I’ve been working on my own for nearly 2 years. Being a Freelancer is far from easy. Undoubtedly, you get to work your own hours, but the stress that comes with it is unimaginable. I’m following my dreams and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve always wanted to draw and write for a living and right now, I’m doing just that.
But not everything is as rosy as it seems to be.
If you’re planning to quit your 9-5 job and become a freelancer, there are some harsh truths you should know first before making that important decision.
1. The first year is going to be very (very) hard.
When you first start your own business, the journey is not going to be a walk in the park. You’re going to have to take on every client (even if they’re not your dream clients) just to make ends meet and build a portfolio. I remember working 14-18 hours a day, all 7 days a week because there was so much to do. But every hour you put in, will be worth it because these hours are the foundation of your Business.
Aside from promoting yourself, and trying to land clients, you’ll also be in-charge of bookkeeping, updating your portfolio, answering queries, and constantly creating.
As time moves on, you’ll learn how to juggle all these tasks better.
2. You will need to be confident.
At first, you’re not going to really know what you’re capable of. This is totally normal. I remember constantly doubting myself every time I pitched my services to land a client. It’s hard. But people can sense insecurity, and you need to overcome it.
Now, I’m pretty firm about my services and their prices. If someone says no, I move on. Be confident of yourself and your work. Let your work speak for itself. Don’t let people push you around.
3. You won’t just be creating.
When I first took up freelancing, I thought all I’d have to do is draw. Well, I couldn’t be more wrong. When you decide to start your own business, you’re going to be everywhere.
Aside from actually doing what you’re supposed to (in my case – drawing and writing), you’re going to be doing a lot of other stuff too. You’ve have to know how to market yourself and your services. You’ll need to know how to communicate effectively to people, in order to reel them in.
You’ll have to constantly write emails, reply to queries and follow up with clients who haven’t paid their invoices, or have forgotten to include certain information. It’s a never-ending chain of writing emails.
This is a plus point for people who love to be kept busy. This one of the reasons why I love being a freelancer. Because it never gets boring. Not even for 1 minute. *wink*
4. You’ll lose a lot of big deals.
There are ups and downs in the freelancer’s world. The biggest one being, losing clients and deals. You can’t expect to win them all in your freelancing journey. It’s not possible. So cut yourself some slack when you’re initially starting. I remember feeling like my whole world caving when I lost clients initially.
Some will have other commitments and some will just not be interested in taking it a step further. But this doesn’t mean you should stop whatever you’re doing and go back to a 9-5. Learn to accept these downfalls with grace and keep striving.
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5. You have to know whom to trust.
Initially, the world will seem like it’s full of happy faces. You’ll be eager and excited to take on everyone and do anything and everything for them.
There will be people who will try to stomp on you just because you’re competition. They will send you scarring messages. Some will even try to get out all your information from you just so they can do the very same thing.
Aside from these, you will also have people stealing your work and claiming it as their own.
By starting your own business, you must be ready to deal with each situation as it comes.
6. It is 10 times easier to get work from past clients than new ones.
I have a few clients I who keep giving me recurring work because I have never let them down. I constantly give them discounts, send them sweet notes once in a while and check on them to see how their businesses are doing and if they’d like some help.
When people are genuinely nice to you, make them happy. Don’t be afraid to show them you care, because this will make a huge difference to your business. Remember, you cannot work alone. You need to have friends and good clients to support you.
7. It’s going to get lonely.
Depending on what business you’re starting, the first few months will be very lonely. You’ll be putting in a lot of hours in your work, and you will forget to socialize and make friends. It’s natural. So don’t let it bother you. Eventually, you will meet people in the same field and this is the time to socialize.
I constantly keep messaging and emailing my comic artist friends and blogger buddies. I love having something to talk about. I make little jokes and we talk about current events. It’s fun and it’s what keeps me going.
Make friends. Don’t be shy. And don’t think of the people in your line of work as competition. They’re your friends. Growing together is much harder than growing alone.
And that’s all for today. Are you a freelancer or are you planning on becoming one? Let me know in the comments below and we can have a small tea-party.