These days, it’s never been easier to connect with clients across the world, which makes freelancing a great option if you’re looking for an alternative career path that doesn’t involve a traditional job.
The freelancing industry has been growing for the last few years but the Covid pandemic generated a massive shift in working modes, bringing the majority online. This made a lot of people realize the importance of flexibility, location and working environment.
Many of them started to see freelancing as a way to keep this flexibility, in case their employer decides to call them back in the offices, physically.
The demand for freelancers is growing rapidly.
Simply put, freelancing can be a great way to start your own business and be in control of your own time, projects and people who you work with.
But is it that scary, as they say it is?
Well, uncertainty can be scary and you do have to put in the work, no doubt.
If you’re just starting out, things can feel daunting, for sure.
You worry about things like getting enough work, finding good clients and avoiding bad clients, and very importantly generating consistent revenue.
I know. I’ve been there.
Hell, in my first year of freelancing, I had five or six attempts to give up and go back to my old job. What can I say…Working with a travel startup as a first client, during a global pandemic also "helped"
Many freelancers experience fear of uncertainty in their first years of activity.
But there are ways to address these fears and make freelancing a more enjoyable and successful experience.
Let’s detail a bit.
Freelancers are often plagued by the fear that they’ll not find enough work and as a result, their income will become inconsistent and unpredictable. This can be a major stress factor.
But as with any other type of business, freelancing requires strategy and planning in order to be successful, while having realistic expectation of how much work you can take on.
After all, we only have 24 hours in a day.
There are several efficient ways to generate leads as a freelancer and find new clients, so don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different strategies.
Fear of working for themselves can be a major roadblock for any aspiring freelancer.
The comfort and feeling of security that a regular pay-check brings to the table can keep the majority of us stuck in a dead-end job, with endless meetings and time-wasting processes that normally shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
Just had a flashback there, for a second. Phew
Imagine…Not being strictly tied to a 9-5 daily schedule? No need to report back to a sorry-ass boss on how you use your time? Sounds great, right?
And it is…But not in the beginning.
Trust me, once you cross to the other side (escaping the employee mindset), you realize that having complete control of your own time while it feels great, it can also be overwhelming.
After all, you’re in charge now.
Then again, everything changes when you realize you do own your time and it’s best that you learn how to work SMART so you avoid wasting it.
Fear of selling can make freelancers squeamish so they avoid marketing their services or worse, charging less than they’re actual worth.
To be honest, this has been the toughest one for me.
But remember that you’re providing a valuable service, your knowledge and expertise, and you should be compensated accordingly.
It goes without saying that you need to know what your services worth.
I’ll cover some pricing strategies in another article, but it’s important to have clear financial goals that align with your skills and future plans, so that you don’t leave money on the table.
The ever so-popular impostor syndrome…Or that fear of not being good enough.
Very common amongst beginner freelancers. Heck, it can happen even to veterans, especially those with strong perfectionism tendencies (yours truly, sometimes).
But it’s important to remember that everyone feels this way at some point, and it’s perfectly normal.
In fact, you are an impostor in the beginning, but that’s just fine.
With each new project, with each new client, you are impostor, until proven otherwise.
Here are 5 ways I use to get over the impostor syndrome.
Freelancing can be a very lonely journey.
We’re social beings. Our brain is chemically engineered in need of socializing.
We need socializing in one way or another, but as freelancers, we tend to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world.
New project, new client, new problems to solve…
This can be productive and work for a while, but when you don’t have office colleagues around or roommates that can distract you, in the long run, it can be dangerous.
Your social skills are diminishing and you can enter this anti-social vicious circle.
I’ve been there. The Covid-19 pandemic helped, yes, but I can’t blame it all on that. I chose to isolate my self. And I used to be an extrovert, or the very least, an outgoing introvert (cause I enjoy time alone also).
It could be that you’re just jumping from a regular 9-5 into freelancing and your old colleagues and friends with whom you’re so used to spend time with, suddenly, they don’t understand your new lifestyle. More isolation.
What can you do?
Find your crew. Find your tribe. Find other like-minded people, other freelancers, connect, engage and make friends.
You’d be amazed of how many amazing people, just like you, are out there.
Put together a solid freelancing plan, knowing exactly what services you offer, what your rates are and how you’ll find new clients. But don’t make my mistake and try to over plan everything. Just start and learn while doing.
Set up a website and make sure it’s easy for clients to find it online. Attractive landing pages, clear messaging with clear call-to-actions, all that beautiful mumbo-jumbo. That’s your lemonade stand.
Get involved in the freelancing community. There are many online forums, discord and slack channels, reddit subgroups and twitter spaces where you can meet new people. Better yet, you can meet your next client.
Setting yourself on the path to freelancing is scary and, most of the time, hard. It's not for everyone and that's fine.
But when done right, it can be a great experience that brings you a lifestyle and sense of freedom that no job can compete with.
You got this!