Years ago being a freelancer was only socially acceptable if you were an artist or writer, and only then it was considered a temporary, albeit necessary, stepping stone toward permanent work. Today freelancing is starting to become a way of life for people who want to have more freedom and flexibility in their careers. In 2016 nearly 34% of the workforce in the United States were freelancers, and that number is projected to grow to 43% by 2020. It can be a difficult lifestyle to maintain, but the rewards can be great.

Flexibility is the most attractive thing about the freelancing lifestyle. When you are your own boss you can work where you want, like coffee shops and at the beach, and when you want, such as late at night – living this lifestyle has clear benefits. You can also choose which projects you want to work on and pass on anything that doesn’t pique your interest. You may even be more efficient than traditional workers- a Stanford University study found that telecommuters are 13% more efficient than traditional office workers. It’s not surprising, considering that spending time in a car commuting can lead to increased blood sugar, increased blood pressure, higher rates of depression, anxiety, and a decrease in life satisfaction.

While there are many upsides to working as a freelancer, it is certainly not for the faint of heart or for the unmotivated. Being your own boss means that you have only yourself to rely on, so you’d better have the drive. Getting business is solely your responsibility. Here’s what you will need to do:

Keep your business cards handy – you never know when you will meet a potential client

  • Market yourself like a company because you are a company

  • Create an online presence, including a website and social media accounts dedicated to your business

  • Keep your portfolio current and accessible

  • Network to meet new clients and keep up with old ones

  • Maintain relationships with clients – repeat business is easier to get

  • Create a contract so expectations are known

  • Complete all work on time and to professional standards – this will keep clients coming back and may even earn you additional recommendations

    Freelancers will soon be nearly half of the workforce in the United States. Learn how to do well at freelancing so you can reap the benefits of a flexible lifestyle from this infographic. It’s not all fun and games but being your own boss can be very rewarding!

    Freelancing Being Your Own Boss