It’s one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, providing income opportunities for 27% of all current workers. The flexibility and accessibility of freelancing have proven particularly useful with certain constraints, such as mothers who need work to work with their family life. If you have skills, you can make the transition from stay-at-home mom to work-at-home mom. But you have to be aware of how you’re going to tackle some of the issues you might face. So, what’s stopping you?
This is one of the biggest problems that many freelancers don’t quite anticipate. The traditional workplace might not be the happiest of working environments, but it is one that tends to have us making the best use of our time. In freelancing, if you’re not careful, a work day can pretty much disappear without very much getting done. Learning how to prioritize different work tasks and the time management skills that help you create a working schedule for them is crucial to making use of the time you have. Especially if you’re working odd, disjointed hours that don’t really allow you to spend a single block of the day sat down to do your work. You have to learn to organize your own time.
Setting out that time and actually being able to use it is another thing entirely. Many people find trouble using the home as their workplace because they haven’t taken the time to contextualize it for that or to make it more suitable. Setting up a home office, whether it’s an entire room or just a corner of a room, can help you get into the working mindset much easier, rather than feeling like you’re relaxing at home. On the other hand, being engaged, productive, and proactive when freelancing is the real way to success, but if you’re putting too much personal time and effort into work, you can fail to achieve work-life balance. Before long, this leads to a burnout, and the idea of working from home becomes a chore more than anything else.
It’s a stumbling block that many new freelancers stumble into, but one that you can avoid with just a little effort. The savings to be made by running an independent business venture from home are huge, but many can offset the advantages entirely by relying on low-paying jobs from places like freelance listing sites that have them end up spending a lot of time working on very little. The way to rise above that is to invest in your enterprise, setting up a personal brand and so on. But to do that, you have to be ready to invest in the enterprise, as well. Finding money saving opportunities to dedicate more funds to building up your career by outsourcing for web creation, for instance, is why you need to learn to become more money savvy and not just spend everything you earn.
At the start, whether it’s for the first few months or the first year, your work might not be very consistent at all. You will have periods where you’re waiting for any job at all, and others where you’re waiting for the pay from the last job you just created. If you’re looking to pour your profits back into your home-grown business, then finding credit streams like invoice financing or a paycheck advance can help you ensure you always have the money that you should. At the same time, you can guarantee yourself more work in the future by diversifying. You can dedicate some time to your own clients, but if you’re a freelance writer, you can also subcontract with a bigger company that guarantees a steady stream of clients, even if it pays a little less.
The market might seem saturated with freelancers, and many of them are on those listings, where finding work quickly becomes a race to the bottom. You’re competing with many cheaper options, so how do you win? By building a brand that focuses on value to the client, not just the price-point. Become a known quantity by doing some work at a lower profit margin, for instance, so you can collect and showcase examples of your work. Present yourself as a professional service, not just a person for hire. There are plenty of clients who want a more dedicated service provided than those freelancing sites can provide. You just have to make yourself distinct and known.
It’s not unreasonable to say that if you want to be a truly successful freelancer, you might have to put in more work than the average employee. The benefit, of course, is a greater share of the profits and the flexibility to work with a schedule and standards that fit you.