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5 Ways Freelancers Can Give Themselves a Little TLC

relaxation-1967892_1280I was sitting this morning with my tea, wondering what I was going to write about today. Today, I am tired, hormonal (perimenopause people!), and just not feeling like doing much of anything — yet I have a VERY full schedule today.

It was during my morning meditation that I realized perhaps today was a good day to talk about self-care.

Of course, we all need self-care. Every single person in the world, men and women, no matter who they are or what they do, needs to take the time to care for themselves. We all need to do things that help us unwind, relax, and rejuvenate. But I think women in freelancing need to take this particularly seriously. Why?

First, because women are notorious for caring for everyone around them and neglecting themselves. An Ipsos survey showed that while 80% of women feel self-care is important, only one-third of them take 30 minutes or less in a day to do so. In contrast, 76% of women spend as much as 10 hours a day and 19% spend more than 10 hours a day caring for others.

That’s 95% of women spending most of their waking hours caring for others!

Second, because freelancers can easily overwork themselves, despite the fact that they have so much freedom in terms of their schedule. Even though the Freelancing in America 2016 report shows freelancer worked an average of 36 hours a week (2 hours more than the average worked by employed workers), a Freelancermap survey from 2018 showed that over 40% of freelancers work between 40 and 50 hours per week and nearly 20% work between 50 and 60 hours per week.

That’s a LOT of hours, and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it on more than one occasion.

And when you put these two things together…

You have a potent combination that can lead to burnout!

So, it’s time to step up your freelance self-care game, which is something I have really been trying to focus on lately. What follows are five things I am doing to care for myself. You may have your own secret self-care weapons or you may be inspired by these. Whichever is the case, your self-care strategies won’t work it you don’t actually do them. So, as you read through these, think about how you can truly implement them in your life:

1. Exercise

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It doesn’t matter what form your exercise takes, like Nike says, just do it. Exercise makes your body healthy and your brain happy. And it feels good. I have started running again, which is followed by a session of planks, pushups, and stretching — good for a body that sits in front of a computer all day.

Honestly, I just thought about how even a half an hour to an hour a day is really not a lot of time out of my schedule to do something good for myself. Yet, the benefits are amazing. Exercise:

  • Reduces the risk of disease
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Gives you more energy
  • Improves your mood
  • Improves brain function
  • Helps you sleep better

I try to run three days per week, followed by a workout/stretching session, and try to walk the other days. It’s not always easy, but it ALWAYS feels good and I know it makes me feel better on all counts.

So, decide what exercise is right for you and just do it!

2. Meditationyoga-1284657_1280

I have been meditating every morning now for about 3 weeks. I started at 5 minutes and now I’m up to 11 minutes. I do it in the morning, after my first cup of tea — and after my kids have gone to school. I usually try to visualize myself surrounding by the universal web of knowledge that surrounds all of us and open myself to it.

Sometimes, I visualize I am on a beach, sometimes in my living room, but always surrounded by love, light, and open to what the universe is offering me, the future it has for me. I also often repeat affirmations during meditation and I can’t begin to tell you how this has brought opportunities into my life.

Meditation offers some incredible benefits, not just mental, but also physical. They include:

  • Reduced cortisol levels and lower stress
  • Increased concentration and focus
  • Increased gray matter in the brain, resulting in better memory and learning and increase self-awareness and compassion — this helps prevent memory loss as we age
  • Reduced anxiety and depression

So, set aside some time each day to meditate. Start with 1 or 2 minutes if you need to and work your way to longer sessions. Just do it. You will notice the difference.

3. Be in the Moment

I have become quite good at being in the moment. If i’m working, I am there, focused on the work I am doing at the moment — not focused on the hundred other things I need to do. If I’m with my kids, I’m with them, no matter how much work is waiting for me in my office.

Being where I am and shutting out everything else helps me get the most out of the time I am spending on any area of my life. This past Thursday, I spent most of the day with my oldest daughter. Yesterday, I did a day trip to Toronto with my youngest daughter. I enjoyed myself and had a break from the office.

And I have SO MUCH WORK ahead of me in the coming days, I could have easily been fretting over it. But I didn’t. This is so important.

Learn to be in the moment and get the most out of it. When you are working, work hard. When you are playing, play hard. You will be amazed at how easy this can be and how beneficial it truly is.

