As basically anyone who has ever worked independently before will tell you, being a freelancer can be a very tough gig. It is certainly not for everyone, as there are many things to contend with. Though this may be true for almost any job, when it comes to freelancing, you’re literally on your own. Therefore, you are the only one who is looking out for #1.
In addition, it is now an even more competitive market than it once was due to the economy and the continuing shortage of full-time jobs. Plus, throw in the ease of working online, and you’ve got even more competition from all around the world.
This means that many freelancers are not just competing locally anymore, which can often lead to having to settle for lower rates. On top of that, you’ll encounter clients who don’t pay, even after the job has been competently completed! Whether it’s because they don’t want to or they can’t financially, this happens!
Yes, there are some real freelancing horror stories, which we’ll be going over in another article. But for now, here are some of the things that freelance workers have to deal with on a regular basis in today’s web based world.
Constantly Working and Worrying
When trying to make it as a freelancer, you must work many long hours, especially when you’re just starting out. Also, you constantly have to worry about where your next job is coming from. Finding and landing new clients can be quite difficult. Unfortunately, once you’ve finally done that, your worries aren’t over. This is because freelancers are in a position where payment is not always guaranteed, or if it is, then they’re often the last one to get paid.
Setting Rates and Negotiating
One of the first things you need to do as a freelancer is set your rates. Before accepting and beginning a job for a client, it is crucial to take of all of the details into consideration prior to providing a price. This is often done in the form of a proposal. Once accepted, it is either signed as is or it may be elaborated on in a more formal contract.
When bidding jobs, you can either use an itemized set price list of the services you offer, or you can choose to work at an hourly rate. It doesn’t have to strictly be one or the other, as you can change it to whatever works best for each project. Some clients will request a flat rate. This is not uncommon, but it can be difficult to determine a fair dollar amount upfront sometimes on a larger project. Of course this includes coming up with and agreeing to a rate, which is where negotiating comes into play.
Another part of being a freelancer that can be stressful is meeting deadlines. This can be difficult as you’re often working for more than one client at once. Trying to please a lot of people at that same time can be touchy business. Plus, you must also maintain quality. Therefore, you have to also be a master of time maintenance as well.
Not Getting Paid
Even if you go above and beyond on every project you undertake, it’s likely there will eventually be a client that is still unhappy. So, you also have to worry about whether or not you’re actually going to be paid by your clients. This can happen even if you know them and have worked with them in the past on other projects. There is typically not much that can be done when a freelancer gets stiffed, unless they are properly protected with a legally enforceable and signed contract proposal.
In addition to all of the above, another issue that freelancers must deal with from time to time is miscommunication. This can turn any perfectly planned project into a mess and a waste of time for everyone. There is potential for this because a freelancer is often not even in the same country as the client. Although the blame can often be placed on the client when this occurs, remember the old adage that ‘the customer is always right’, and besides, who are you going to complain to anyways?
Whether you’ve experienced it firsthand or not, now you know that freelancing definitely isn’t for the faint of heart, or those who are easily discouraged. Although, with cons, there will always be pros. These include setting your own hours, job variety, and often the freedom to work from virtually anywhere via your computer.
In addition to being skilled at the particular service you provide as a freelancer, it’s clear you must also be adept at other things. Yet, when you’re better prepared for every possibility, you might have a much better chance for being successful. Just like almost anything else worthwhile, it takes a lot of time and effort to make it work!