If you’re thinking about going freelance, you’ve probably done some research, or maybe this is the start! Considering what it’s really like to be a freelancer is important to manage expectations. Naturally, you’ve probably read a horror story whilst looking into it.
Creating your own schedule, writing about what you love and working from home all sound great. But at the same time, there are some common problems you might want to avoid, to enjoy the new lifestyle.
1. Create a business plan
You’re not making this to find investors! Likely, no one else will even be seeing it. Having a business plan is a vital part of understanding your own goals and how you can best achieve them.
Monthly and yearly financial goals are important for pushing yourself to work hard and make your career successful. The easiest thing to do when working for yourself is putting tasks off and convincing yourself you can work later. You can use the business plan to expand the workload onto other people. Or for the less ambitious, use it as a productive way to review your performance.
2. Design a website
Marketing your skillset is key to becoming a successful freelancer, for a reliable backbone of your business, a website is essential.
Using a domain will help potential clients see your professional manner and give them the ability to view your previous work. Especially in the beginning, when you’ve not got reliable previous clients, using your site as a reference point is key to guiding your clients into working with you.
3. Network on social media
Just like the website using social media to advertise yourself is a great tool to have. It also offers your potential clients a window to see your personality and the way you present yourself to the public. Which can be vital to some clients.
LinkedIn, for example, is a great platform to use as it’s a media page for professionals to use. Aand they expect people to reach out to them for business enquiries.
For a writer, who is more creatively inclined, working on the finances isn’t a best of tasks whilst freelancing. Sadly, it’s something that must be kept on top of or there’s a chance of getting into trouble with the taxes. You don’t have to rely on your maths and a calculator anymore. Downloading some good accounting software will help create invoices for your clients. What’s more, you can make sure you are paid on time and correctly.
5. Healthy client relationships
If you’re working hard, it shows your passion for the profession and desire to get the job done for a client. Avoid investing time and hard work into clients that treat you poorly. Some clients will treat you like a robot. Furthermore, they may be forcing unmanageable deadlines, lower rates and last minute requests with no extra charge. Although you should remain professional and finish the job. Learning to say no can help your career.
Having good client relationships will reduce headaches, overworking and keep you enjoying your work. If you dread to work with a client, it might be time to cut ties with them.
6. Stay insured
Potentially the biggest nightmare on this list, if a client decides to take legal action against you, you’ll want to make sure you and your career are protected. Having professional indemnity insurance is important, it offers the financial backing from professionals if a client makes an allegation against you.
Business insurance is also essential, protecting your business tools if they are lost, stolen or damaged. It may save you and will help replace a laptop for example and tangible items that you use daily to make a living.
Working hard is important for success in your specialty. But if you work too hard you are likely to lose focus and burnout. Overworking is one of the most likely ways to destroy the foundation of your new career. If you start to overwork you’ll probably begin to dislike your job.
Setting yourself hours to work, or time off work is a great way to continually see the enjoyment in your freelancing. Overworking can create writer’s block and this just means you spend even more time working and not getting as many tasks completed.
Keeping a log of all your work expenses is important for a successful business. At the start of your freelancing, you might have to cut down on the expensive brands. Making your prices lower at first is a good idea. It will help build your portfolio. and keep you competitive with already established writers. Gradually, you’ll want to increase your prices to help reduce the need for bigger workloads.
Mentioned in the client section briefly, try to avoid letting client add extra work into the already negotiated deal. The amount of work you put in for one client might slide past you. This is why you should keep a log of time spent vs money earnt is a helpful tool. It can also help you decide what prices to charge.
9. Content farms
Content farms mixed a lot of the mentioned nightmares into one client. They may seem like easy cash in the beginning but overall the pay-out isn’t worth the workload. Content farm work is repetitive, boring and there is no recognition for your efforts. Which means there’s little or no reason to consider working for one.
Reading this article or other horror stories isn’t to say you’ll completely avoid any issues whilst starting up. At the very least you’ll know you’re not the first person to make the mistake and you’ll know how to rectify it.
About the author:
Amelia Morgan is a freelance writer based in a small town in the UK, She loves writing and has decided to focus on the lifestyle of freelancers in general. She enjoys working from home and has a lot of insight into small businesses from her families background.