It’s amazing how many times freelancers hear the words, “I wish I could be as brave as you and quit my job”. It would be a lie to say that there weren’t any risks in deciding to become a freelancer, but it’s far easier than some people think. If you have a marketable skill that companies want, you can often make more money as a contractor than you would in your full-time job.
The Burn Out
Find your pace. It’s tempting to take on every job offer that is thrown your way, but you are a human being and you can only handle so much work. Although you may want to take on a little more than usual to begin with, to secure work channels, be realistic with your deadlines. If you burn out, there is no safety net to catch you. It’s better to take things steady.
As you are effectively your own company now, you need to consider your business’ risk management. Although it is sometimes worth seeking out professional help, depending on your business, there are some useful resources online that can help you with your risk management. Find out some useful guidelines to get started here.
Once a certain amount of work comes through, you may start to feel safe with one or two clients. Always make sure that you have work coming from multiple sources, however, as you never know when the well is going to dry up. It’s better to have too much work and decline what you don’t have time for, than twiddle your thumbs for a week, with only one day’s worth of work in the pipeline.
This one will really get to you. Not because you are work shy, but because you think you will be fine to complete half of your day’s work in the evening. By the time the night comes around, you will probably have had a few too many glasses of wine, and you won’t feel like it any more. It’s best to get everything done during the day, while you still have momentum behind you. Here’s some further advice on avoiding the procrastination bug.
A lack of confidence in your abilities could lead to you offering to complete work for outrageously low prices. Don’t undersell yourself, or you will be working extremely hard and will struggle to pay the bills. You have to factor in email exchanges and all of that extra admin work that you need to do to keep your finances in check. It all adds up.
Choosing Your Clients
Not every client is worth working with, and you may find yourself in a position where you worked extremely hard, and your client refuses to pay. After some time, you will start to anticipate a bad client before they walk through the door, but you can’t always spot them. If anyone is rude to you in the early stages, you may want to consider severing ties then and there. Often, it’s not worth the hassle.