Freelancing After Graduation? | Freelancing
I live in Kenya and stepped into the tough and competitive job market in 2010 with a brand new degree in Business Administration from Nairobi University.
I was very determined to break into the corporate world but something else was beckoning at me! I permanent moved to Nairobi and I’m now writing for various websites. Ho! Now am 23 and honestly, I’m really enjoying several fun perks of freelancing: “I really enjoyed that I could sleep in, and working in my pajamas was the best thing!”
Right now Kenya is pouring thousands of graduates into the job market every three or so months. The job market is also getting more and more competitive and cracking open opportunities has been difficult than ever!
If you are right from campus and thinking about freelancing then this post will be very helpful. As a full time freelance journalist and editorial consultant—and also co-founder of Kenya’s biggest websites like Mjomba.com, I’m a champion of the freelancing lifestyle. Along with my brother, I support our siblings in Nairobi with great high school and the high housing costs et cetera.
While freelancing can be hard work, it has enabled me to earn the equivalent of a corporate salary and even more. Honestly, thank God I’ve never been this happier!
But, I also have some of my friends with whom I started freelancing together but found out that freelancing was not the right path for them. They shifted over to building thriving corporate careers. If it’s in your blood then you gotta do it!
Here is the BILLION dollar question. Is freelancing for me? Bros and sistas, here are some of the questions to help you weigh the freelancing path as a post-graduation option.
Is it any important to you to have a traditional job as opposed to freelancing?
Of course, there is just no perfect answer to this question. If you will never be satisfied unless you get hired to work in an office somewhere in downtown or a bank is the North Eastern then by all means put all stops to anything and everything until you get hired. However, if you’d be more satisfied handling cool projects for a variety of interesting clients, then freelancing is the gig. The best thing about freelancing is that you choose you path, your niche-the best thing you can effectively handle e.g. writing, designing, journalism, web development et cetera. This means you do not have to pay your dues for years and years of those corporate style 10-15 years of experience! Grrrr! I’m not a big fan of the last sentence! Employers in the freelancing world generally go for the best fit for the job, whether that means someone who’s in his 60’s or 17’s.
It’s worth understanding that most employers get their freelance talent pool for future employees which burst yet another myth that you cannot get permanent gigs in freelancing. I have been working for one and the same client who pays me $50 per hour. Also, I got hired by a giant media organization for a senior editorial position after writing a short, $100 post for them. That’s freelancing! My editor left the company—something that opened more job interviews with key decision makers in a way that approaching the company “cold” wouldn’t have. I transformed from just a resume to a real person who’d succeeded in several projects and delivered all of them in time. Truly, I attribute almost all my success to this gig! This is my fifth year with the company.
Do you have a marketable freelancing skill?
To succeed in freelancing, you will be required to deliver on several projects that are in consistent demand—whether its blogging, videography, web development, graphic design, or selling things—and apply it to several of your new projects. In case you’re already receiving several requests from your colleges dudes and duddettes to edit their resumes, projects et cetera or particularly if they edit your assignment because they think it’s the best then think about freelancing. It’s enough reason to justify your ability! Is someone asking you to help film their band at a club or put up their website? It’s time to turn those requests into the basis of your freelancing lifestyle ahead.
I’ll be honest with you—remember that when you’re just starting out in freelancing, you’ll get projects but the pay will reflect your ability and experience. According to IQNavigator, a company that tracks hurly payments for “contingent” employees, for example, found out that pay rates for graphic designers with 2 years of experience ranged from $29 to $47 per hour; a seasoned pro with over 5 years of experience can command over $80 per hour!
Are you self disciplined at your work?
This is one of the most important rules of freelancing. When an employer selects you to work on their project, it’s with due respect and expectation that you’ll deliver it as discussed by the deadline. There is no boss in freelancing! You are the boss and never expect your employer to whip you into shape like they do in the corporate world! In case you require the structure to get things done, then think of a traditional job and forget freelancing. Remember that to earn from freelancing, you may surprise yourself at how disciplined you’ll need to be about looking for new projects, handling them perfectly well and beating deadlines. Of course, you can also choose to employ your freelancer to handle your projects but expect to divide the pay further if you don’t want to work.
Can your friends invite you to a party with anyone they know?
My partner and I at Mjomba did arrive at this touchstone when we decided to pin down what the most successful freelancers we know have in common. Though freelancing is not yet a very popular, you’ve got to know how to get along with others, right from your employers to the person you hire to manage your paychecks. If you are the type of person that will scream when a check is due then you might not get repeat work.
If you are the types that go on a rant when a client leaves bad feedback then you might not be the best fit. I got a bigger paying project as a result of leaving polite yet professional feedback to a client whom we had issues. I just replied with simple “Thank you!” It changed everything about my profile. Being a freelancer calls for diplomacy. This is also the case for those looking to climb the ladder in the corporate world.
Do you have cash cushion? (Very Important when Freelancing)
When running a shop, even the sort of one-person shop, this is usually the rule—has emergency funds. This will help you just in case of a delayed payment or a problem with your project. This is a fact of life and applied almost anywhere. Working at a part-time job that offers a steady paycheck, even a small one, may be sufficient to even out your cash flow if you stick to this rule. If you are still living your parents or roommates then that even fortunate for you to get started in your aim to keep the expenses as low as possible. This is perfect for freelance beginners as you grow and establish yourself.
In case the thought of not knowing the exact date you’ll receive your paycheck twists your stomach into an agonizing twist then think again. However, I’m paid on a weekly basis and have never had problems. I save just like anybody else and for me, freelancing is sweet. I’m only worried for beginners. Please avoid overspending and instead save until you get to the top league—where you don’t have to depend on your whole life on the next payment. Take your time, evaluate these options and if you feel like freelancing might work for you, create your account on Mjomba.com and let me teach you how. Otherwise, join the traditional employment if the options outweigh those of freelancing. Again, if it’s in the blood, you can do it. It’s fun, yes trust me it is! Good luck!