4. Non-Screen Time

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Sometimes, I find myself just unable to concentrate well. I am not very focused and I’m not getting a lot done. I can’t use my time effectively. Whether I am tired, hormonal, or just overworked, I need to step away. Even when my work schedule is heavy, I need to step away. Perhaps take the rest of the day off and get back at it early the next morning, when I know I will be much more efficient.

After all, if work isn’t efficient, it makes more sense to use that time to refresh and rejuvenate!

There are also days when I need to not touch my computer at all. As long as nothing is pressing, some days off are spent completely disengaged from technology. Even when I think I’m going to work on a non-client project, sometimes I just can’t do it. I might use this time to go hiking and be in nature, read, binge some shows, or, more often than not, just sit and relax and let my mind wander.

Honestly, unless you have a harsh deadline looming, if you need to walk away for a few hours or an entire day or two, just do it! This isn’t about taking a vacation, although that is also important. This is stepping away during day-to-day life and letting yourself just be.

5. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is critical to our overall health and our ability to concentrate and focus. I don’t do well on less than 8 hours of sleep and I don’t try to. Humans MUST have 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Without this much sleep, we are at a higher risk of overweight and obesity and diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes

Plus, our concentration and memory suffer, which isn’t going to help us when we are working. So, make sure you get enough sleep!

Obviously, there are plenty of other methods of self-care out there. This is just what works for me. Whether you do any of these or have others, please share with us in the comments section below! We can help inspire each other to engage in more self-care.

And stay tuned for a guest post coming on Wednesday about freelancing and traveling!

Cheers, Karen

To Niche or Not to Niche: 3 Things to Consider in Freelancing

Find your niche word abstractI’ve been reading a lot these days about the idea that freelancers need to choose a niche, so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about it. The going thought among the community seems to be that to be truly successful and really increase their income, freelancers need to choose a niche and stick to it, rather than being a Jill-of-all-trades. What do I think?

Yes — and no.

I spent the first many years of my freelance career writing anything and everything. I wrote on any subject matter that came my way, any industry that came my way. And let me tell you, I have honed my research skills to a T over the years.

These days, I am a little more specialized, simply because of chance, more than any conscious effort on my part. But this isn’t necessarily specialized in the way you might think. Here are three things that I have learned to consider when it comes to choosing a niche in freelancing…

1. Yes, Choosing a Niche Is a Good Thing

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Overall, I agree that choosing a specific niche is a good thing. When you choose a specific niche or industry in which to offer your services, there are a number of benefits, including:

  • You earn a reputation and build credibility.
  • You can charge more for your services.
  • Your experience continues to build.
  • You’re more likely to get referrals.
  • Your marketing can be more finely targeted.

Right from day one, it’s a good idea to choose a niche. Chances are, you have a pretty good idea of what niche you want to work in. This might have to do with previous education and work experience, a hobby, volunteer work, or a passion you have in a particular niche.

If you aren’t sure what niche you want to work in, then you can perhaps take on some random work in niches you might be interested in until you find a fit. Then you can focus on that.

But there is more to consider…

2. It’s About More than Subject Matterwordcloud-679951_1280

I am going to use writing as an example here because — well — I’m a writer and it’s what I know. Niche is only one part of the picture. You can specialize in a niche, such as health and fitness, personal finance, B2B (business-to-business) content, online marketing, the tech industry, or the pharmaceutical industry.

But the type of content you write also matters.

Just because you write in the personal finance niche, doesn’t mean you can write press releases as well as you can write blog posts. White papers, content articles, and sales copy are very different forms of writing, and the type of writing you specialize in is just as important as the niche itself.

So, perhaps you can specialize in white paper writing, regardless of industry. Or narrow it down to certain industries. Of course, your research skills will need to be incredible, but once you have written in an industry once, you can promote that in your marketing.

In the past, I wrote white papers in the health care industry, but I recently wrote one for a company in the blockchain space. Now, experience in this space is in high demand. I hadn’t written in that niche previously, yet I nailed the white paper because I know how to research and write a white paper, and how to work with the client as a subject matter expert. The client was thrilled with my work and will be a repeat client. And now, I can market myself as an experienced white paper writer in blockchain.

