There is an increasing demand for freelancers and more online opportunities are becoming available.
Taking a leap from your traditional job to go freelancing full-time may take a lot of risks so you have to understand its advantages and disadvantages.
Freelancing is rewarding but there is always the other side of the coin. Is freelancing for you? Check out challenges below and how you can overcome them.
Finding a client, especially if you’re a newbie, may be hard since competition around the world is tough. Not to mention there’s a number of countries who offer services at a more affordable cost.
In this case, it’s important to showcase your skills, talents, and knowledge to land a gig.
How will you sell your services? How do you craft an effective pitch so they notice you? Why would they choose you over a freelancer who offers a more affordable rate?
Most freelancing jobs are on a per-project basis. After a gig, you have to look for another client.
Quick Solution: Develop your portfolio. Create a website or a page highlighting your skills, qualifications and previous works. Find mentors. Get your past or present clients to write a testimonial on your work performance and work ethics.
It can be hard to find a client at first but when you play your cards right, soon clients will be the one looking for you.
Just like your traditional job, time management is also a challenge in freelancing. Especially if you are working with multiple clients, you have to be mindful of every deadline.
You also have to be responsible and disciplined enough to work without someone supervising you.
Quick Solution: Plan your task properly. Create a daily schedule and respect your time and your client’s. Prioritize your tasks. Use tools to help you make your workday more efficient. Avoid distractions like Facebook or Netflix.
You’re working remotely and your clients are not around. It’s so easy to get distracted.
Easy access to Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, and even Netflix are great temptations.
Getting enough focus to work while your children are playing in the background or your friends and family are hanging around is a big challenge. Household chores and personal errands are factors too.
Quick Solution: To lessen distractions, set up your own home office.
Don’t open any browser that is not related to your work. Logout Facebook or any social media channels that are distracting you from work. If earphones and white noise can help you focus, use it.
Talk to family members what time you need to work and ask them to be quiet during these times. Though this can be hard when you have small kids at home so schedule your daily work during nap times or when kids are at school.
As mentioned above, setting up a home office when you have small kids can be challenging. If you live alone and you’re used to seeing co-workers, it can take some time before you get used to working alone.
Quick Solution: Make sure that your workplace is clean and free from noise especially if you talk a lot with clients over the phone or on your computer.
It’s also better if you’re home office isn’t a common family area. It’s better to use a spare room as your office than your living room.
Employer-provided benefits are rarely seen in this industry. You are lucky if you landed an online job with health insurance, 401k benefits, vacation, and sick days.
Freelancing is owning a business. You are the CEO, owner, and manager of your own company. So it’s your responsibility to set up your own retirement funds.
Quick Solution: Make sure to save a portion of your income for emergency and retirement funds. Also, save for vacations and sick days.
Is freelancing stable? My answer is yes but this depends on how good you are with marketing your services.
So if you find yourself struggling with marketing and want to freelance full-time, I advise you study marketing diligently.
Freelancing is known for the “feast and famine” cycle. Your income may be inconsistent since when you’re expecting regular paychecks from a traditional work.
Quick Solution: Don’t settle for one gig alone. Look for multiple clients and projects. Create a good marketing strategy to eliminate the feast and famine cycle.
You will develop various skills as you work with different clients and as you gain work experiences. Attending training and seminars or reading to add up knowledge will come from your own initiative to achieve career growth. Thus, you will spend money in investing on yourself.
Quick Solution: Be self-driven to learn, develop and improve yourself. Do not stop learning. Having said that, be wary of hoarding training or online courses. While it’s important to invest in yourself, you should always keep in mind your return on investment.
Distinguishing Between Work and Personal Time
A common misconception about freelancing is that people think you have all the time in the world.
It’s very easy to become a workaholic when you work at home. You might find yourself receiving client calls and emails on weekends and holidays. Since you don’t have a fixed eight-hour shift, you have the tendency to work longer hours.
Quick Solution: You have to know when to stop working. Step away from your screen and meet people.
Have a work and life balance. Take regular vacations. Go out and see a movie. Enjoy life! Don’t chain yourself to your computer.
So now that you know the challenges, are you still up for the challenges?
Freelancing isn’t a walk in the park. But if you have an entrepreneurial spirit and solid work ethics, it is worth taking the leap.