Freelancing appears to be the solution to most of the modern work problems. If, as a new mother, you’re concerned about getting back to work and finding the suitable childcare for your baby, a freelance career offers an effective alternative to the typical 9-to-5 day job. Similarly, if you are sick of working for someone else and you want to become your own boss, freelancing is also the answer to your problems. If may be beneficial to find out the answer to the question, what is solopreneurship, and you may find that this could be the route for you! Not everyone is cut out to work for someone else, but it doesn’t mean that there isn’t another option. It’s because the media have painted freelancing as a liberating, easy and profitable experience that more and more professionals are tempted by such a career. There are over 57 million freelancers in the U.S. only, which means that over one-third of the American workforce is freelancing at a part-time or full-time basis. Some even start freelancing as a side hustle. However, only 29% of freelancers admit that their solo business is their main source of income.
To put the figure into perspective, it means that for 71% of individuals, freelancing is not a profitable and reliable career. While it still drives revenue, it’s not enough for them to make a living. Stress, lack of revenue, lack of work, and lack of security are the main complaints about those who haven’t yet managed to use their business as their sole income. But there is another side to the story. Failing to develop your freelancing career can be explained by a series of bad habits and ethics that affect your work performance and profitability.
You don’t take it seriously
It’s fair to say that most freelancers tend to work from home. Renting out premises is not the kind of expenses that they can consider at the beginning of their independent journey. Don’t be fooled into believing that you can’t make it happen unless you have your own office in town. You don’t need a city office to work in. But what you need is a workplace that is set up to support your performance every day. In other words, you can’t just sit on the sofa with the laptop on the coffee table and hope that you can finish an important job while catching up with your favorite TV show. You need to create a home office in which you can focus on your work without distraction. Many freelancers claim they don’t have a spare bedroom they can turn into a cozy workplace, and therefore spend their working hours on the sofa or lying in bed with the laptop on their stomach. In truth, you can turn the tiniest of spaces into a home office, such as using an empty closet or even a small nook in the living room to add a wall-mounted table and a chair. But as you dedicate an area at home to your career, you’re more likely to see positive results.
You haven’t established your online presence
So, you’ve become a freelancer. But who knows about your services? How can potential clients find you? If you’ve been relying on words of mouth or even minor changes on your LinkedIn profile, you might be disappointed by the absence of result. It is difficult to go prospecting and looking for clients when you’re new on the market. But you can build an effective online presence by adapting the blogging basics 101 to target your audience. As a freelancer, you need a website to promote your expertise and showcase your portfolio. Your blog serves as a marketing tool that keeps your services relevant. Indeed, you can post articles regularly to discuss the latest trends in your fields, keep your audience informed or express an opinion about your sector.
You’re still experimenting with your rates
Did you know that the majority of freelancers don’t know how to calculate their hourly rates? Indeed, many newcomers to the freelancing world rely on platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork to define their charges. As a result, they are likely to undercharge their clients, sometimes billing up to 85% below the value of their work. Needless to say, if you have a ton of clients and you’re still not making any money, you might need to review your rates. You need to identify your target annual income, using your lifestyle and expenses as a base. Then, you can also add the cost of running your freelancing business and your time investment – make sure to count vacation, sick days and weekend. This should give you an idea of your hourly rate. In addition to this, new freelancers do not have proper management software set up for there business, so instead of using professional invoice templates, they tend to use excel, forgetting to put due dates on their invoices, and not chasing up payments.
You say yes to your friends
There’s nothing wrong with helping a friend, but when you give your time and expertise for free, you are at risk of finding yourself out of pocket. Ultimately, working for free is never an ideal solution, and while friendship matters, putting food on your plate at the end of the day does too. It can be tricky to turn down friends who ask for your help, but you need to be honest with them. You are running a tight business, and you can’t afford to spend unpaid time to assist. As uncomfortable as the discussion might feel, it’s essential to establish clear boundaries and not let anybody take advantage of your skills.
You don’t have a productive schedule
The regular office hours are 9 AM to 5 PM. However, nobody forces you to stick to office hours when you’re your own boss. You can experiment to find out your most productive hours during the day – or even at night. This will make sure that you can be at your most productive when you sit at the desk. In the long term, it means you can work quicker and better, saving you tons of time and money.
You don’t network
Freelancers don’t have to remain isolated. You can and should build a network, including your competitors – there is plenty of room for everyone. You never know when you’re going to meet someone with complementary skills or business ideas to let you target a wider range of customers. Where to start your networking journey? Try a co-working space or even industry events.