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Four ways going freelance could land you your dream job

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Four ways going freelance could land you your dream job

Four ways going freelance could land you your dream job 5882 3993 Heidi McLean

Considering quitting your day job but concerned about the long-term effects on your future prospects? It’s time to think differently. Here are four ways freelancing could actually boost your career in the long run:


Get paid to find—or sharpen—your passion

People pay a boatload of money to refine their skills at college. Freelancers get paid to do it! In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell shares the theory that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. We can’t vouch for this particular number, but it is a tried-and-true, oft-repeated principle that practice makes perfect. As a freelancer, you get to bid for jobs that seem exciting to you and decline ones that don’t. As you go, you’ll hone in on where your lane is and have the freedom to develop it to the point of mastery. Then you can either keep running in that lane as a freelancer or take those finely tuned skills you’ve developed to your next full-time job. Highly skilled workers with a shorter learning curve have a leg up on the competition.


It’s like a paid audition

Freelancing gets your foot in the door at multiple companies without any commitment. If you love a business’s culture or brand, you may want to make their next project a priority. If you don’t like the experience, you don’t even have to bid for the job the next time around. You get to develop your clientele with companies and people you enjoy and then have a built-in connection for future opportunities. If you do well enough on your audition, you’ll get job offers—either for more freelance work or for full-time gigs. From there, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to accept an opportunity with a company or keep working for yourself. The power is in your hands.


Build your network

Once you’ve achieved mastery in an area, the world really starts to open up. When you do great work, people talk about you. After all, being able to refer someone reliable and easy to work with makes them look good, too. Talented freelancers organically build a robust network that includes both decision-makers and people in related fields who will send work their way.


P.S. There are tax benefits

So maybe it’s not a direct boost to your long-term career options, but the tax benefits are a pretty enticing bonus. There are mountains of deductions available to independent contractors (home office, business miles, office supplies, and more). You just need to make sure you keep careful records in order to take advantage of them. Under Trump’s proposed tax code overhaul, some independent contractors could have even lower taxes in the near future. Keep in mind, though, that freelancers are on the hook for their own self-employment tax, health insurance, vacation days, and retirement plans.


The bottom line:

Many factors determine whether freelancing is the right fit for your life. Managing your own schedule, finances, and other complex aspects of your career aren’t easy and it’s not for everyone. For some, it may be exactly the thing that allows them to live the life they want to live while doing the work they love to do. For others, it might be the right thing, but only for a season. After a foray into freelance, they may want to take all their experience back into a company job. Whether freelancing is a stepping stone to your full-time dream position or the long-term career path you didn’t even know you wanted, it might just be time to go for it.  



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