So, consider specializing in a specific form of content, a concept that I imagine can be transferred to at least some other freelance services, such as graphic design and photography.

3. More than One Niche Can Be a Good Thinggrid-2111788_640

Finally, yes it’s wise to find a niche and build a reputation in that niche. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick within that niche forever! Once you have established yourself, you can begin to look for a second niche, then a third.

Yes, this might mean marketing your services differently for each niche. You might need to alter your proposals or pitches depending on the niche a certain project or client is in. You might need to change your target market based on the niche. But you CAN work in more than one niche.

Now, I’m not suggesting you should be working in any niche that comes along. And I am not suggesting you spread yourself too thin. I am merely suggesting that if you write lead magnet reports, you can do that in both the health and fitness industry AND the online marketing industry. I am suggesting that you can write white papers, press releases, or blog posts in the personal finance industry AND the blockchain industry.

Maybe you’ll ultimately grow to work in three or four or five industries. Maybe you’ll stick with one or two. The point is, choosing a single niche is not carved in stone. You will need to feel it out and decide what’s right for you. Then run with it!

Do you have any thoughts on or experience with working in one or more niches? If so, please share with us in the comments section below!

Cheers, Karen

5 Tried & True Ways to Increase Freelance Cash Flow

american-1239040_640Getting paid enough and on time are two of the biggest headaches freelancers have. When we are between big projects, have a month where the pickings are slim, or take a long time to see payment for a project, we can easily run into cash flow problems. After all, we aren’t counting on a regular paycheck coming in every two weeks or even every month. But our rent, bills, and empty tummies don’t care about that.

Not only that, but there is always the chance a client will bugger off without paying us at all! Forbes reports that a whopping 58% of freelancers in Southeast Asian countries have experienced not being paid for their work. They also say it’s universal problem, not isolated to that area of the world. Bill.com reports that 54% of freelancers say it takes too long to get paid.

These are all nightmare scenarios we do NOT want to deal with. Add to this the fact that 35% of freelancers struggle with financial management and you have a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to help ensure we always have sufficient cash flow, no matter what happens with clients and payment.

Take a look…

1. Start a Savings Accountpiggy-bank-2889042_640

Yes, this seems intuitive, yet you’d be surprised how many people don’t have any savings. In the U.S., an astonishing 35% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings and another 34% have no savings at all. That’s 69% — two-thirds — of Americans with little or no savings!

And this isn’t a problem that is isolated to the U.S. In Canada, 24% of people have next to nothing saved. As for Britain, nearly a third of people have less than £1,500 and 15% have no savings at all.

So, just like you set aside a percentage of what you earn for your taxes (you do that, right?) you should also set aside a percentage in savings. Even 5%-10% a month can make a huge difference when payments are few and far between. The key is to choose a percentage and be diligent. Put it away EVERY month!

2. Manipulate Your Schedule

The very first priority when scheduling client work is to ensure you meet their deadlines. Period. However, there are other factors that can come into play, and scheduling your work so you can get some cash in more quickly is fair play. As long as your clients are happy, you can schedule the work any way you want. This means you can get something quick done, so you can bring it the $$. You can read more about it in my blog post on prioritizing freelance work.

3. Charge What You’re Worth

Remember, if you aren’t charging enough for your services, you will be slaving away too many hours a week just to make ends meet, never mind putting savings away. You need to be sure you are being paid fairly for what you do and that starts and ends with you. Check out my post on charging what you’re worth when it comes to setting your freelance fees.

4. Get a Deposit & Set Milestonesdistrict-3670200_640

Whenever you start with a brand new client, you MUST get a deposit. After all, you don’t know this client and they don’t know you. It’s a way to establish trust and a way to ensure you have cash coming in on a regular basis. About the only time getting a deposit might not apply is when you are working on a freelance platform that uses escrow to guarantee payment.

A deposit ensures you get some money upfront, so you have pay in the bank while you work on a project. And this doesn’t have to be done only with new clients. You can make it a regular practice, even when you work with clients again and again.

I generally charge 50% up front for projects under $500, with the remainder due on final delivery and approval. For larger projects, there is a deposit and milestone payments set up. So, if a project will cost $1,500, I will take a 10%-20% deposit and split the remainder into three milestones of 30%, 30%, and 20%-30%.

