4 Freelancer Problems And How To Solve Them
Being a freelancer is something that many people dream of. Being able to work your own hours, choose the work you do, having a good work-life balance, and make money all combine to make this idea a good one. However, being a freelancer isn’t always easy, and it won’t suit everyone. Here are some of the problems that freelancers will face, as well as some interesting and useful ideas on how to solve them, so that you can see if you’re ready to take the plunge.
There will be times when you have more work than you can handle, and other times when there is barely anything coming in at all. Both of these situations are worrying – the former because you can easily feel overwhelmed and stressed, and you become less productive and the work you do produce can be of a lower quality, and the latter because if you aren’t working, there is no money coming in.
To combat these problems, you will need to learn to say no. If you already have a completely full schedule, then adding to it because you don’t want to let anyone down or because you want to bring in as much money as possible is not going to help – it will affect you mentally, and could even jeopardize your reputation too. If you have a full schedule and you aren’t making enough money, then you are going to need to raise your prices; this is another important element to check out.
Working on a retainer basis is a great idea if you can negotiate it. That way, even if there is no work to do, you can rely on a payment. Alternatively, make sure that you put money aside for these quieter periods, and use your time to market yourself. You might even come up with a new strategy that works better.
Working Long Hours
For many, the idea of going freelance is to give yourself more free time and only work when you want to. Although that can very easily be possible at some stage, right at the start it is unlikely to happen – you need to establish yourself first. Once you are more in demand and can charge more money, you can work a lot less. In the beginning, you may find that you are working longer and harder than you did when you were in employment, and this can be disheartening.
There are a number of ways to combat this. You can take on less work and charge more for it, although this is more likely to be something that you do later on in your freelance career. You could outsource some of the work to another freelancer on a subcontract basis. You pay them, your client pays you, and your profit is the difference. Another option is to manage your client’s expectations right from the start; make sure that their deadlines are going to fit in with your workload and will give you enough free time as well. If not, you will need to negotiate.
When you are working for someone else, they will deal with your taxes and benefits. They will have the job of dealing with paperwork and admin, and you can simply do your own job and leave at the end of the day. When you are a freelancer, you will find that you spend a lot of time performing admin tasks such as emailing, managing projects, sending invoices, dealing with tax returns, balancing the bank account, logging receipts, organizing insurance, and more. That’s not particularly fun, and even if you do enjoy it, it is taking your time away from the real business at hand.
In order to combat this problem, there are project management tools that can be used that will help to keep you on track and ensure that you are allocating enough time to your work. Another idea is to outsource your admin to a virtual PA service. The prices for these services will vary and might be out of your budget, to begin with, but they are something to bear in mind as your business grows and your admin tasks become bigger and take more time.
When you are a freelancer, you won’t have the security of a regular monthly salary, unless you only work on a retainer basis, which is a difficult (but not impossible) thing to achieve. When a client pays you late, this will have a serious effect on your ability to pay your own bills and can cause financial problems which are stressful. Freelancer payment issues are perhaps the biggest stress of all. So how can this problem be solved?
Be honest with your client and explain how any delay with their payment affects your own life and ability to run your business. Not everyone will want to try this approach, and it can seem unprofessional, but appealing to someone as a person can sometimes help to make them pay a little faster. Remember, you’re not asking for early payment, you just don’t want it to be late, and if you did the work and they were happy with it, there is no reason why payment shouldn’t be forthcoming.
You can also set up reminder emails if you have the right invoicing software. This will automatically send out an email to a client if they haven’t paid by a certain date. A lot of the time the client isn’t being difficult or mean; they simply forgot.
Having a contract between you and each client is another good idea. This will set out the payment terms expected and ensure that everyone knows where they stand. If payment doesn’t come, you have a legal piece of paper to use in the courts if it comes to it.
Finally, check your bank account regularly – daily if you can. The last thing you want to do is to keep on at your client for payment when they have, in fact, paid. This is embarrassing and might result in no more work from them in the future.
With ample experience in content writing and research analysis, I believe that they are ‘One Single Unit’. I enjoy bringing them both together in order to give a fine definition, meaning to the content created. I enjoy writing articles, website content, social media content, email templates, press releases, white papers, news articles etc.
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