from your monthly Internet bills to the expenses of your new estimated quarterly taxes. It’s definitely possible to earn a healthy income as a freelance e-Learning Designer, but it will take time; remember that most small businesses are lucky to turn a profit in their first year.
- To get away from a job. If you’re unhappy in your job, freelancing can seem like a fantastic alternative—we’ve all said at one point or another, “I’m so unhappy at Job XYZ! I would be so much happier if I worked for myself.” But if you’re going to develop your career, it’s important that you’re not just running away from something, but that you’re also running toward something.
- To have control over time and work. As a freelancer, you’ll be in complete control over how much and which work you do. Just don’t forget that it’s likely that in the beginning, you’ll be working more hours than you would at a day job. For example, if you intend to freelance part-time so that you can spend more time with your family, consider that in the beginning, you could be working full-time to find the right clients and projects to work on.
These three examples are totally valid goals to have, but on their own, they can lead to burnout. Without goals, you may end up taking any work offered to you, which isn’t always a good thing. Before I had written my own goals, I felt like I was at the mercy of what work was available to me. It wasn’t until I began the process of writing my own goals that I started to feel like I was in control of my own destiny (which was one of my reasons for going freelance in the first place).
So, what’s the best way to define your own goals?
[This topic continues in my e-Book series, How to Become an e-Learning Freelancer.]