There are two sides to freelancing. While there are plenty of successful freelancers clearing six figures or more, there are even more whose career has been a stagnant struggle to find work.
What separates the high earners from those living month-to-month, gradually losing hope?
If you’ve spent any time freelancing or talking to someone who freelances, you know the practice comes with a number of annoyances. Successful freelancers can overcome the biggest and most common headaches in the industry.
Here, we will go through five of the biggest annoyances you’ll encounter as a freelancer, along with some ways to overcome them.
- Uncertainty of when or where your next job will come from
Probably the most common problem freelancers face is that they don’t know when or where they’ll get their next job.
A 2019 study found that word-of-mouth marketing was the number one reported source of new business for independent workers.
The problem lies in the unpredictability of word of mouth, which can leave freelancers uncertain about when or how their net job will come.
The answer to any anxiety you may feel about securing your next job is simple: be proactive. Successful freelancers don’t just sit back and wait for jobs to come to them. They go out and get them.
Construct a sales process you can regularly use to reach out to prospective clients. For more exposure and higher conversions, optimize your gig.
2. Fighting against the feast or famine revenue cycle
Related closely to the uncertainty of knowing where work is coming from is the ever-present issue of the feast or famine cycle.
To sum it up, the feast or famine cycle. You have your months where there is plenty of work, and you’re comfortable. Then, you have your months where you can’t seem to find any work, and you consider getting a traditional job to make ends meet.
The fix to the feast or famine cycle all boils down to discipline. What’s the answer? Always be selling.
Sell yourself constantly. Even if you have a lot on your plate, you should be selling your services to others. Never stop putting yourself out there.
Don’t make the mistake of resting on your laurels when things are going well. Stop worrying about sales, and you’ll be setting yourself up for a famine period.
3. Burnout and work fatigue can be a struggle.
For anyone who’s tried to grow a business, especially freelancers who are building something, burnout and fatigue are very real.
It’s often easy to put blinders on and convince everyone (especially yourself) that keeping your business afloat is the most critical thing in the world.
Alas, that comes at the cost of personal burnout, work fatigue and damaged external relationships.
The problem with feeling burned out is if it were just a matter of slowing down and doing less, no one would be burned out.
Whether you’re going at it all by yourself or you’re trying to build an agency, there may be many things to handle. Most of the time, it may feel like the entire business hangs on what you can accomplish in a single day.
You’re not alone.
The best solution is to automate as much as possible and hire outside help. Start by using technology to automate the things you don’t have to do yourself. If there are still too many tasks to handle by yourself with automation, consider hiring another freelancer to help.
4. Clients that don’t pay
One of the biggest annoyances as a freelancer is getting stiffed by clients.
When a client doesn’t pay, it can be wildly discouraging. Your livelihood depends on getting paid when you complete every project or hit a milestone. That won’t stop some clients from delaying your payment or avoiding payment altogether.
Sadly, there aren’t many solutions for getting paid what you’re worth and on time.
There can be a few reasons your client doesn’t pay:
- They aren’t the one processing the invoice.
- They don’t have the money to pay at the moment.
- They constantly forget to pay the invoice.
- They never saw the invoice
- Either they didn’t understand the terms of the invoice (or you didn’t)
- They’re intentionally ignoring you.
You’ll never have this issue working with Afriblocks because all payments are taken upfront. You and your client will be protected through our platform.
You can also use software like AND.CO to automate follow-up emails on unpaid invoices.
5. Feeling lonely or isolated
Lastly, it’s common for freelancers to feel somewhat lonely in their journey. Some may feel it on a small level, while others can be debilitated by it.
It is entirely understandable to feel lonely if you’re working alone most of the time. This can be especially true if you’re emailing and calling clients instead of meeting face-to-face.
There are a few ways to address feeling an overwhelming sense of loneliness.
Consider joining a co-working space where other entrepreneurs and small business owners physically come into the office and interact with people. This is a great way to make new friends, network and build a book of business.
You can also join one of the freelancer communities out there for people on the same mission as you.