I’m a freelancer. I’ve worked with freelancers. I know how hard it is to get yourself out there and really be successful. What I also know is frequently we set the biggest obstacles for ourselves. And the “Know Thy Enemy” principle works here.
Lack of Discipline
Well, yeah, that’s pretty obvious, right? However, this “disease” still affects tons of writers on a daily basis. (Including me. Well, occasionally , I guess.) People commit to tasks and then… the Internet connection fails, sudden trips appear out of nowhere, floods ruthlessly attack towns, destroying even the slightest opportunity to get things done… this list may last for a while, depending on one’s creativity.
As usual, there’s no universal remedy to actually make yourself get things done. The recipe I’ve invented is simple (and, hopefully, genius): when the laziness shake starts to sneak into my perfectly organized plan of making thins happen, I reconsider all the benefits of the way I’ve chosen to work. I think of all the reasons that made me stick to my career choices and keep moving as a freelancer. All in all, I’ve always wanted to be the boss of my own. So why not become a really good one?
Skipping the Networking Part
Freelancers don’t have colleagues to talk to. Nevertheless, networking never gets off the table. “Having the guy” to recommend you to someone or offer a lucrative gig, being able to land a guest post, that would boost your authority and help build strong online community – these are on-the-surface examples of all the benefits networking can give you.
The truth is that being self-employed, home-based worker sometimes means getting lost in the ocean of opportunities, where one could network with basically all the world at the same time. The crucial thing here is to narrow your focus to see the most important communities or events one could participate. Either you define yourself as a savvy content marketer or a crafty DIY practitioner there probably is a group of people to share your interests within a couple of miles. Keeping track of the interesting events around you is not only useful but also fun. So try to be a “Yes”-person for a while and open your mind for new people and exciting experiences.
Ditching the Right Tools
I used to think I was perfectly capable of handling my schedule, finances and all the other activities on my own. And boy oh boy, could I be more wrong.
There’s a great deal of tools to choose from, when it comes to boosting your personal efficiency. I’ve developed a list of the ones that work for me.
Trello. People have talked about it million times already, however, it’s awesome enough to mention it once again. The ultimate “to do” list. The perfect way to keep track of ideas, no matter whether you work on your own or with a team. It’s incredibly easy to use and ridiculously efficient.
RescueTime. This one analyses the time you spend on different sites, evaluates your productivity and demonstrates the progress with your tasks. It might seem to be a bitter medicine at first, however, it does miracles to your work once you get used to it.
Mint. Personal finance management is certainly a vital skill. Mint helps truly master it. Setting the budget, tracking income and expenses, analysing transactions – the tool can do it all.
ZenWriter. This is one of my personal favorites. No distractions. Only you and the piece you’ve been working on. It turns writing into a meditative activity, where you can focus on your ideas to the fullest extent.
Selling Yourself Too Cheap
That is an easy trap to fall into, especially if you’re just starting out.You need that experience, you have to build a reputation of a professional and reliable worker, yet no one wants to try you out. So you’re setting a really low rate and get ready to grab on anything you can get. I get that. We all have to eat.
The struggle is clear. However, there’s a rule of thumb that works here. Try to add as many interesting, challenging projects to your portfolio as you can. Look for the gigs that will make you truly proud of yourself. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Nevertheless, the result is worth it.
Keeping Your Vision Blurred
What I mean by that is failing to discuss every little detail with all the participants of the project you work on. Things may seem very clear at first. However, when you get to the first milestone, things might get a bit tricky. “Oh, you’re referring to the wrong resources. Oh, that structure doesn’t really work for our content strategy. Oh, we want it in different color. Oh, it’s not quite what we had in mind.” That is not only frustrating. It’s an easy path to losing the contract you’ve been working so hard for.
Of course, there will always be people, who change their minds in the very last minutes. You’ll certainly meet the clients, that don’t know what they want, yet not something you’ve done. The solution I’ve found here is to discuss every little thing at the initial stage of the project. I believe in paying more effort to the start in order to finish it all smoothly.
Well, that’s what I’ve got. Hope it helps you make the most of your freelancing career!