You chose freelance work because you know it comes with benefits.
But like anything worthwhile, freelancing is a challenge. The market is competitive. Clients can be unpredictable. And let’s face it: Freelancing is a lot more volatile than traditional employment. It takes a lot more energy and a ton of savvy to succeed.
If you’re a freelancer with lots of traditionally employed friends, you might feel like the only one who understands what you do and why you do it. But in fact, you’re in good company with lots of strong, talented freelancers who simply “get it,” no questions asked. Day in and day out, you face similar struggles and learn similar lessons. Here are three of them:
1. You Need to Network
As a freelancer, your pool of opportunities is only as big as your network allows it to be. If you want to build up a solid portfolio and develop a healthy income, you need to be networking nonstop.
Make connections over social media, attend local networking events, and be sure to snag client testimonials that you can share with others as proof that you are as amazing as you look.
2. Your Workspace Has to Work for You
Many people hold a romantic vision of freelancers working in the wee hours of the morning at local coffee shops, but don’t realize the reality of the situation: that crowds, unreliable wi-fi, isolation and your financial stability can make it difficult to turn your local Starbucks into your remote workstation. Coworking spaces are excellent alternatives that enable you to network and meet value-aligned colleagues while having devoted spaces to focus for a full day’s work.
3. Procrastination Is Career Poison
You’re your own boss–can’t you just do that tomorrow? It’s easy to fall victim to procrastination when your head isn’t in the game and spur-of-the-moment plans present themselves, but without keeping to an organized internal deadline schedule, your work, work-life balance and health can all suffer. Keep yourself organized and on track with your deadlines in a way that works for yourself (and make sure you do bucket in dedicated vacation and break time).
Until you are a freelancer, it can be hard to totally understand what freelancing is all about. Fortunately, there are lots of talented freelancers out there who understand the joys and pains of freelancing, and who love their careers all the more for it. Keep learning and sharing the lessons you learn with your freelance communities and when times get tough, remember: You’re not alone!