On the face of it, freelancing is the perfect way to make a living. It offers the autonomy and freedom that those living the cubicle life can only dream of. It enables hardworking, skilled and talented people the opportunity to making a living doing what they love on their own terms. To find their own path to success and create opportunities for themselves rather than waiting for crumbs to fall from the corporate table.
Freelancers typically enjoy the freedom to create their own working hours, liberation from the tedium of commuting, no boss looking over their shoulder, and no limitations on their earnings and potential for professional growth. It’s easy to see why so many people eschew the traditional career path for the way of the freelancer… but then the pandemic hit and changed everything.
Many freelancers found themselves in freefall. Some of their clients were forced to suspend or reduce their orders. Others were forced to go out of business. Freelancers suddenly felt as though the rug had been yanked out from under them. Many still haven’t recovered and may feel as though they’re banging their heads against the wall trying to keep themselves in business. If you’re experiencing freelancer frustrations, here are some tips to overcome them…
Apply for government support while you still can
There are many reasons why freelancers may not have applied for the government support to which they’re entitled. Some may be averse to the idea of government handouts and feel that they detract from their self-sufficiency. Others worry that if they apply they might take funds away from others who need them more desperately. Some may worry that they might have to give back funds later after their government retroactively decides that they’re no longer entitled to them.
But despite these anxieties, it’s important to remember that this government support is for you. And if you hesitate too long, you may miss the cut-off point and no longer be able to apply.
Don’t assume you can’t network
Networking is an important aspect of being a freelancer. Furthermore, it’s a skill that needs to be developed and honed if you expect to maintain a steady flow of work from new clients. With the right business networking tips, freelancers can gain access to prestigious, higher-paying clients who can help take their career to the next level. The realities of the pandemic may have thrown a wrench in the work for your networking calendar. But don’t assume that there are no virtual or social distanced networking opportunities in your area. These can be a great way to meet people, get your name and face out there, and make the contacts that could one day translate into lucrative work.
Be wary of taking on any job without thinking first
The feeling of panic that many freelancers have experienced in recent months is completely understandable. However, in your fervour to attract new clients, don’t the mistake of blindly accepting the first piece of work you’re offered. Some less than scrupulous businesses may take this opportunity to try and secure A-list services at C-list prices. Accepting work without doing your due diligence on prospective clients or thinking about whether it’s worth the time and effort could set a dangerous precedent.
Before you know it, you could find yourself working unreasonably long hours trying to appease clients who will never pay you what you’re worth. And that’s enough to place you on the fast-track to burning out.
Embrace the upside of the situation (and there is one, honestly!)
It’s easy to see the current situation as apocalyptic. If you’ve lost clients and work, it may feel as though your professional world is falling apart. But as hard as it may be to see right now, there are upsides to this situation. Your prospective clients are experiencing the same frustration and uncertainty that you are. And if you can position yourself as the solution to their problem, you will be able to earn their trust and their long-term custom.
There’s every opportunity to develop relationships that are even closer and more lucrative than the ones you enjoyed with your former clients.
Learn to go easy on yourself if you’re not firing on all cylinders
Finally, if you’re finding it hard to be at the top of your game professionally, or remain at peak productivity every day, don’t get into the habit of beating yourself up about it. You need to be able to accept your limitations in the current climate and know when to take time to look after yourself. If you don’t, the quality of your work will be worse for it.