Freelancing sounds like the ideal lifestyle, right? Get up when you want, work with who you want to, and charge what you want to. To many, freelancing sounds like the perfect life/work choice – but many of us are are scared to take the steps toward working for ourselves and i’m sure a large number of those people who think about freelancing never take that first step because they’re afraid of failure. I’n this post I want to share with my readers three things freelancing has taught me, which I had no idea I’d ever learn or have a need to understand. Hopefully this will help some of you that may be on the fence about starting your freelance voyage.
Freelancing: Starting Is the Biggest Hurdle
As human beings, we’re worried about the uncertain, and pondering all the possibilities of freelancing is definitely a scary thought for a lot of us. When I decided to begin freelancing, I was caught between a rock and a hard place due to immigration/work/visa restrictions – and this made my thoughts about freelancing even harder to focus on or get a clear perspective on.
I want you to know this though; Taking the first step toward freelancing and working for yourself (at least for me) was the hardest part. I got so confused, frustrated, and worried about things I have no control over – till the point where I just thought “screw it, the worst I can do is fail.” Nobody gets anywhere by being idle and not taking risks, opportunities or chasing ideas. So, I made the commitment by purchasing my domain name and a two year hosting plan. This cemented the fact that freelancing was possible for me, and the weight of worry and fear felt just a little lighter. So did my wallet, but a domain and hosting is merely an investment in your business – so that part was less worrying for me.
There’s going to be a lot of negative thoughts in your mind when you think about freelancing and/or take your first steps toward becoming a freelancer. If I can leave you with one piece of advice I wish I’d known when I started, it’s this: Swat the big things and don’t waste your time worrying about things you have no control over. You’ll just compound thoughts of negativity, and make beginning your freelance journey even harder. Starting is the biggest hurdle for many of us because of this. Once you realize that failure is just failure and not fatal, you’ll be one step closer to starting. It’s important to understand negative situations that may arise from freelancing, but even more important to be optimistic about your freelance goals and journey.
What Social Life?
When you begin freelancing and working for yourself, you’ll need to dedicate a lot of time and effort into your industry. You’ll be researching competitors, similar businesses, planning and/or building your website and online presence. You’ll likely need to draft your business plan and goals (or should ideally) and you’ll probably have a lot of sleepless nights due to the excitement and dedication you have to get your freelancing career going. Because of this, your social life if probably going to suck when you first start setting up your business, and you’ll probably find that once you settle into your freelancing lifestyle – social arrangements and plans take a back seat at times. Unless by some miracle you’re an absolute master of time management and can complete all of your client projects/work on time, without the need for extra meetings, phone calls, and late night emails.
I know it might sound daunting, but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all. Eventually you’ll be able to be more selective of clients, and you’ll become better at managing priorities with work and life. Freelancing has taught me more than a few things, and time management was definitely and extra benefit, albeit a tricky skill to master.
There Will Be Problems
Freelancing is rife with problems. Problems that need solutions on a daily basis. If you’re a freelance creative, clients can be the main source of those problems, but typically not because they’re bad clients. The nature of their projects require creative solutions. Your daily freelancing activities will provide enough problems, and understanding this and tackling them head on will help you progress. Email might go down, your site could go down, miscommunication and poor scheduling… Just to name a few.
Seems counterintuitive for me to end this post on a negative topic right? Wrong! That’s just the kind of thought process you need to change. Telling you there’s going to be issues is a sobering reality of running a business, and if you’re unprepared, you’ll find it harder in the beginning. If you’re absolutely in your choice and ready to take the freelance plunge, be aware that things can go south at any time. This ties into what I first mentioned about things you can control. If your email goes down, or your power goes out – asses the situation and figure out if it’s something you can fix or have some control over. If not, adapt and overcome.
You’ll be tested in so many ways when you run your own freelance business, and things you can’t control are just one of those problems. Wherever you can, find the root of any problems that arise, and challenge them with a can do attitude. I made the mistake of dwelling on a lot of misfortune and pitfalls when I started freelancing. It wasn’t until I changed my way of thinking that I began to see so much more in return – just by being positive and grabbing things by the horns.
Simple is Simple
In closing, freelancing gets so much easier over time. Make time to understand your business goals and the needs of those goals to become achievable. Repetition makes things easier, and the more you do something, the better you get at it. Stick in there and smash every day thats comes.
If theres anything you’d like to add to this, please do so in the comments! I hope you found this post encouraging and useful.