With a deposit and milestones, you will be getting a consistent flow of cash coming in, while you are working on a project. This saves you the horror of having to wait for a single large payment to come in after all the work is done.

5. Get a Monthly Retaineraccountant-4008603_640

Finally, if you offer a service that you will provide on a regular basis to a client, you can charge a monthly retainer. This is a flat fee you and your client have agreed on that will be paid out to you monthly and it is definitely something you should shoot for with as many clients as possible. This is something I am getting ready to do for blog posts, email campaigns, and the like.

So, as a writer, say a client wants you to write three blog posts of 1,000 words each every week. You can work out a flat fee for those 12 or so posts every month and the client will pay that rate on a certain date each month. You get steady and predictable pay and the client knows what is going out each month. It’s a win-win.

As freelancers, there is nothing we can do about the instability of our income. There will always be ups and downs, difficult clients, and quiet months. What we can control is how much we charge, when we collect our pay, and how much of it we set aside. So, take control and make sure your cash flow is adequate to meet your needs.

And if you have other ways you ensure you have a good cash flow every month, please share with us in the comments section!

Cheers, Karen

4 Reasons Freelance Platforms Are A Good Thing

Business woman searching job opportunities onlineI know, I know. In the greater professional freelance community, a lot of people frown on freelance platforms. And I totally understand why. After all, they are a mixed bag and you don’t always know what you’re going to get.

But I contend that freelance platforms have their place — they are a good thing in certain circumstances.

Here are four reasons when using a freelance platform to find work is beneficial:

1. When you are new to freelancing and have nothing to back you up.Artboard 57-100

You have no portfolio, no connections from previous employment, and possibly no knowledge of how freelancing even works. In this situation, a freelance platform allows you to gain exposure to clients and build the portfolio you need to move on to bigger and better things.

You see, the freelance platform is a space where everything is setup, communication and application for freelance jobs is structured and facilitated. You have everything you need right there.

You can set up a portfolio, but more important, you will have a rating and feedback from clients. Ultimately, this will result in more and better-paying work. And each time you work for a client, you can ask their permission to include the work you’ve done for them in your portfolio, which you can then use to find clients off the platform.

2. You can find work quickly.

You can go onto a freelance platform, spend half an hour to an hour submitting proposals for jobs, and have a job within a few minutes or a few hours. Yes, it can work that quickly, as opposed to sending out queries and depending on networking to bring in work, which can take days or weeks to pan out.

3. It eliminates dry spells.

Consider the freelance platform as backup. If you are between projects with your non-platform clients and looking for work, you can go for long stretches. I have heard numerous people talk about dry spells and I have NEVER had one. Not once in 13+ years have I had no work to do.

Simply put, there is a constant flow of potential work on a platform. There are dozens, sometimes hundreds, of jobs posted every single day. You can literally apply for 20-30 jobs a day without much effort.

4. You get paid quickly.paper-3147856_640

When you are working with a client off a platform, you are relying on invoicing and payment terms you set up with them. You can set your terms, but chasing down payment can become a problem, I think more so than on a platform. And bigger companies may have their own timeline for paying out invoices, which can be as much as 30 days or more.

On a freelance platform, at least on a good one, you have escrow protection. The client funds the escrow before you start the work. When you’re done and the work is approved, payment is released immediately.

Plus, if the client takes too long to pay, you get your money released automatically after a certain amount of time. And if they bugger off entirely, good platforms will guarantee your pay and you’ll still get it.

So, where do platforms fit into the bigger picture? 

First, I do not think it’s wise to depend only on platforms for your entire freelance income. I think they make a great stepping stone when getting started. And I think they should always be there as a fallback for when other sources of clients hit a dry spell.

Why should freelance platforms not be your only source of clients? After all, they have been for me pretty much my entire freelance career. But when I started out, it was really the only option, or at least the only one I knew of, for online freelancing. And it’s what I always did. I managed well enough and even made a decent income, but it’s not easy.Female browsing through clothing In a Thrift Store

There are a lot of low-end clients on freelance platforms. These are people who want to pay next to nothing for high quality work. If you use a good platform — I have found Upwork to be the best — there are quality clients on there. But you have to find them.

