The Best Freelance Advice You Don’t Really Want to Know

Some of the best freelance advice you’ll ever get may not be what you want to hear.

You are leaving security to take a risk on yourself. It is scary and hard work – we mean really hard, time-consuming work. But you are in control and if you have what it takes, that can’t be beat.

It is a tough, competitive world out there and you need to know the good and the bad to have a realistic outlook.

Hard-hitting Freelance Advice

There is no Secret Formula for Success

As with most things, you get what you put in and there is no magic involved. It is hard work, no matter what type of business you are in, and you must know where to best spend your energy.

You have to be the kind of person that is self-motivated. No one is going to be cracking the whip to get you going.

As a freelancer you constantly need to set goals, create schedules, and adhere to deadlines. You have to hustle to get clients. If you aren’t self-motivated you won’t be able to focus, be creative, or accomplish any of your goals.

Only people that are self-motivated and realize it all rides on their decisions are successful #freelance Click To Tweet

Freelancers that make it are excited about their work, are goal-oriented, and are willing to take the risk to get the reward.

You need to be your Harshest Critic

That’s right, this little piece of freelance advice means you are going to have to be your own faultfinder.  You can’t rely on a superior to tell you when you are doing something that probably won’t work. You are your superior and it is up to you to critique your business plan, work, and ideas.

As a freelancer you have to switch hats and step back to provide your own critique. It might  take time to perfect this, but practice and experience will let you evaluate your work without prejudice.

Now with that being said, it can really help you to talk with other freelancers and have a support group. Their freelance advice can be invaluable to you. Even conversing on Twitter or LinkedIn can help you.

You are going to be Alone

If you are one of those people that spends most of their time on the job hanging out at the water cooler with the gang – freelancing is probably not for you.

More than likely you are going to be working at home with no office mates or support. But there could be a silver lining here. For all you pet owners, nothing beats having your dog at your feet or your cat on your desk.

There is a whole freelance community out there that you can be a part of — even virtually.  But do be prepared to spend hours, if not days, working by yourself.

You have to be a Balancing Act

Freelancing has so many great advantages. You can take time to pick up the kids from school, take the dog for a walk, throw in a load of laundry, and visit with the neighbors. But you have to balance the time spent doing those things with the time you spend actually working. When the dog walk turns into having coffee and gossip with the neighbor, it is time to take a look at setting a schedule– and sticking to it.

Just because you are in control doesn’t mean you can sleep till noon and leave clients wondering why you aren’t there for them or meeting their deadlines. That is a highway to a bad reputation. Don’t throw out that alarm clock or daily planner yet.

Work smart. Learn to set goals, focus, and prioritize. #freelancing #goals Click To Tweet

Not all Freelance Clients are Created Equally

In your freelance journey you can meet some of the most wonderful people that become long-term work for you. They are nothing but a pleasure to work with. But the opposite is also true.

A bad client can be worse than a bad boss. Slow pay, take advantage. You have to know when to say no or put on the breaks. High-maintenance clients that need constant hand-holding are usually not worth it. Say sayonara. The best clients appreciate your talent and expertise not browbeat you.

Warning signs of Clients from Hell

  • They tell you that what they need is so easy it should only take you an hour or so to do it.
    • They’ve devalued your worth.
  • They tell you how horrible their last provider was.
    • Chances are the last freelancer wasn’t that bad – the client was.
  • They want a quote before giving you all of the details of their project.
    • They are more than likely looking for cheapest, not the best.
  • They do not want to pay a deposit.
    • Run as fast as you can.

Best advice – go with your gut feelings.

You’re probably Worth more than you Think

This freelance advice you can take to the bank. You can’t be afraid to not get a project because they won’t pay you what you are worth.

One of the biggest mistakes in being a freelancer, especially in the beginning, is taking on projects and clients that don’t pay you what you are worth. But here’s the kicker: you probably think you aren’t worth much.

When you go from a salary or hourly wage to freelancing, many tend to think that they are only worth what they were paid at their job. Wrong. You have to think differently now. All your years of training and work are valuable, so charge like it.

You’re going to be tempted to take jobs that don’t pay enough because you are scared to death you won’t be able to pay your bills. But you have to be able to stand strong on your pricing. It’s hard, I get it, and we’ve all faced it, but you will not succeed unless you charge what you’re worth.

The whole “Free” thing is a Misnomer

Freelance doesn’t mean you are going to have lots of free time. It will probably be less. Most of us in the freelance world work from the time we get up (OK, some of us need coffee before we can start) till late at night. If you are on a big project, you can easily find yourself working into the wee hours of the night.

You will have a sort of freedom and flexibility – but that means it is totally, completely, absolutely, up to you to make your freelance business work.

Maybe it’s not for You

Some people just aren’t cut out to be in business for themselves. There, I said it. Freelancing is not for everyone. Some folks need the security of a 9 to 5 job, paid insurance, and a sense of job security. Freelancing gives you none of that. None.

Here’s the Best Freelance Advice … Ever

Make sure it is your passion and not something you heard could make a lot of money. You’ll so lose interest if it is something you aren’t interested in.

If you are serious. If you know freelancing is for you and you are passionate about what you do, then go for it. You’ll never feel like you are completely ready or it is the right time. You simply have to take the leap.