As great as freelancing is, like any job, it also has its downsides. By its very nature, it can sometimes be rather lonely. As much as people complain about how difficult it is to go into to work and talk to their colleagues every day about the weather, freelancers don't have that opportunity. Whether you are a freelance writer or graphic designer or any number of other professions, you will likely be at your home office every day doing what work you have at the time. Your only chance to communicate with someone is likely to be in the form of emails with clients, people you will probably never meet.
Another difference between freelance work and more conventional forms of employment is that with freelance work, there's not a lot of job security. With a nine to five job, the employee will usually have a permanent contract and can therefore reasonably expect to be able to pay their bills for the foreseeable future. The fear of getting fired are there, but it's slight. Redundancy brings with it a severance package too.
Also, with freelance work, there is a constant need to find new clients. The whole process is one long job interview. Like Scheherazade, a freelancer always needs to keep their clients wanting more.
However, there are lots of upsides too. You are your own boss, and that can be good depending on how much you like taking orders from yourself (you have to be self-disciplined or else you will fail), and the commute is really easy too.
If you are finding you’re stuck in a cycle, here are a few tips for becoming a better freelancer:
It may seem obvious but the best way to improve how you do most things in life is to get out and talk to people who know more about it than you.
That may mean going to a conference. If you have never been to one before, you should know that you do usually get a name badge (like one from Imagin products). Fun! You also get to meet a lot of confident, self-motivated, successful people and you can ask them all the questions you want. Here is some information on a few conferences that took place last year. It can give you some idea of where to get started.
While you may have lots of different projects right now, you should always make sure that when it comes to the time to submit an invoice, all of your records are in order so you do not get any of it wrong. There's nothing worse than doing all the work only to find that you get paid the wrong amount. Setting up a filing system and organising all of your paperwork in a professional manner may not seem like a fun way to spend a morning (or an afternoon or an evening, for that matter), but it can really help when it comes time to getting what you deserve.
Revisit Old Clients
Old clients are a goldmine. Every six months or so, check in with them and ask if they need any new work done. You would be surprised at how many orders you'll get, just from checking in. Sending e-holiday cards are another way to remind clients that you exist and send more work your way.
Need more in-depth help with starting your freelancing career? Take my master course on how to become a well-paid freelance writer.
Note: This post contains affiliate links.