It’s like going into a used clothing store. There are always awesome clothes, but you have to dig through all the crap to find them. On a freelance platform, you have to sift through all the crappy jobs to find the good ones. I know my way around a platform, but if you’re new to it, you will have to learn the ropes.

Ultimately, your freelance work should be sourced off-platform as much as possible. Building a website is hugely important and is something I’ll blog about soon. But keep one or two freelance platform accounts/memberships active for when you might need them. It never hurts.

Do you have experience with freelance platforms? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!

Cheers, Karen

5 Things I Did to Save Myself from Freelance Burnout

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We’ve all heard about people burning out in their jobs and careers. This certainly isn’t a new phenomenon. However, it is getting worse.

In the U.S., a recent Gallup poll found that 23% of workers feel work burnout frequently or always and 44% feel burned out at least some of the time. In the UK, more than half a million people are dealing with work-related stress and the mental health issues that can go with that.

Stress the job can come from a number of factors, such as working long hours, too much responsibility, not enough pay, and a host of other things. However, I’m not just talking about burnout because of being overworked. I’m also talking about career burnout, when you have done something a long time and you lose your passion for it. Forbes has a great article about recognizing the signs of career burnout, which are:maze-1804499_640

  • You don’t care anymore
  • You don’t see any interesting challenges ahead
  • Small things irritate you more than they should
  • You can no longer focus
  • You can’t seem to snap out of it

Now, here’s what you need to know…

Freelancers are NOT immune to workplace OR career burnout.

New or with years of experience behind them, freelancers can burn out. However, freelancers are in a unique position to handle that burnout in ways perhaps an employed person cannot. I can speak to this honestly because I have been feeling career burnout as a freelancer for the past year or so and I’ve learned…

It’s okay! It’s not the end of the world! There are things I can do about it!

Now, to be fair, my feelings of needing something more are not as simple as I’m bored with freelancing. I’m not really bored with it, per se. A large part of it for me is that I have hit my midlife re-calibration (a term one of my awesome Twitter contacts came up with). I am at a point in my life where I seriously need to consider how I want to live the second half of it. And this is what I have come up with:

  • I want to become a successful, working screenwriter
  • I want to connect with and help others – particularly women – in freelancing and in other ways

These are the two factors driving my decisions in terms of career and life in general. These are my new focus. As such, here are the things I have done within the past year to help me along my new path:

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  1. I started studying screenwriting: A year ago I signed up for the Toronto Film School’s online Writing for Television and Film course. I am LOVING it. I feel like screenwriting is a natural fit for me. Not only that, but I am really trying to put myself out there. The only script I have finished to date is a short film and I submitted it to the Austin Film Festival’s screenplay competition.
  2. I got a part-time job: Last November, I got a part-time job with our local bookstore. It was something I had thought about doing before and then it just kind of happened. After the holidays, I was put on flex, but the job isn’t about the money. I make more as a freelancer. The bookstore is about getting out and interacting with people while doing something that is fun for me.
  3. I started this blog: I have become very passionate about helping women in freelancing. One way I can do this is through this blog, which is why I started in January, and my Freelance Woman of the Month, which began this month.
  4. I am creating freelance courses and coaching: I want to help people launch, grow, and expand their freelance business because I know how challenging that can be. There is a lot more that goes into than many people realize, so I am creating four 4-week courses and offering coaching services to help those who feel it would benefit them.
  5. I started a local Meetup: I want to connect with people where I live. I don’t live in a big city, but at nearly 400,000 people, I figured there would be interest in a freelance Meetup. Turns out I was right.

Who knows, maybe in the future I will do coffee-break-1177540_640other things that will hep freelancers, both in my local community and abroad. I’d love to see a freelance conference happen. I don’t think we have one in Canada, at least not that I’m aware of. The only thing remotely close to that is only associated with writing, but it’s not strictly related to freelancing. And since there are so many ways to freelance, a conference devoted entirely to freelancing would be great.

Other things I plan to do in the future? I plan to write a book about my experience as a freelancer. I also plan to really get out there with my screenwriting more and more.

Life is exciting! There is so much potential. Don’t waste it, embrace it!

