Certain professions lend themselves better to freelancing than others but whatever your particular area of expertise, there is a good chance that you could use your knowledge and experience to make a good living from it on your own terms. The key to success as far as freelancing is concerned is organisation: you need to make sure that you plan your move from full-time employment to freelancing meticulously so that you are ready for every challenge you will face. In this article, we are going to look at what some of those challenges are likely to be and how detailed planning will help you to deal with them.
Rising to the Challenges of Freelancing
Before you do anything rash like hand in your notice at your current place of employment, consider the following challenges and make sure that you are ready to face each and every one of them.
- No Income – For the first couple of months, you may well be faced with having to survive on little to no income. There are two ways in which you can make this challenge easier to deal with. Firstly, eliminate any unnecessary costs before you start. Cut down on luxuries so that you only have to pay for the bare necessities during this difficult period. Secondly, save a sum of money that is equal to your outgoings over a 3 to 6-month period: you will find it much easier to focus on your new business, which is how any freelancing endeavour should be treated, if you do not have to worry about where the money to pay the mortgage and the utility bills is going to come from.
- Few Customers – The reason your income will most likely be small to non-existent when you first become a freelancer is because you will not have very many customers. The only way to deal with this challenge is to drum up new business as quickly as possible. Before you actually strike out on your own, make sure that absolutely everybody you know is aware of what you are doing and what you have to offer. While your friends and relatives may seem like an unlikely source of new business, you never know who they might tell and the more people that know about your services the better.
Once you have cut all ties with your current employer and you are ready to take on as much work as possible, it is worth thinking about other ways of promoting yourself to prospective customers. You should already have created a well-designed website to showcase your talents and once you get started in earnest, you can hire a professional SEO company to optimise it for you and develop high quality inbound links. You might also like to consider taking advantage of the outbound marketing services that Message Direct provides to business of all sizes. You may not have the time to market yourself to all the potential customers out there but we have a professional telemarketing team who can do all the hard work for you, at very affordable rates.
- Lack of Self Discipline – One of the biggest challenges that new freelancers face, especially those who have spent their whole life in a corporate office environment, is how to maintain self discipline when working at home. With so many distractions and nobody to tell you what to do, procrastination can become a real problem. You may find yourself watching television, chatting to friends on social media sites, raiding the fridge: basically doing anything to put off the moment that you actually get down to work. This is a challenge that you must be ready to meet or your freelance career will be over before it has even begun.
Many people find it easier to motivate themselves if they stick to regular office hours. Make a habit of starting work at 08.30 every morning and try to do something productive before you stop for a coffee. Once you get into the habit, you will find it much easier to maintain the momentum that you have established. Make sure that friends and family know you are working from home and will not welcome interruptions: if you allow people to drop by and disrupt your work from day one, you will find it difficult to convince them to stop.
- Larger Competitors – Another major challenge that most freelancers face during their early days is that of how to compete with much larger organisations, companies that can afford to offer the same services for less money, due to economies of scale. The most effective way to deal with this particular challenge is to offer a more personalised service, tailored to meet the needs of individual customers and to fit in with the way they like to work. You should also try to specialise in a particular area, to accumulate knowledge that will be of use to companies in one market sector. While this may appear to limit the potential pool of customers to whom you can market your skills, it will enable you to offer this smaller subset a level of service they cannot obtain from larger competitors. In time, you can expand your field of operations to include other market sectors and so broaden your client base.
These are the biggest challenges that you will face in the first few months of working as a freelancer; there will be many more challenges as time goes by, but you can decide how to deal with these once you have started to generate a reasonable income and have established that you can actually make a decent living by working alone. If you would like to discuss our outbound marketing services or how to arrange for your inbound calls to be answered by a professional receptionist when you are away from your desk, we are ready whenever you are. We have helped many freelancers and new businesses to get started and would be happy to provide you with the support that you need.