Welcome to a ✨ free ✨ monthly edition of Alex's Camp, where I share my experience, lessons, tips & tricks about freelancing, clients, remote work, and anything else that makes you scratch your mind.
If you're not a paid subscriber, here's what you've missed this month:
- Campfire 17: How to know, ask, and get paid what you’re worth as a freelancer?
- The jobs of a product designer
- Campfire 16: Should you be a generalist or a specialist designer?
- How to know if you’re doing a great job as a product designer?
- Campfire 15: What practices can help me get better at visual design?
- Lessons from building design systems for multi-billion brands
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A year ago, I published my first piece of writing on Alex’s Camp. In it, I said that there are two ways to go through life:
- You have the option of doing what everyone else is doing, or
- Pursuing your interests
Becoming an entrepreneur was the only way I could actually feed my ambitions. Today, there are approximately 1.1 billion freelancers in the world. This means that around 31.4% of the total workforce in the world are freelancers.
It’s not surprising because many people are looking for ways to make more money.
An average freelancer earns approximately $39,000 per year. This is because most of those people treat freelancing as a side-hustle. However, there’s much more to freelancing when you choose it as a career. In reality, it’s a full-fledged business, and you have to think like an entrepreneur to be successful in it.
This is the only necessary mindset to take you on the success path. You start positioning yourself as a professional and earn a consistent income only when you approach your freelancing career as a business.
But this mindset isn’t developed immediately. You need to revisit how you look at freelancing and restructure how you operate your business.
The entrepreneur mindset
Most people don’t start their careers as freelancers. The majority began by working for someone else and earning money as an employee. So did I. But after a while, when you become more experienced, you start valuing things like flexibility and personal growth. And this is the reason why over 40% of freelancers chose to freelance. Only 7% choose freelancing to make more money.
The transition from being an employee to becoming a freelancer can be stressful and scary. Suddenly, you are responsible for finding work, invoicing clients, and getting paid.
When you think like an entrepreneur and approach your freelance business with that mindset, you have the confidence to manage yourself and be your own boss. You can overcome challenges, make decisions, and accept responsibility for those decisions.
Fake it ‘till you make it
Developing an entrepreneurial mindset takes time, and so does the success of your freelancing business. However, it is critical to maintain a positive attitude toward your pursuits because negative thoughts can have a significant impact on the company.
Sometimes, you must fake it until you make it. Approach your freelance business as if you were an entrepreneur, and you will eventually gain the confidence to build a successful business and earn a consistent income.
When I started my journey as a freelancer, I had to take on jobs that I had no idea how to complete and figure it out on the go. Those were risky decisions, but in the end, they paid off with more client work and experience. You never know if you can do something until you actually do it.
Learn from your mistakes
There’s always a learning curve of being an entrepreneur. You can obviously learn the skills in school, but applying them in life always follows with trial and error.
The same is true for freelance work. You will make mistakes at first and need to learn from them to succeed.
If you spend your entire life being paid by someone else, you may be unfamiliar with accounting, invoicing, etc. You will make mistakes at first, but these are fantastic learning opportunities.
You may choose one niche but then suddenly realize that you enjoy working with other industries. You can start freelancing by developing websites but then discover that your true passion is design.
Don’t expect to start freelancing and have immediate success. Nurture your ideas, observe what works, and learn from failures.
If you want to be a successful freelancer, start thinking like an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurial skills for freelancers
Everyone has the opportunity to become financially independent through entrepreneurship. You can create a lifestyle that makes you happy while also impacting the world.
I can think of the top five skills you can start learning today to leverage entrepreneurship and improve your freelancing.
- Life-long learning
I wrote in detail about each of these in my article Entrepreneurial skills to help you become better at work.
Some people might say that freelancing is not a business. However, when it comes down to working for yourself and yourself, you’re running a business. And this makes you an entrepreneur, so it’s time to think like an entrepreneur.