Is there something that you wish you knew many years ago? When it comes to freelancing there are many things that I wish I knew at a younger age. Instead of dwelling on them, I wanted to write about it so that you guys can learn from my mistakes.
“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.” — Oscar Wilde
Let’s look at what they didn’t tell me about freelancing back in 2008…
You have to set your own hours.
Nobody will ever set the hours for you. At the most, you’ll receive a deadline. Everything else is up to you. This means that you have to be either highly self-motivated or drink a ton of coffee to get things done at the last minute. Which one are you? I’m usually under the latter category.
I’ve spent many late-nights trying to complete freelancing assignments last minute. Unlike school, clients don’t care for excuses. If you don’t submit the work, you don’t get paid. If you don’t get paid, you can’t pay the bills or enjoy yourself. A pretty tough situation.
If you’re not able to get work done on your own, then you’re going to hate freelancing. I’m just warning you.
How do you set your own hours?
- Work with your body’s natural rhythm.
- Reward yourself.
- Force yourself.
- Drink lots of coffee.
- Go to coffee shops or public places to work.
There’s no balance between personal life and work.
How do you balance work and personal life? You don’t!
My balance sucks. There have been books and presentations on this since the beginning of time. The truth is that there’s no balance between your personal life and your work because you always have to think about your freelancing work since it’s what pays your bills and helps you put food on the table.
This ties into the next point…
You will annoy your friends.
Most people do NOT take their work home with them. You do. You work from home (or your home office).
Your friends will get annoyed because you’re always going to have your cellphone or tablet out. You’re always getting emails because the Internet works on a global scale. You get ideas at the most random times. Clients message you when problems arise.
Your friends will get frustrated because nobody wants to talk about work on a Friday night. You’re going to be that guy. Sorry!
The money is NOT guaranteed.
Money is absolutely not guaranteed. Clients fade away and industries collapse over night. Your finances could literally dry up at any point leaving your stranded and looking for money to pay the bills.
Look at some of the Google updates to search algorithms. Traffic fell by insane percentages for some profitable bloggers. That affects everyone. When traffic falls, income usually goes with it. Then these folks can no longer afford to hire freelancers. Everyone is impacted in some way. You could be the best freelance writer or social media manager, and still lose your job because of external factors.
As corny as this sounds, you have to be good at marketing yourself. If you can’t promote yourself, you’ll never get far as a freelancer. You’ll be stuck in a perpetual rut. Do you mind tooting your own horn?
That’s what I wish I knew about freelancing.