Now, tell us all about how you stave off freelance burnout, whether that is burnout from the job itself and making ends meet or career burnout. We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Cheers, Karen

 

5 Factors to Consider when Prioritizing Freelance Work

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No freelancer is EVER going to turn down a job…

At least, not unless they have established themselves well enough that they truly have the freedom to pick and choose the projects they want and the clients they want to work with. One of the hard truths about freelancing, especially in the early years, is that you might run out of work. This means you want to take every scrap of it you can get, even if it means having multiple jobs going on at the same time.

Now, I can honestly say that in the 13+ years I have been working as a freelance writer, I have NEVER been without work. That’s awesome, right? But the worry that I would be without work was still always there. These days, it’s rare that I ever have that worry plague me, but the reality is that, as freelancers, we are always going to be juggling multiple clients and jobs.

After all, we have to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads.

I have blogged before about creating a freelance schedule. But what I want to talk about here is a little bit different. Here I want to talk about prioritizing the projects and deadlines you have. I want to get down to the nitty gritty of what job you get done first, second, and so on.

Yes, I realize this might seem self-explanatory, but it’s not really. You see, I don’t necessarily get projects done in the order in which clients hire me to do them. There are a number of factors that play into how I organize what work gets done when.

With that in mind, here are five factors that play into how I prioritize and organize the projects I’m working on…

Client Deadlinenow-1272358_640

The absolute first and most important factor in prioritizing client work is and always must be client deadlines. Your job is to deliver what the client wants when the client wants it. The order in which your clients have hired you is not the deciding factor — it’s when they need to work done.

For example, if a client hires me on Monday for a white paper they need by the following Monday, then another client hires me to write a blog post they need by Thursday, I will do the blog post first. This is assuming I have time to do both.

It’s all about prioritizing the jobs you have to do. So, take your active jobs and a calendar and schedule out the hard deadline for each job. This is the first view into what you need to complete and when.

Size of the Job

Now that you have all your deadlines mapped out on a calendar, map out any major milestones you have set up with your clients. Because if it’s a bigger project, you will probably have milestone deadlines along the way. Make sure you factor these in.

If the job is big, you won’t want to leave it all to the end. Finishing the three other, smaller jobs with tighter deadlines first is great. But if you have’t touched the research or started writing on the big job that had a longer deadline, you have a recipe for stress and potential disaster.

What will Give Me a Win

Once I know what is due and when, what has multiple milestones or is a big enough project that I need to get on it earlier in my schedule, it’s time to let psychology into the picture.

Sometimes, I find I just need a win.

When no one project is particularly pressing, I can dive into one that I can get done and cross off the list quickly. This gives me a feeling of accomplishment and lightens the load. And this is particularly important when I am feeling overwhelmed by all the work I have to do.

Cash Flowmoney-2159310_640

Yes, money factors into the prioritization process. Working on a bigger project and making milestones is important, but you also can’t wait five weeks to bring in some money. So, sometimes, particularly when things are tight, you might have to schedule a project that will bring in some cash quickly.

This often goes hand-in-hand with getting a win, but it can also stand on it’s own. When you have those final deadlines and milestones mapped out and you see that you won’t be getting paid for a few days or weeks, it’s time to find one or two smaller projects that will improve the cash flow quickly.

Downtime

Finally, it’s important to look at downtime. As a freelancer, you will have times when you are busier than others. But you always need some downtime.

I fully admit, I am not great at balancing work and life sometimes. While I try to take weekends off, it doesn’t always work out. And there are times I run into a wall. I simply can’t stare at my screen anymore and I have to slide in a day off to recharge.

Of course, this is the last consideration. If I have a deadline looming, I can’t take that person-3536950_640breather until the work is done. If I need cash yesterday, I can’t take that breather until I know there is money coming in. But when all is relatively calm and running smoothly and I need a day or two, I take it — no matter where I am in the week and what needs to be done.

Handling multiple clients and projects can be challenging, but when you use these factors to prioritize the work, it will ease the pressure and help keep you on track and sane.

If you have any tips or tricks to add with regards to prioritizing client work, give us a shout in the comments section below!

Cheers, Karen

4 Reasons Freelancing Might Not Be For You

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I really hate to break it to you, but…

Freelancing isn’t for everyone

I do believe that most people can work well as a freelancer, but only if their personality and a few other critical factors fall into place. There are some people who simply won’t find freelancing a good fit and there are four primary reasons why .

