A freelancer is a person who has skill, expertise as well as experience in certain areas of profession but does not work under any one with employer-employee relationship. Instead, he works with multiple clients on contractual basis.
The prefix ‘free’ denotes that a freelancer is free to work for anyone he chooses to. Besides being self-employed, a freelancer can choose his own working hours, target market, working and pricing terms and clientele.
Freelancing jobs emerges out of the action of outsourcing by certain categories of jobs. The main consideration for outsourcer is that the client gets the services of multiple skilled hands at a comparatively less price. Moreover, there are no employee-related obligations such as fixed salary and perks, gratuity, provident fund. He can ‘hire and fire’ at its own sweet will.
Usual freelancing jobs include the areas; such as software development, content writing, editing and proof reading, translation, website designing, social media management, graphic design, book keeping, business process outsourcing, photography, advertising, journalism, advertising and many more.
If you have the skill and expertise in any of the above areas, either you might have started your freelancing job or may envisage taking it up. But you need to be aware of various problems, usually encountered by a new freelancer. Few of these are mentioned below.
Identifying the Prospective Client
Patiently browsing over the net, you can find out ‘who needs what’. Matching the jobs with your own skill and expertise, you can connect with the potential clients. The tag of ‘fresher’ may pose a major challenge for a new freelancer.
You can draw some information about the potential client from its website. But, the client has no knowledge about you. Hence to be skeptic is quite natural. You may be asked to submit your sample jobs in the past.
Alternatively, you may be given assignment. You have to patiently comply with all the requirements of the client. If everything goes alright, you can start your work.
Fixing the Contractual price & Terms of Payment
Being an entrant, you cannot dictate the terms of payment. In the competitive job market of freelancing, your prospective client can get myriads of freelancers.
But you are constrained with a counted few customer; even may be a single one. If you lose this opportunity, it may take further time to find out another who will give the opportunity.
Therefore, you have to yield to the terms of your client. In most cases, you will be paid on monthly basis, if the job is of continuous nature.
Bridging the Gap Between Starting and Actual Earning
You can start the work with an assurance from your client, that the price will be increased if your performance is satisfactory. You will be sticking to the same customer for a substantial period of time to overcome the tag of ‘fresher’ and counted as an experienced freelancer.
This gap may be prolonged for years. In order to overcome such eventuality, you should go in for more clients or even try with multiple freelance jobs. Keep on searching for new clients and have terms suiting to you.
Of course, with gaining of experience, you will get higher prices. Once again patience and persistence is the best solution.
Meeting the Deadlines
Most clients insist for submission of assigned jobs, strictly as per the deadlines indicated prior to assigning the job. Whatever be your personal engagement, you must submit the job as per the deadlines.
The consequence of delayed submission may be non-payment for that particular job or even termination of the contract. You may have to work in odd times, even at the cost of your convenience.
You know the power of ‘hire and fire’. You can’t resort to any remedial steps if you are fired.
Pseudo name of “Own Boss’
In contrast to the general notion of ‘Own Boss’, you have so many bosses if you are dealing with multiple clients. You have to yield to their needs and demand; otherwise your job is gone even without any prior notice.
There are some clients who deal with you harshly by communicating harsh words like “if you don’t do this way, you’ll be fired”. How then you are your own boss.
What matters most for you, is the money you are going to make by freelancing. Sometimes, you have to admit that you are wrong, even if you know, you are correct.
Lonely Working Environment
If you are not a retired person, or a housewife, you will feel the pinch of working alone, in the environment of your home. There will be none to socialize with, as you usually find in fulltime job environment.
It may have an adverse psychological effect on you. The solution is, pursue your hobby, taking an off from your work. You can solve this problem by listening to music or spending short time with kids in your house.
Scam or Fake Sites
If you are a new freelancer, you may be urged upon to take up any job you get. Consequently, you may fall victim to fake sites. There are some that pay for some time and stop paying for a large sum of money, if you have a monthly payment term.
Yet, there are some, they don’t pay at all for the work submitted by you. There is no such platform for redressing grievances. You may not be aware of the whereabouts of your client, except the email ID or cell number. In some cases, you may not be aware of the cell number too.
Jack of All Trades
Besides performing job assigned for freelancing, you have to solely look after other work like finance, marketing, client interaction, keeping records of jobs executed, timely submission for jobs executed and searching for further jobs online also.
Attending to these jobs may consume a better portion of your productive work and cause failure to adhere to deadlines. As a solution to this problem, you may take help of someone in your family who can afford some time to attend to these unproductive jobs.
Know When to Stop Working
In order to meet the deadlines or to earn more, you are likely to overwork- even spend sleepless nights. Such activities will not only affect your health adversely, your working efficiency may also lower down.
If you are required to work on computer, your eyesight may be affected and lead to head ache and migraine. The best solution is, fix up a definite work schedule and when to stop. Take assignments which you can complete within that specified time.
This is one of the most demanding jobs of a new freelancer. Frequent change of clients will affect your ongoing work and consequently, your income.
Take every possible effort to satisfy the client and submit quality job so that there will be no opportunity for the client to be displeased. Think that your client is your boss and not you.
Be flexible in accommodating to every demand of your client. Sometimes, few words over phone can create goodwill with your client. Sometimes, you have to accommodate for late payment.
Alter Software and hardware
You should find time to keep your hardware in perfect running condition so that, there is no disruption of work due to breakdown of your CPU or inverter.
At the same time, keep yourself updated with the latest software and other technology advancement. For this, you can talk with others in your line. Never hesitate to learn anything new that comes up in the fields of your specialization and skill.
Keep Inspired and Innovative
Self-motivation, innovation and inspiration also play important roles for new freelancer. Don’t get disheartened or disgusted, if you don’t get paid much in the initial period.
If you keep on going, you add to your experience which will pay you well in the near future. One thing you should always remember is ‘Never Quit” because the next step may be just a step ahead.
Saying Goodbye to Holidays
Freelancing jobs have no time schedule to come. Whatever and whenever it comes, you have to take it up even if you are required to say good bye to holidays.
Keep Your Productivity High
You can ensure this by keeping yourself, physically and mentally fit, avoiding overwork and saying ‘No’ to clients for such work that will make you to overwork and overstrained.
This article is contributed by Priya Nagrale, freelance blogger situated in Mumbai. She runs a blog Surejob. She expressed her own thoughts here based on her experience.