Diane Hall - The Frazzled Freelancer

Freelancer, Entrepreneur and mother of two...

5 issues every freelancer needs to tackle

Here are 5 issue that have raised their heads more than once in my freelancing jobs journey.  Think of them as Diane’s “What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School” list!

1.  Businesses can plan, but most of these plans fail.

I’m not saying your business will implode, or that this is a negative – simply that although we may forecast what may happen over the next 12 months, things very rarely follow exactly as we’d imagined. 

New opportunities can appear which influence the direction of your freelance business towards a whole new market, or shoot off on a tangent not previously considered. 

I’d always suggest forming a 12-month plan, for motivation, clarity, focus and budgeting, but be prepared to look back in a year’s time and find what you actually did didn’t even resemble your carefully-thought-out strategy.

2.  You will still wake up on a Monday morning and want to stay in bed.

Perhaps, when you were an employee, this feeling would even encroach into your Sunday evening, and the reasoning behind starting your freelancing career was to banish this dark cloud that habitually hung over your weekend. 

Although I love what I do, I still wake up and think, “I’ve got this to do, that to do – why can’t I win the lottery?”.  I’d bet that Lord Sugar or Richard Branson have the odd day when they’re not looking forward to the tasks ahead of them – it would be unnatural not to. 

The great thing is, when your working on a freelance job, although this feeling won’t disappear, it will reduce a hell of a lot!

3.  You can enjoy as much freedom as you like (with conditions).

Yes, you can take the day off to shop, watch the world go by over a pint on a sunny day and make sure you’re there for every school sports day – far more than the majority of employees. 

But, and it’s a big but, you may be tied down more in other ways. 

When employees want to book a day off it’s usually with agreement from the boss and co-workers, which does limit flexibility, but once they’re off, they don’t look back. 

Most freelancers don’t have to check in with anyone when they want to slope off but deadlines and demanding clients can actually plague the back of their mind when they’re trying to switch off.  Sometimes it can feel as if you’re swapping one boss for twenty, in the shape of your customers.  Not to mention the fact that the more time off, the less revenue you’re earning – which usually leads to catching up at all hours of the day and night. 

However, the freedom of being able to decide when to have time off without seeking someone else’s approval is undoubtedly worth the occasional late night catch-up.

4.  You have the possibility of earning far more than you could in a job.

True, true.  But every penny of this will be hard-earned, not as a result of 50% production and 50% water-cooler/web browsing/natter time as per your employed counterparts. 

Freelancers have to start again on the financial scale, in effect from scratch, but the possibility of living in that mansion, delegating to others while you sip Pimms by the pool could drive on the most apathetic individual.  The knowledge that every penny is yours (and the taxman’s), as opposed to slogging for the benefit of a boss, is addictive. 

Just one brilliant decision or grasped opportunity could see riches beyond your wildest dreams.

5.  You’ll learn new things and enjoy new experiences.

That’s right.  But it won’t necessarily be learning skills that will automatically result in a pay rise or a pat on your back from the boss. 

You’ll learn debt collection skills, tough negotiation, damage control, how to overcome downturns, how to sell ice to an Eskimo, juggling skills, how to switch off at the end of the day….and a million and one things that your boss would normally have taken care of and responsibility for. 

It won’t always be the fluffy stuff that you need to learn in your freelance career.  But don’t let this put you off; skills like these can be adapted.

For example, you may have been a shy wallflower who found it nerve-wracking when meeting new people.  Fast forward 12 months as a freelancer and the sting you previously felt in this situation has gone; you’ll think nothing of striking up a conversation with a stranger, complaining in restaurants or negotiating better terms with your phone provider.  Which can only be a good thing.

How many of these do you identify with, and how different is your freelancing career than the, dare I say it, rose-tinted glasses view you may have initially held?  Can you think of more?

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Written by Editor on August 1, 2011 and filed in Featured, Frazzled Freelancer, Freelance Jobs, News, Opinion , ,


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