1. Freelancing Turns Out to Be Too Much Workadult-1850268_640

It is a common misconception that freelancing is an easy way to make a buck while sitting at home in your PJs all day. NO!

If you think this way, get this notion out of your head right now.

Sure, you could sit in your pajamas all day, every day, but you would get bored (and maybe a little ripe). Simply put, after a while the novelty would wear off and you wouldn’t feel terribly professional.

If you are looking for the easy way to make money, then stick to working for someone else. Becoming a freelancer is not for the weak or the undisciplined. It takes hard work to find clients, get the work done well and on time, and keep clients happy.

In fact, while the average American in the private sector works 34.5 hours per week, the average freelancer puts in 46.6 hours per week. More than 40% of freelancers work over 40 hours per week, 25% work more than 50 hours per week, and 7% work more than 60 hours per week. Some of that work is actual paid client work, but a lot of it is related to other aspects of running your freelance business, such as finding clients, marketing, and issuing invoices.

Of course, you have the freedom of working those hours where and when you want, which is one of the biggest reasons we do what we do as freelancers. But remember, no one will be looking over your shoulder to make sure you are getting your work done. No one will be telling you to stay late when the sun is shining outside.

If you can’t handle this on your own, you won’t succeed as a freelancer.

2. You Want Total Stability

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the stability freelancing offers in terms of generating multiple streams of income. This protects you from a faltering economy by ensuring that if one or two clients go under, there are others to fall back on.

But here I am talking about a different type of stability.

Here I am talking about the need for consistency in terms of when that all-too-precious invoice is paid. Freelancing isn’t predictable. Even if you have consistent work, you will not be getting a paycheck every Friday at 5 pm and here’s why:

  • You will have different projects going on at any given time.
  • These projects will have varying start and end dates.
  • The clients will take varying lengths of time to go over the work and provide feedback.
  • Revisions may or may not be needed.
  • The clients will have different policies with regards to issuing payment. Some might pay right away, some might pay at 30 days past the invoice date.

What does this mean?

You might have one week where you bring $200 into your bank account and another week where you bring in $2,000. One month might see $1,500 and the next might pay out $5,000.

The point is, there is no consistency. You have to be okay with that. You have to plan for it so that your cash flow will always be positive and you will never be without money.

If you can’t handle it, freelancing isn’t for you.

3. You Can’t Deal With the Isolation

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Freelancing is a one-person deal.

It will be only you sitting there day in and day out, working on your various projects. Are you OK with this?

I have had many people tell me the toughest thing about freelancing for them is the isolation. Not having anyone to talk to all day, every day. And if you are an extroverted person, this will be even tougher.

Yes, there will be communication with clients at times, but few others if anyone else.

Now, in a past post I have talked about isolation. We all feel it from time to time and there are ways to deal with it. There are different places you can work and some of these are places where you can chat and network with othersBut overall, there is a certain amount of isolation that comes with freelancing.

If you can’t handle it, then freelancing might not be for you.

4. You Aren’t Truly Proficient at What You Do

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Finally—and this is a big one—you need to have the skills to do your job well. I am committed to helping anyone and everyone who truly wants to be a freelancer, but that is assuming that they have the skills to provide the services they want to provide.

For example, if you are a writer and English isn’t your first language, then you better be absolutely certain you are proficient in English. I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen job proposals and profiles written by people who are selling their writing services and clearly cannot write well in English.

The same goes for graphic design, web design, or any other skill set. If you aren’t already incredibly good at what you do, if you haven’t mastered the necessary skills, then you have no business selling your services. And I can’t help you with getting your freelance career off the ground if you can’t do the work—no one can!

Blunt, but Honest

I realize that what I have said in this post is pretty blunt. And it’s meant to be. If you are serious about freelancing, I want you to succeed. I want each and every one of you to establish a great and prosperous freelance career.

But you can’t do that if any of the above are a problem for you.

So, take a good look at why you are freelancing, how you handle these issues, and how well you can provide your service. If you feel confident about all aspects of freelancing or you honestly believe you can improve any of the above reasons why freelancing might not be for you, then you are well on your way to success.

And if you know of any other major roadblocks to succeeding as a freelancer, any other reasons why it might not be a suitable career for a person, please share with us in the comments section below.

Cheers, Karen