Whether you’re thinking about launching into the world of freelancing or have been cruising there for a while, at some point or another, you’ll probably need just a little bit of help to continue on your journey. Luckily, you never have to go it alone. There are (and forever will be) plenty of other freelancers to connect with, tools to make your life easier, and resources to help you along the way.
And that’s where we come in. If you’re struggling with an aspect of your freelance career, well, maybe we can help. Here are six common roadblocks that freelancers face and simple solutions to get you back on track (plus, an infographic with extra tips!)
Scared to take the first step?
Starting your freelance career can be a drastic life change from the standard nine-to-five grind. Setting your own schedule, being your own boss, finding your own clients…while these may be the reasons you’re interested in freelancing full-time, they can also be daunting new tasks. Luckily, getting started isn’t actually as difficult as it may sound. The key is to take it one step at a time, and to set yourself up for success before quitting your full-time gig.
Struggling to find clients?
Especially when you first start freelancing, it can be difficult to get into a groove of onboarding new clients. But don’t give up! Instead of getting down in the dumps, start working on your networking skills to get your name out there. Reach out to past clients and see if they can refer any of their friends to your services. If you haven’t updated your resume or portfolio in a while, make sure they showcase your best work and skills.
Even if you’ve established a successful freelance business for yourself, you should never stop promoting your services. Log in to those social media accounts and share what you’ve been up to. You can show off recent projects, teasers for what you’re currently working on, and even share your thoughts on the latest trends and practices. This will ensure that your online presence is always up-to-date, and in the unfortunate event that you hit a dry spell, it hopefully won’t last too long thanks to your networking abilities.
Getting lonely and starting to talk to your cat?
When you’re freelancing all by yourself, eventually you might start to miss the water-cooler talk with your colleagues. Luckily, there’s a very simple solution to this: go to new places and do new things. Attend a conference or a meet-up in your area to meet other people in the business. Work at a coffee shop instead of your house for the day. If your clients are local, schedule in-person meetings with them, instead of only emailing back and forth.
Reading this blog post instead of getting your work done?
Go ahead and finish the post, but then take a few minutes to think about why you’re here. If you’re truly looking for some advice and are ready to implement some of these tips into your workflow right now, then by all means, press on! But if you’re reading this post because you’re procrastinating a project, while I’m glad you’re here, we need to have a talk about why you’re not getting to work.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the project? Gearing up for a late night because a deadline is creeping up?
One of the biggest challenges to freelancing is managing your time. Sometimes you take on too many projects, and other times you’ve got more free time than you know what to do with. Your clients might make this sporadic schedule unavoidable, but if you do your part to control your time, you’ll be able to manage your clients better.
Working at the dinner table?
Every freelancer should establish their “office hours.” These are the hours you’ll always be available, either by phone or email, to assist your clients. Then by default, any time outside of your office hours is reserved for you time, family time, and friend time. If you want to offer additional support time for your clients, that’s your call. But the better you can clearly define your hours, the less your work life will bleed into your personal life.
Struggling to get paid?
Invoicing, billing, and collecting payment is something many freelancers struggle with. Luckily there are lots of great resources online to help you be successful. Take FreshBooks for example. They make it easy for you to not only track your time and capture your expenses, but also create professional looking invoices (and if you’re not ready to pay for their premium services, they do offer a free invoice template).
Use technology to your advantage to simplify your busy schedule and spend more time doing the things that you love.
Thinking about going back to the nine-to-five world?
Freelancing isn’t for everybody. While setting your own schedule and being your own boss might sound fun at first, you might realize you work better with a structured schedule or in a team once you get into it. If you’re at this point in your freelancing career, just do one thing before you make any decisions: take time to reflect. Do you actually want to return to the nine-to-five world? Or are you just in a freelancing rut?
Just take the time to think through your options, and don’t make any rash decisions. Freelancing isn’t all puppies and rainbows, and it’s certainly not for everyone. Decide if it’s right for you, and you’ll thank yourself once you know you’ve made the right decision.
Ready to keep exploring the world of freelancing? Check out this infographic for a few bonus tips to a successful freelancing career!