Like any business venture, freelancing has its share of problems that most have to face at some point or another. With that in mind, here are some of the most common nightmare situations you might find yourself in and how to avoid them:
Not getting enough clients
Not being able to attract enough clients is probably every freelancer’s biggest fear, particularly in the beginning. Especially at this time of year with Christmas around the corner, not getting enough work is going to be playing on your worried mind a lot.
Unlike when working for a company, everything is down to you. There’s no one else to fall back on. You are solely responsible for the growth of your business and getting new clients in.
In order to make sure you’re attracting clients, you can’t simply wait for them to come to you. You have to learn to love self-promotion and make marketing a part of your everyday business tasks. This means getting a website, setting up professional social media accounts, guest blogging and sending out pitches.
Don’t make the mistake of many freelancers and stop marketing when you’re busy because when a dry patch inevitably comes up, you’ll be left without work. It’s always best to be able to turn down clients. It looks like you’re in demand and gives you a bit more breathing room.
Taking on too much work
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you might find that you’ve taken on more work than you’re able to realistically handle. While you might think that’s not much to complain about, if you’re overworked and end up doing a bad job, this could lead to bad reviews which lead to clients avoiding you in the future.
In the beginning, it might take a bit of experimentation to know how much work you can take on. When you do, it’s important not to push yourself too much because you’ll just end up stressed and hating your work.
Remember that you are allowed to turn down clients. They will see that you’re in demand and might even be more likely to wait for you to be free as a result.
Another option is to outsource some tasks to another freelancer, a virtual assistant or an accountant. This will free up some time for you to be able to focus more on client work than admin or bookkeeping
Not getting paid
Whether a client disappears or refuses to pay for whatever reason, you can be left feeling powerless (and broke).
A recent survey from The Freelancer Club and the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-employed (IPSE) found that freelancers lose over £5k a year due to unpaid work, either agreed or otherwise. This is a common problem that many are campaigning to end.
The best way to try and avoid this difficulty is to come up with a contract and insist that your client signs it before carrying any work out. Any client who refuses should ring alarm bells for you. Any decent client will likely appreciate your professionalism and be reassured that you want to commit your work to a contract that protects both of your interests.
Procrastination can strike the best of us but when you let it take over, you’ve got a nightmarish habit you’ve got to work harder to fight. Procrastination can affect the self-employed more or at least have more dangerous impacts because they usually have no one else to answer to.
Create incentives to complete work and take them away when you’ve been procrastinating too much. You’re going to have to train yourself to resist the urge to procrastinate. It might take a while and be a bit of struggle but it will be worth it in the end. Try to remember why you went freelance in the first place and set goals for yourself.
What other freelancing nightmares have you dealt with? How did you banish them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!