The Yin and Yang of Freelancing

Any person who has ever launched their own freelancing business has experienced the good and the bad of the services industry. There are always two forces that oppose, yet compliment each other. This is the Yin and Yang of business. There are times when you prosper and times when you struggle. There are days when you love what you do and days when you hate it. There are clients who shower praise about the work you’ve done and others who become the bane of your existence. This is the ebb and flow in life and in being a freelancer.

A couple years ago I had an epiphany about the services industry. I’m not sure where it came from or why, but it was a realization that I actually loved helping clients discover solutions that addressed their visual communication problems. Why this stands out is because so many freelancers or creative people want to transition to a product eccentric business model. Getting paid while you sleep is a beautiful mantra that is prevalent in the freelancing community. After all, who doesn’t want to create a product and sell it a million times? The hard truth is that many products will fail to make any income and offering products is just as challenging as working for clients. In the end, client work as a freelancer does and will pay the bills.

There’s Good and Bad in ANY Business!

The grass may look greener on the other side, but what we sometimes fail to remember is that the Yin and Yang is at work in every business. Whether you are offering services or products, you will still have positive and negative experiences. You cannot escape them. Sometimes we get caught up in the “End of the Year Reviews” when other freelancers or solopreneurs write about their successes and we believe if we could be just like them, then all of our troubles would melt away. This isn’t reality.

Freelancing and offering your professional services will have it’s challenges but it’s not all bad and not all client work is evil. You can find much enjoyment and happiness in the freelance economy, but you have to recognize there will always be two sides to it.

THE YIN (DARK SIDE) OF FREELANCING

  • Working with clients can be challenging. People don’t know what they don’t know. Sometimes clients can’t grasp what it is that you do or how you can help them. Sometimes they want to micromanage you or tell you how to do your work. Some drag their heels on paying you or responding to your emails. This is the biggest reason why freelancers want to get out of the service business.
  • Keeping up with technology or new methods is demanding. It seems like every week you hear about a new app that you must use or that your methodology is old school. The freelancing economy continues to move, adapt, and change faster than we can keep up with at times. This can be demanding and draining if you are a freelancer.
  • Freelancing can be very lonely. Many of the people I know are a one person shop and it can get really lonely working by yourself. The sad thing is that many of us hunger for relationships or someone we can talk with but we act like we are too busy to make these connections. Our Chia Pet cannot replace the interaction of humans. Just saying.
  • Trading time for money is always a concern. When you offer services, you trade your time for money. You are paid for the work you perform and you only have so much time in each day to perform that work. This can limit your earning potential and profitability unless you do things right. Then again, you can put time into a product and never sell it – then you’ve lost time and money.
  • Taking vacations and time off can be impossible. You leave for a week and then feel you’re a month behind when you get back. It can be a never ending story unless you are great a master at scheduling your projects around time off. The biggest problem is that clients don’t always move at the speed you do and this complicates deadlines and launch dates.

THE YANG (LIGHT SIDE) OF FREELANCING

  • Living a flexible lifestyle is awesome. You can do your freelancing work from anywhere in the world. You can set your hours and work around your lifestyle needs. You are the master of your domain.
  • Making great money is up to you. If you know how to run a business, work hard, and price for value, then you can make a very nice living. Your salary is totally dependent on you and not ‘The Man or Woman.”
  • Finding great work and clients is easier than it used to be. There are plenty of awesome clients just waiting for a professional like you to help them. The problem isn’t a lack of opportunity but a lack of initiative to find it. Many freelancers I know are booked up for months. The economy is only as bad as you think it is.
  • Helping clients to get a great solution IS rewarding. Nothing will excite you more than when a client goes on and on about how you did amazing work for them! It is a great feeling to do something that produces fantastic results for your client.

Work is Always Hard

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, work is hard. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or if you offer services or products … running a business just plain sucks at times! I don’t know who came up with the idea that if you follow your passion, every single day will be filled with never ending bliss. That’s just bullshit. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed because getting in the grind can suck. I’m absolutely doing what I love, yet there are days I want to quit. That’s the Yin and Yang friend. It ain’t going away.

In the end the grass will be greener on your side if you water it enough.

1 Comment

  1. Clint wilde on June 6, 2016 at 8:35 am

    This is a very insightful post! I think it describes how freelancers feel very accurately.

    Keep up the great work and I’ll be back to read more.