Your local Starbucks is probably filled with more millennial freelancers than ever before — I know mine is. According to Pew Research, millennials are 75 million strong, and the Freelancer’s Union estimates that 38 percent of us freelance. Freelancing provides the ultimate flexibility — from scheduling how you work to determining the projects you take on. Here’s a closer look at why more of us are embracing completely mobile and remote lifestyles, and how adopting a “there’s an app for that” mindset makes every aspect of your life smoother.
Why I Love the Mobile Lifestyle
Freelancing had me at “skip the commute, work in yoga pants and only share an office with your dog.” This is a familiar refrain for every millennial freelancer. But there are bigger reasons at play, too: the flexibility to travel, the opportunity to work from anywhere, keeping your intellectual curiosity sated with a variety of projects and getting as far as possible from the “two weeks of vacation per year, but too stressed to take it” culture. As a generation, we’re always seeking new ways of contributing — while maintaining our freedom and autonomy. Freelancing is a great way to achieve all those goals.
What Are the Cons of Mobility?
People often ask me if there’s a downside to working remotely. On a day-to-day basis, you may miss casual chats with colleagues or the teamwork associated with projects. Countless solutions solve the socialization challenge and keep you from going crazy: co-working arrangements, scheduling lunches and meetings with friends, and building relationships with the client teams you work with. And most importantly, staying connected. Promote your work after it’s on the market to see its impact, and encourage clients to keep you posted on campaign performance.
Staying on Top of Finances
Before embracing a mobile lifestyle, get your finances in order. Keeping your HBO subscription current so you can watch “Game of Thrones” from anywhere requires cash, and it can be hard to keep your bills straight on the road. Apps like Clarity Money, Mint and Every Dollar make it easier to budget, and help you:
- Send invoices and monitor payments received.
- See the balances in your various checking, savings and investment accounts at any moment.
- Move money between accounts.
- Pay your taxes remotely.
- Pay bills online — personal or professional.
Tidy Up Your Work Life
If there’s one strategy that I’ve learned over several years as a freelancer, it’s this: Investing in the right technology makes it possible to stay connected and on top of your workload — two things crucial to making life on the road sustainable. Putting together your most important tasks for each day and quickly answering questions about project status means you won’t drop the ball or miss a deadline. Trello and Basecamp are two popular solutions, but the list is endless. With the right tools, your schedule and deadline management will even make organization guru Marie Kondo proud.
Your Office in a Box: 3 Features Every Freelancer Needs
Three features are essential in your “mobile freelancer” Swiss Army app collection: Accessing your files from any web-connected device, automated backup and the ability to collaborate in real time. One affordable option you can use is Google Docs, which integrates with Gmail. Document storage and collaboration capabilities should be one of your top freelance tech priorities.
Develop a Mobile Marketing Strategy
The freelance mantra “always be marketing” can be hard when you’re on the go, but a steady flow of clients is the lifeblood of a successful freelance business. You need a sustainable client generation strategy. Focus on options that generate ongoing work and help connect you with opportunities, such as creative agencies, technology platforms and freelance marketplaces. For millennial freelancers, create a marketing strategy that works for you, whether you’re in Maine or Mumbai.
There’s never been a better time to be a millennial freelancer, and if you’re hearing the call, now could be the time to make the leap. Whether it’s working overseas or simply having the flexibility to travel on a moment’s notice, the freedom of the freelance life can make your vision a reality. With these tips, you can handle all aspects of your business, no matter where in the world your adventures take you.