If you’ve been freelancing for a while, you’re very likely to have seen a lot of challenges along the way. In this article we’ll have a look at some of the most common struggles and give some tips on how you can deal with these in a better way. This article is meant as help for those that need a little boost in their situation and to prevent this from becoming problems for new freelancers.
Is being a freelancer worth it?
When we’re referring to challenges and struggles you may be asking yourself if it’s worth it to keep going. Most of the time the answer is yes. If you have an open mind and are prepared to work hard to get your routines cleaned up, you have the potential to make freelancing work very well for you. If you’re not open to changes and are in this to work as little as possible for a huge income, you’re in the wrong place.
Now let’s have a look at the challenges and how they can be dealt with.
1. Long work hours
Image by Benjamin Earwicker
Dealing with long work hours over time will be challenging to any person, especially if you’re a designer that is expected to come up with new creative results all of the time. After a while most of us will meet the wall and when you get to that point it can be really hard to get back on track. The best way to deal with this is to take charge of the situation before you’re all burned out. Go through your schedules and evaluate what you’ve done recently. Your long work hours are likely to be result of either you taking on too much work or bad efficiency. Once you see which one it is you can start working on that specific problem. Basically you’ll need to take on less work or have a look at how you can become more efficient.
2. Problems meeting deadlines
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If you often tend to work 24/7 the last days before a deadline or just in general find it hard to get things done in time, you’re in trouble. This will affect how you’re feeling, your time off and the relationship to clients. You’ll need to have a look at why you’re having this problem. The most common reasons are again efficiency or just the fact that you keep setting too optimistic deadlines. Make sure to always set deadlines that are realistic. An extra day or two is always smart to put in there in case anything unexpected comes up. This could be anything from you getting sick, clients wanting additional work done or last minute changes. Always give yourself some extra room in the plans and both you and your clients will be happier.
3. Unstable creativity
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If you’ve gone from working 9-5 at any other job, you may struggle a bit when you’re supposed to start working with only your speciality all day long. This can lead you into a period of ups and downs when it comes to creativity. This is completely normal, but there are several things you can do to make this work for you. A whole article could be written on how to boost your creativity, but we’ll look at a few simple things. Make sure you have enough time off, that’s when you recharge your batteries. Read up on articles related to what you do to get new ideas and inspiration. Remember to spend time doing things you love that are not related to work. Look for more variety in the projects you’re accepting. There are many more things you can do, but if you keep an open mind, these tips can be very helpful.
4. Bad efficiency
Image by Piotr Bizior
We’ve already mentioned this as it can be the cause of several challenges. Your efficiency itself can be a challenge. Dealing with it depends on where it fails. Some general tips would be to plan your days in a realistic way, leaving out all personal business, making sure to not check social media and do too much “non-productive” work. The best way to fix your efficiency is simply to log a couple of days and evaluate them. You’ll quickly see where the problems are to be found. Maybe you’re doing too much at once, planning badly or letting other distractions ruin it for you?
5. Marketing your business properly
Image by Sachin Ghodke
Especially when you’re starting up it can be hard to figure out how to get the time and money to market yourself well enough to get enough clients. Many struggle with this and there are freelancers going out of business before they even get started. Planning well ahead is important along with understanding that it takes time. Use the contacts you may have, do as much as possible yourself and put your best work into everything. And when you get your projects, have them become great marketing for you by showing great work and word of mouth can help you in getting forward.