While the concept of freelancing has been around for a while, it has only gathered significant momentum after the explosion of the internet and digital communications in the past decade or so. Thanks to high-speed broadband connections and the appropriate tools and software, people from numerous professions are able to work online and sell their services to clients from all over the world. Developers can code, and teachers can provide private lessons and math help, for instance.
There is also plenty of work for designers and writers, as well, but keep in mind that a freelance career is not for everyone, and that you will often come across stories how people took a stab at it and crashed and burned. The following text contains 9 reasons why freelance careers fail, as well as advice on what you can do to make yours long and fruitful.
1. Letting Fear Take Over
With freelance work, as opposed to having a regular job, things are a lot more dynamic. First of all, you look for clients yourself, and get to choose your own projects. As if that’s not stressful enough, you will also have to accept working on projects you know very little about.
But, remember that you have the entire internet at your side. Just like you would look for math assignment help, you can also perform research and rely on the wealth of data found online, for every project.
2. Lacking Self-Discipline
Freelancing comes with many benefits. Besides choosing your own clients, projects, rate, and hours, you don’t have a boss watching over your every move like a hawk. If you feel the need to relax, you can step away from your computer for as long as you like, or browse YouTube, chat on Facebook, or tweet. Do you see where we are going with this? If you are not able to fight distractions, both online and offline, you will have a really hard time getting your freelancing career off the ground.
One way of fighting this would be to install apps which block your access to these sites, as well as to create a schedule, and remind yourself of your goals on a daily basis.
3. Not Making Your Freelance Career a Priority
While flexibility is one of the perks of freelancing, it might not be as loose as you think it is. Yes, you can postpone your work on a project to meet your friends, watch a movie, or read a book, but that means you are not making any money in the process. Also, you have the responsibility toward your clients, which will expect you to be available most of the time. For instance, if you are running an online homework help service, you’ll need to make yourself available to your students. If you fail to do that, they will go somewhere else. Make your job a priority, simple as that.
4. Organizing Your Time Poorly
Balancing your work and your personal life is hard enough when you have a regular job, but when you’re a freelancer, it is twice as hard. You need to be able to make the most out of your day, so that you are able to meet all the deadlines, while keeping the quality of your work sufficiently high. Only if you can fulfill both criteria can you look forward to succeeding as a freelancer.
Reduce the number of non-essential tasks, the amount of time your spend doing your daily rituals, and the number of projects you are involved in so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
5. You Are Bad at Negotiating
This applies to negotiating the desired rate and agreeing on the terms of the project. A lot of freelancers, especially when they are first starting out will either charge too much, and not score any clients, or they will charge too little. They will also find themselves in an unfavorable position of accepting an impossible deadline or poor terms which they won’t be able to get out of.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. If you are confident about the quality of your work, demand a higher price, and shoot down unreasonable request made by clients.
6. Not Earning Enough
This comes as consequence of the previous item. As a brand new freelancer, you will have to lower your rates and work harder and longer so that you can earn enough to cover your living costs, and then slowly raise your prices as you raise your skill level and your reputation. But, don’t make the mistake of charging so little so that you’re not able to make it through the month. Not having work is bad enough, but working for a subpar rate is even worse.
7. Neglecting Your Online Presence
While you should certainly spend most of your time working and expanding your skill set, you should also set aside some time to enhance your online presence and promote yourself, so that potential clients know how good you are. Having active and regularly updated accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, as well as your own blog or website can help you establish yourself as an authority, and demand better terms and rates from clients.
8. Failing to Meet Deadlines
Attaching yourself to too many projects in order to earn more money will not only have you burning out as result, but missing your deadlines, as well. Just like you would expect to get paid for your work, a client expects you to honor the agreement and stick to deadlines. You can talk to your clients and have them release the project in smaller milestones, so that you don’t fall behind.
9. Not Liking the Social Aspect of Freelancing
If you like socializing at work and standing around the water cooler chatting about the latest episode of your favorite TV show, you will find freelancing a bit lonely, because you will be working from home most of the time, without ever meeting your clients, or team members, in person. Fortunately, there are plenty of coworking spaces and coffee shops that can provide a welcome change of scenery.
Contrary to popular opinion, freelancing requires a lot of hard work and dedication, at least for a few years, before you can enjoy all the benefits and perks of being a freelancer. If you are focused, hard-working, and don’t mind going it alone, then there are virtually no limits as to how far you can take it. Good luck!