Freelancers -- those who work for themselves and are not employed by a company or organization -- have the freedom to choose their own schedule and tasks.
Relatively, successful freelancers also make a lot more money than they'd if they had a regular job.
These are some of the many reasons freelancing has become such an attractive option today.
But, with this increased flexibility comes a greater need to take care of your business.
The only person who can do that for you, is "you"
Freelancers often fail because they do not know how to properly manage their business, their time, finances, choosing the right freelance jobs, working with the right kind of clients, and more.
This could lead to emotional baggage, wasted time, financial hardships as well as stress-related health problems like anxiety and depression (all that is real).
In this post we will why freelancers fail, common reasons leading to freelancing failure, and what you can do about it so you can avoid these mistakes and avoid the "Why freelancers fail" situation for yourself.
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Inability to get jobs
Just because you do something doesn't mean the world will knock on your door. Like they say, "No one is obliged to give you anything". As with most things, you'd have to get it all for yourself.
The inability to land new freelancing jobs is a critical reason why freelancers fail. But there's a fix for this.
Presentation: How you present yourself, what you say about yourself, and how you pitch has a lot to say about whether or not you get projects. Polish it up. Work on it.
Numbers: Too many people keep harping about "quality vs quantity". This'll only make you believe that applying for 8 jobs in a month or prospecting with just 6 clients in a quarter is enough. Flash news: it's not enough. Focus on high-quality quantity (apply for good projects with potential just enough so as to do justice to your cashflow).
Focus more on getting jobs than on actual jobs you have to work on. This has to be a regular thing. Something that you do everyday. It's called Sales prospecting (however you choose do it)
Constantly explore sources for leads, projects, and freelance jobs. This never ends.
Showcase quality, confidence, portfolio, live projects, and a wee bit of your personality when you apply/bid for jobs.
You need to stand out from loads of other freelancers. Be yourself, show some humor, and let your work speak for itself.
Learn specifically about how to prospect, look for freelancing jobs, and more by taking my freelancing course.
When you study a course or go through the path of traditional education, you are often willing wait it out for years before you graduate. When you get a new job, you often already know the path to climbing the corporate ladder and learn quickly enough about what it takes to get to the top.
There's something about "online work" and "freelancing" that makes many people new to freelancing think that they could skip the reality of life: it takes time to succeed.
Some do it faster. Some take their time. The fact remains that it's not going to be an overnight success story.
Lack of patience is one of the most common reasons I see why many freelancers fail, give up before they call it a night, and start looking to do something else (as if that was "instant money").
Lack of Skills (On top of Skills)
One of the most common reasons why freelancers fail is because they lack skills. But, this doesn't just apply to when you're starting out as a freelancer.
You could be an experienced and knowledgeable professional in your field but if it's not within what the client needs then you can still end up failing for that reason alone.
Then there are skills on top of the actual skills you need as a freelancer: the soft skills, you know?
Ability to get clients, your adeptness when it comes to managing clients, the efficiency with which you work, confidence, your willingness to manage several aspects of a typical freelancer-client relationship, and the willingness to constantly adapt and learn (not just your actual skills but also all of the other skills you need).
Without getting better at what you do, you can't hope to get anywhere. Period.
Low on Confidence
I don't what it is about those "selling services" or "providing services" but many folks just drop extremely low on confidence when it comes to freelancing. Behaving as if the client is doing you a favor by hiring you.
You are getting it the other way: you are doing a favor by working for the client. Your services help clients with some aspects of their business that they couldn't have achieved without you.
You are an expert, a consultant, and you know so much about what you do. Why lack the confidence then?
Shore up on your confidence. As with most things in life, confidence is everything.
No branding. Nothing to show
Forget branding, most freelancers still work with a firstname.lastname@example.org email address. How far are you going to get with that?
Except for a few links that double up as portfolio, most freelancers don't have anything more than to show.
There are too many freelancers who do just that.
The only way to show that you mean business is to do more than what regular freelancers do: have a website of your own, focus on your own branding (your own name or a company name), and showcase not just your work on the website but also your case studies, portfolio, side hustles, and a little about you.
Let the clients know you mean business. Have a branded, well-functioning website that can impress your clients.
Pricing yourself low (& continue that way)
Some of us are just shy. We also seem to suffer from lack of confidence (above), imposter syndrome (a feeling of guilt when we charge higher prices for freelancing), and maybe just fear of losing opportunities.
That's exactly the reason why you'll suffer, crash, and burn with freelancing. If not in the short term, it'll throw you out at least in the long term (because you'll set out to prove the world that the elusive dollar is within reach).
Set freelance pricing according to the results you help your clients achieve.
Your worth (and that of your entire freelancing career) is determined by how you price your freelancing services.
Agreed, it's not going to happen in day. But you have to start somewhere. By the way, did you know that clients who pay well actually are easier to work with?
Why do "you" think freelancers fail? What might be the reasons? Comment below and let me know.
Lack of a Productive Routine
I wrote earlier about you should embrace a productive routine as a freelancer . When you are self-employed, you are essentially self-guided. You have to stay motivated, learn things, do freelancing mistakes, and more -- all by yourself. In reality, this is also how you grow.
These are the little dirty secrets of freelancing no one likes to talk about.
As a freelancer, your routine defines you. When do you wake up? How efficiently do you manage your time? How often do you say no? How do you manage your clients? How organized are you?
Learn how to freelance better by joining the freelancing course.
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