Diane Hall - The Frazzled Freelancer
Freelancer, Entrepreneur and mother of two...
5 wonders of my freelancing world
Although they’re not necessarily specific to solopreneurs, they pop up in my life continually; perhaps you can help me answer these tongue-in-cheek dilemmas?
Wonder 1: Where does the time go?
When I was employed, I’d turn up at 9 a.m. and work for most of the time I was there. I never dreamt of getting behind with my workload and there was always time in the day to either knuckle down or waste at the water cooler – whichever was necessary.
As a freelancer, my weeks are always completely filled, yet not wholly with work! The unproductive tasks such as networking, administration, marketing and more are vital, yet a large drain on my time. I have far more flexibility than an employee, but for some reasons, I have less time. Is it because I try and do more because I have so many options open to me, or because I have more of a work/life balance?
Wonder 2: Am I doing everything right?
I often wonder how my competitors approach finding and doing their work, and whether I’m missing a trick or if I’m managing things better than they are. Networking helps fill the void of a sounding board and feedback but it can still be lonely sometimes, having to make all the decisions on your own and not knowing if what you’ve concluded is for the best.
That said, this can be very exciting too – I’d much rather fail from a wrong decision I’ve made than one my boss has made for me, and one which I had no control over. And even if I fail at one hurdle, it’s now second nature to dust myself off and change tactic or chase the thousands of other opportunities available to me.
Wonder 3: Will I be a millionaire?
As an employee, this will probably only be possible with the advent of a lottery win. To a freelancer, and echoing the immortal words of Del Boy: “This time next year, I’ll be a millionaire” is something you often wonder – because it’s entirely possible.
The world is literally at a freelancer’s feet – I mentioned in a previous post, the success of TweetDeck’s founder who did everything from his back bedroom, selling his program a few years later for multi-millions. Nothing about him was out of the ordinary; it’s proof that, with the right idea, big things can happen.
Wonder 4: Where do I find my customers?
Once you’ve been in business a while, you get used to what works when marketing, and where your customers hang out. This can often seem a minefield of a question to someone just starting out on the solo road. Ask questions; your friends, family, strangers in your home town if need be, will all give their opinion on your idea, what problem it would solve for them and how much they’d pay for it.
With these findings, find larger, different markets to interview, tweaking your offering as per the feedback you receive from your market.
Even after you’ve been trading, this question can still be pondered upon, as markets shift, trends change and your customers’ circumstances change. Finding new and innovative ways to break into unchartered markets can be fun!
Wonder 5: Is it worth it?
This question crosses my mind from time to time, particularly after a very stressful day – but if you think about it, it’s only the same question I probably asked myself when working, along the lines of, “Shall I tell my boss to stuff his job?”.
We all get days that are harder than others and sometimes demanding clients just seem to replace a demanding boss. However, these days pass quickly, and when you get to juggle your workload to always catch little Johnny’s school play, or choose to take a day off to just please yourself (which always seems to involve shopping and cupcakes for me), you don’t have to clear it with anyone else first.
Having control of your own destiny is very empowering, and although the grass may look greener on the other side of the fence when you’re having a particularly bad day, think of how your employed friends feel when you say you’ve decided to have a lay-in the next morning, or you’re enjoying an afternoon off in the sunshine while they’re chained to their desks, sweltering in the stale air of their office.
I’ve no idea if these questions will ever escape my freelancer brain, and I don’t think there are straight answers, as they would vary from person to person.
So, what are the wonders of your freelancing career?
What to join the National Freelancers Day debate in Manchester? Come and find out how to win more freelance business by discoving what clients really care about (and meeting a few too…)
Written by Editor on November 7, 2011 and filed in Featured, Frazzled Freelancer, Freelance Events, Freelance Jobs, Freelancers, News, Opinion enterprise freelance fair, Freelance Jobs, freelance work, solopreneurs