Living the freelance life can be quite the roller coaster ride. The freedom and the flexibility of it, among other things, can bring great highs, but like everything else, it also has its lows. All freelancers encounter issues one way or the other, from worrying about compensation, to dealing with different schedules. Here are some common freelancer problems and what you can do to solve them.
Dilemma: Getting Paid
One of the top problems freelancers face is getting paid. Since a lot of freelance jobs are paid per project, you can be vulnerable to shady characters. There is always the worry of the employer disappearing without paying after all the work has been completed, or that you won’t get the compensation that was initially agreed upon.
Fix: Upfront Payments
Requesting upfront payments will help you get some peace of mind. Getting compensation after every phase of the project instead of one big amount after it’s over offers security. You’ll feel confident about being compensated, while your employers are assured that you will uphold your end of the bargain.
Freelancer.com's Milestone Payments does just that. It sets aside funds for payment that can be staggered depending on the project schedule or objectives met. Employers can set goals and pay in increments after every achievement. Freelancers can take advantage of Proposed Milestones, which allows the proposal of a task breakdown with corresponding amounts for every goal reached. These features will let you know what kind of pay you can expect, and when you can expect it.
Dilemma: Time Management
Since freelancing means freedom from clock-watching and rigid schedules, it’s easy to lose track of time. You can be overly productive one day and be extremely lazy the next.
Fix: Setting a Personal Schedule
As a freelancer, you don’t have to adhere to a set schedule, but it would be helpful if you had one. Having a routine to follow everyday will do wonders for your productivity. Pin down a time for work and for play, and you’ll have no trouble reaching your project goals.
Be mindful of overworking, and make yourself aware of the times when you forget to eat or sleep. There will also be times when you just want to watch TV all day or go out all night. A schedule should sort that out and keep your work-life balance intact.
Have you ever experienced having tons of work for a month and then absolutely nothing the week after? In the freelancing world, that’s what’s called a “feast-starve cycle.” Since freelance jobs aren’t permanent, you run the risk of running out of work.
Fix: Hard Work and Self-marketing
To keep the flow of jobs going, you have to make the effort to stay on top of things. Always striving to do a great job with each project hat comes along will keep your clients happy and build up your reputation. This will open you up to referrals and collaborations.
When jobs are scarce, don’t get stuck in a bidding rut. Market yourself. Be active on social media, create a website and portfolio, and talk to people in your network. It’s important to get the word out and showcase what you can do. Jobs won’t magically fall out of the sky. You have to work to find them.
Dilemma: Working with Time Zones
Working in today’s global economy means having to collaborate with people from different countries. Clients can come from other time zones, which can be a huge challenge to keep up with.
Fix: Adjustment to Client Hours
Being a freelancer translates to being flexible. Clients will give you plus points when you try to work with their time zones. You don’t have to do the night shift just because your clients are on the other side of world. Even just making yourself available for meetings during their time will be greatly appreciated.
Dilemma: Staying Motivated
It takes courage and determination to make it in freelancing. As with any profession – even 9 to 5 jobs – there will be tough moments when you may battle loneliness, financial worry, client problems, and the like. Life can throw a curve ball at any moment and you should be prepared.
Fix: Just Keep Going
If you work hard, you’ll eventually hit your stride. Think of all the reasons why you work. Use that motivation to power through the lean days and be thankful for the good ones. You can work anywhere, at any time. Enjoy it.