Is Freelancing for You?

Whether you want to go into freelancing full-time or you’re looking to tide yourself over until the present pandemic ends, here are some realities of being a freelancer.
 Sarah Si Yan Ying
Sarah Si

It might have been an idea you’ve been toying for years now, or even a blurry, half-baked solution you’ve come up with as a response to the COVID-19 global outbreak, but you want to go beyond the usual 9-to-5 grind. The challenge and the thrill call to you. You want to spread your wings and fly.

You want to be a freelancer.


gradsingapore_ IsFreelancingforYou_ Starting Off

Starting off

Before even stepping on the freelancing path, check if you have these characteristics and recognise that you may have to completely revamp your present lifestyle.

Here are some other characteristics to look out for:

  • Are you curious?
  • How reliable are you?
  • Do you like to hustle?


gradsingapore_ IsFreelancingforYou_ The Basics

The basics

If you’re still with me and still thinking of the freedom you can have to set your own hours, look at what the reality of freelancing really is:

  • Freelancers don't always have financial security, and benefits are almost non-existent. Evenings with friends and family will be sacrificed, and constant work to beat out the competition may lead to you camping out at home, all day, every day. You’ll probably catch yourself muttering: “Social distancing is my friend.” to yourself one day.
  • You’ll need to pour in a lot of dedication and then some when you start looking for gigs. Ideally, you should network and self-promote until everyone knows who you are and what you do, and no more introductions are needed.
  • If you’re looking to freelancing to supplement your income, your gigs will translate to finishing up your work or studies for the day…only to continue working.
  • You’re everything: Account manager, human resources, CEO, CFO, CTO. You name it, you’re it.


gradsingapore_ IsFreelancingforYou_ Constant Learning

Constant learning

The moment you step into the freelance world, the first thing you’ll notice is that you don’t know everything you should about your area of work. That’s alright, though. Just keep learning as much as Dory just keeps swimming.

But also remember that continuous development is crucial if you want to keep an edge over others and never fall behind, and knowledge can also come from further research or experience.


gradsingapore_ IsFreelancingforYou_ Finances


Health care. Perks. You have to handle them all by yourself. And your taxes won’t pay themselves. You’ll have to learn how to deal with all these by yourself.

You’ll also have to come up with your own financial plan and targets to figure out what your expenses are and how much you need to live comfortably.

gradsingapore_Is freelancing for You_Forget working to live. Live to work.

Work to live or live to work?

Clients can come and go very quickly, so you’ll have to keep up a steady stream of income to save for a rainy day.

Aim for at least two steady or high-paying jobs and a few other gigs. But with so many clients and jobs, prepare to forego 40-hour weeks – your hours may even hit 70.


Is this the end?

Well, no. Although this entire article sounds like it's just dumped a whole lot of disadvantages on your head, the reverse is true as well. There are many advantages in freelancing you'll come across. Here are some:

  • You can work wherever you want, whether on holiday in Europe or in the comfort of your own bed.
  • You're your own boss, from working at your own pace to planning your own schedules.
  • You pick and choose who you want to work with.
  • Running your own finances means that you will pick up a solid understanding of it.


Now it's the end

Whether you made it here to the end of the article or not, remember that freelancing can be both a long-term and a short-term solution. But whatever your reasons are to be a freelancer, don’t allow yourself to be pressured into it, whether by peers or COVID-19. Become one because you want to explore! Become one because you know it’s for you! Become one because you want to be the best version of yourself. All the best!