Whether it's a long-term career plan or merely a "stopgap to produce income while they job hunt," the ACS Careers Blog's John Borchardt says self-employment can be challenging. Borchardt breaks down the pros and cons of freelancing, and notes that those who are self-employed "are constantly selling [their] problem-solving skills to prospective clients." As such, he adds that freelancers must be aware that they are "running a business," and that technical skills alone are not sufficient for running it well. Borchardt says it is "essential" to:
• have the organizational skills needed to develop and adhere to a business plan
• the interpersonal skills to market yourself to prospective clients and to work well with clients
• the writing and oral communication skills to market yourself to clients and report your results to them
• the business skills to price your time appropriately, bill clients and collect your fees from them
He adds that time-management skills and the ability to meet deadlines are necessities for any self-employed professional. The ability to multitask is also important. "Self-employed people cannot afford to work for clients without simultaneously soliciting new work from prospective clients," Borchardt says. On the plus side, though, working for oneself often means "opportunities to work on varied projects, many of them fascinating, and meeting many interesting people," he adds.