In any walk of life you will encounter problems and pit-falls, one of the main issues with being freelance is feeling like you have to face these alone. This feeling can often put people off the idea of freelancing, seeing only problems lying down that path, but the truth is freelancing needn’t be an overly problematic struggle! Sure, there are problems you could raise, but the flexibility being a freelancer gives you means that these problems can be easily overcome! When you are working in a large company and you feel like something needs to change, unless you are the CEO it is often a case of learn to like it or walk away and leave it behind. This isn’t the freelance way! If you don’t like something, you have the opportunity to change it!
With that said, what are some of the things people would most like to change about being freelance? We have collected some ideas below, with suggestions on how to make that change!
1. Variable Workloads
Most freelancers would like to have a constant supply of work flowing in, but while this is certainly the hope it isn’t always the reality, especially while you are still working to establish yourself as a freelancer.
What are my options?
When facing the problem of inconsistent spurts of work, there are a few things you can do to sure up your schedule. The first would be finding a solid agency who would like you to work for them on a consistent basis, whether in-house or working remotely. This isn’t always an easy option, but if you can find this as the solid basis for your freelancer work, this frees you up to look for more ambitious projects on top. A practical step you can take to find some more work in the immediate future would be signing up to sell your services on a site like Freelancer.com, helping you find some more jobs to fill your time now while you are establishing yourself and your brand.
An inconsistent workload can also lead to the difficult cashflow issue, were you can fill like a yo-yo dropping to a financial low before (hopefully) bouncing back up. One month you can be swamped with work, whereas a month later you may feel like you’re twiddling your thumbs with nothing to do. These months will undoubtedly test your patience, perseverance, and motivation to carry on, but there are a few proactive steps you can take to make life a little easier. The main rule is be a squirrel, store away your nuts for those cold winter months. When you have consistent work, save the money you are earning. Remember that there will be quiet times and you will have to budget this, and when times get tough and work is hard to find remember to look towards those custom-made sites such as Freelancer.com.
2. Joyless Bank Holidays
Approaching the May bank holiday a lot of full time workers will be looking forward to the extra-long weekend, while many freelancers will see it as bit of a pain. Sure, everyone loves an extra day to catch up on personal chores and see family, but when you’re a freelancer a bank holiday is one less day to find new clients, it is one more day clients will be unavailable for contact, and it is a day’s delay on any ‘payment in x working days’ invoices.
While this can be problematic and a bit of a pain in the neck, there really is no way round this! Try to get all important communications taken care of before the weekend and then if you need to squeeze in some work on the Monday you can, without needing to wait for replies which may never come. Other than that, enjoy the day off and spend some time with your family/friends.
Going freelance can seem like a lonely choice, choosing to sit alone and work in isolation on a project. No more joking around in the office, no more team coffee breaks, and no one to bounce ideas off on the other side of the table. If for you freelancing means working alone from the home-office or sat at the kitchen table, it certainly can seem like a lonely existence.
The great thing is, this isn’t what freelancing has to be like – this isn’t what freelancing should be like! Firstly, you could always look for opportunities for in-house freelancing work, but if you’ve broken away from office-work with no intention of jumping straight back in, then try a collaborative working space (like Work.Life)! Far from working alone, you get to work around other highly motivated freelancers, sharing ideas and advice, while benefiting from any extra contacts you make in the process.
Reading this article may be distracting you from that project you should be working on, or those admin tasks you were supposed to be doing, and when you are freelancing and taking on every task yourself, the distractions only seem to increase! When your time is worth so much, and when you have so much that you need to accomplish, distractions can be a real hindrance. When you’re working from home, it may be that family or personal chores distract you from pressing deadlines; in a coffee shop a screaming baby or an argument at another table may steal away your focus; if you work from a co-working space it may be other members taking away your focus.
We all have different working patterns, and different distractions stealing away our attention, so there is no one perfect solution. There are, however, some positive steps you can take:
Try turning off social media notifications on your phone. For some people who depend on a constant social media presence this isn’t always an option, but replying to every tweet/message/email as they get to you can be a big drain on your time. Pay attention to your energy levels throughout the day. There will be some times when you will be more focused and other times when your brain will struggle to engage at all; if you already have a rough idea of your daily ups and downs you can plan your working day to be as productive as possible.
Remove the distracting objects. Whether it is a TV, a radio, or a spouse. Okay, so we can’t just tell people we love to leave us alone indefinitely, but you can remove yourself from their ‘distracting presence’. If things at home are distracting you, find somewhere somewhere local and flexible where you can focus and get work done! Somewhere like Work.Life.