No matter how long you’ve been freelancing, there will be waves of uncertainty about your decision to leave the so-called “security” of working for someone else. If you focus on cultivating a strong network of colleagues and clients, you’ll find those waves will be followed by a flurry of new opportunities and rewarding assignments. Yet during those waves of uncertainty, it’s easy to get caught up in negative thinking that you’ll never find another client. This feeling is often driven by fear of the unknown. When it happens, remember these five truths about freelancing.
You don't need a lot of clients to build a successful business
You only need a few solid clients that recognize your value. When you follow a retainer business model, you can become an extension of the client’s team. The more you learn about the client’s business, the more valuable your services become. This turns out to be profitable for you and the client. And it’s these types of clients that tend to hold on to their freelancers for years.
There's always another opportunity
While successful freelancers appreciate every client and opportunity in front of them, they never lose sight of the fact that there will always be another opportunity. The demand for communications pros is strong enough to create an unlimited amount of opportunities for talented and experienced freelancers.
There's a reason you were excited about taking this path
Maybe you were drawn to the flexibility or you like being your own boss, or maybe you found yourself without a job and decided to freelance. At some point, you were excited about this path. Think back to the thrills of winning new business and remember the excitement of cashing that first freelancer check. Freelancing, like any job, has its highs and lows. If you’re feeling uncertain, the key is knowing if it’s a cycle that will pass relatively quickly or if freelancing really is for you.
Your skills are in demand
There will always be a need for communications and marketing pros that can understand a client’s business, products and services and turn them into interesting stories that generate buyer demand. It’s easy to lose sight of this, especially when you’re primarily working alone or feeling challenged by trying to find new business. It’s not easy to put yourself out there, but the rewards of freelancing can be greater than any work experience you’ve ever known. Also, don’t forget that you have colleagues and a network of freelancers that have been in the exact same place as you and are eager to help by sharing their experiences.
It allows you to take time for yourself
If you’re a full-time freelancer, you know self-employment is not a 9 to 5 job. While it can be rewarding and lucrative, it’s easy to forget to take time for yourself. Flexibility is one of the best perks of self-employment, so take advantage of it. Otherwise, you risk burnout and feeling unsatisfied at work. You’ll likely consider the idea of going back to a corporate or agency position, but if you willingly joined the ranks of the self-employed, the grass might not be greener.
If you’re still feeling uncertain about freelancing, take a step back and stop thinking about it. Go for a walk or a run or do anything but focus on it. Then, when you’re ready, think through all possible career scenarios. Just make sure decisions about your future path are based on a big picture view and not just a few bad days or one negative client experience.
Subscribers can read, “The Complete Guide to Finding Freelance Work…Without Looking Desperate.”