Freelancing is becoming a popular business model that is highly rewarding for anyone with services to render and skills to market. It is a great way to increase your current income or totally replace it. It requires little capital, you can market a service you enjoy and it gives you the pleasure of working around your current commitment. Freelancing is not as easy as some people think. Like any profession, there are both encouraging and depressing aspects in freelancing. Although the results can be worthwhile, there are some inherent challenges you should get ready to face.
Here are some of the challenges new and existing consultants experienced on daily basis:
Long Working Hours
Freelancers are often faced with situations where they have to work beyond their set working hours in order to meet up with a deadline. Every customer believes that his or her project is at the top of your priority. At times your body is in overdrive and you still have to work. Most times, it’s simply because you bit off more than you could chew. Therefore take on less work.
Orientation about money management is important for a freelancer. There can be a recurring cash flow battle of ‘Income, Then None’. This means one month you might have lots of work then almost nothing in the next month. To keep your freelancing business going in the low-income months, make sure that the inflow of your income is more than outflow of your spending. Try as much as possible to keep enough cash for times when business might be slower than usual. Managing income judiciously is vital in for a freelancing career.
To find a freelancer who hasn’t encountered some sort of client payment delays is rare. Customers are expected to pay you for services rendered; sometimes they are unable to pay you on time. Plan ahead for this! It is better to be honest with your client and explain how payment delays affect you and your business finances, this can help you speed up the process of getting your payment. Have a specific billing agreement that determines charges to be added to the late payment. Also, implement a strategy to recover any unpaid fees.
Technology and Resources
Without a doubt, we live in a digital age. It’s important to be aware of developments; understanding and becoming conversant with, and taking advantage of newest technology and equipment for your benefit. Advanced technology is a great asset to your consulting business. What was relevant last year may not be relevant now. Been adaptive and flexible is a necessity. Therefore find time to keep abreast of the challenges of changing hardware and software (technology).
In any job, distractions can be a real hindrance as it brings about less productivity. Freelancers are often posed with this threat because of the flexibility of their work environment. Distractions may come in any form depending on your work environment. If you work from home, it may be your personal chores distracting you. If things at home are distracting you then may consider renting a desk or office. Try to turn off things that distract you during work hours this will make you less distracted and more productive.
Operating with Different Time Zones
As a freelance consultant, you will be meeting new people from diverse backgrounds and experience lot of things along with new work customs. It is tough working with different time zones for different clients and at the same time considering strict deadlines. You will have to improve your efficiency to deliver the job within the specified period taking into account the differences in client’s time zone.
Very Few Clients or Gigs
This is one of the toughest yet the most inevitable challenge that freelancers face from time to time. Even if you’ve been doing the freelance business for years, there will always be dry period. There are good days and there are opposite. This means you have to make brochures, business cards, demo reels, and whatever traditional things you think you need to market yourself better offline.
Client Changing Work Requirement
You have to indicate in your contract how many revisions are allowed and if they exceed that number, they have to pay for revision fee. This is applicable in instances where clients changed their ideas, concept, or how the work is to be done. On the other hand, let us not forget that you are not perfect too. Maybe your output is even lame and they’re just very patient in guiding you realize their vision. As a freelancer, if you always keep track of minor revisions and take it against your client, you would slowly lose your charm. Therefore include in your budget expenses the little revisions.
Reality of Difficult Clients
You need to deal with a number of clients and you may have to transact with difficult ones in your career. Some clients demand too much of work with a little reward, while some may be very stringent about deadlines. Most clients do not show interest to pay upfront, others may never be satisfied no matter how many iterations you deliver. So you need to develop skills to deal with any client. Be transparent with them about what you’re doing. If they demand too much, professionally disengage.
Battle with Different Payment Methods
When doing business with clients in different countries, you can expect to see payment in different currencies which may affect the value and how quickly you are paid. In some cases, the payment method suitable for the client may not be suitable for you (freelancer). Therefore freelancers should be familiar with various methods of payment. Make sure you and the client agree on the currency.
Getting Bad Reviews
It is not every client that is going to be pleased with your work. Sometimes clients are going to decide you’re not the right person for the job and sever the contract. Even a 3-star rating out of 5 can make you feel bad. The worst thing to do is go off the deep end and fight to retain your position. The decision has been made, how will you respond? Tell your side of the story as objectively as possible in response to a bad review, and contact the client to know the areas you need to improve. This will make it a learning experience. Professional courtesy is an important instrument in your armory at this point, and remember that there will be another position coming your way soon.
Too Many Clients Or Gigs
This is actually the kind of “problem” you want to be facing on a regular basis. To solve this problem, work with a team and learn to supervise them. However, there are plenty of risks if you pass a project to someone else. What if the client won’t pay and you already quoted a big fee to the other freelancer or if the client is not satisfied and demands a revision? Lots things could go wrongs. Be prudent in your work ethics, so you’d be safe when something bad happens.