Becoming a freelancer is an exciting experience, having the ability to create your own schedule and conduct business exactly how you see fit is ideal for anyone wanting the freedom from big companies.
Whether this begins your research or you’ve already started reading up, you should be aware of different problems that can also occur whilst starting up. Financial problems, low volumes of work and burning out are all common nightmares that can happen to freelancers and here are 9 ways you can avoid and be prepare for them.
Regardless of your future goals having a business plan is a healthy way to structure your freelancing business. The plan doesn’t need to be viewed by anyone but yourself, it’s a good way to lay down your currents targets financially and progressively and work out a realistic timescale to complete them in.
When your business becomes successful you can even incorporate the business plan into expanding your workload onto other freelancers.
Design a Website
Having a website created to showcase your work is the backbone of your business. Potential clients will want a preview of your current work and using a website to do this is perfect. The website shouldn’t be put off to a later date either, from the beginning when you have fewer clients which aren’t strong relationships yet, you’ll need a pillar of support for potential clients to be guided towards, give them encouragement and desire to hire your services.
Use Social Media to Network
A more open approach to advertising your services, using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to increase your public awareness is a free advertising tool and is easy to maintain. Editing your account and making them look professional in your free time is suggested in tempting clients to approach you.
You don’t want to be viewed as a part-timer wanting to make some extra money, if your social media profiles are up to scratch, create fresh and professional media pages to help separate home and business life.
Writers are known to be more creatively inclined, so working on your finances might not be the highlight of your new lifestyle. Unfortunately, it’s an essential part of working for yourself and if you fall behind or forget anything, you might get into trouble with the taxman.
Luckily in 2018, there is accounting software you can use to help you template your finances and keep everything in check. It can also create invoices for your client to ensure you paid on time, it also looks professional from the client's point of view.
Healthy Client Relationships
This bit of advice does include some trial and error, working for bad clients should be avoided at all costs. You’re bound to encounter a client that pays poorly, has unrealistic deadlines and tries to add on extra work without extra payment. It’s best to try and cut tries with negative clients as they might not treat freelancers in a respectable manner.
You might find that you work for a few at the start to build your portfolio, you’ll soon start to work out which clients are good to work with and which aren’t.
This has the potential to be the biggest nightmare on the list, you might not think insurance something you need in the beginning, but it’s the most important time to be insured. Having professional indemnity insurance means that if clients decide to take legal action out against you, you’ll have the legal and financial backing to protect your freelancing career. As a new freelancer, it’s the most likely time to make or be accused of mistakes, and someone taking legal action against you can be time-consuming and ruin your business.
Business Insurance is also important, making sure your business products are all cover is important for theft or damage problems, some home insurances won’t cover products if they are known to be used for business, so it’s worth investigating what your current cover offers.
Being passionate about your work can sometimes mean that you work more to meet client’s needs which in turn leaves you satisfied with the finished product. However, overworking too often can also lead to burning out and you may begin to resent your career path.
Make sure you always have a manageable number of clients and enjoy your workload, setting yourself days off or hours to unwind is a good approach. Working too much can lead to poorer quality work which means having to work more for lower grade clients, finding a balance between working hard and having free time is key.
A big focus for all new freelancers, make sure you are not overspending and taking every cost into consideration. If you sit in a coffee shop to do some writing the cost of your coffees is taking away profit from your work being produced. In the beginning, you likely going to be taking on lower paid projects to help build a strong portfolio, be sure to keep account of all daily spends and budget out your working week as much as possible.
Briefly mentioned earlier, try to avoid letting clients add on extra work and no extra expense to them, it’s time you could be working on another client. Judging whether you think it’s worth putting the extra care into a piece of work is another important factor.
Content Farms are a tempting stream of revenue for beginners, but its best to try and avoid them. Content farms are sites that pay very little wages, for poor quality work and require high volumes of return. There is no real benefit to using them unless you’re desperate for paid work, the quality of work they want won’t be suitable for your portfolio and if you try to hand in high-quality work you’ll fall behind with their demands.
Some of these nightmares might be encountered in your freelancing career, there is no way of avoiding all of them but after reading this article, you’ll know at the very least that others have had similar experiences. There are a lot of detailed articles to read through about these problems individually and how freelancers have overcome them if you want to consider it further.
Biography: Richard Meadow is a writer that works on topics in relation to law, property and freelancing. He is always interested in new subjects and articles to read about as much as he enjoys writing about them. @meadow_richard