Getting To Grips With The Freelance Lifestyle


Although the freelance way of working is becoming more and more common as a necessary and inevitable result of the gig economy, it is still absolutely not the way for everyone, and it’s the kind of thing which you might find you are only keen on pursuing if you have certain ways of working already in place. The truth is that not everyone can be a freelancer and enjoy it, but for those who do choose that way of life, there are certainly things to be aware of in order to make the most of out that you can. In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the things that you might want to consider in order to ensure that you are truly getting to grips with, and enjoying as much as possible, the freelance lifestyle. As long as you bear the following in mind, you should find that you are able to enjoy this lifestyle and make much more of it much more easily.

Finding Work

One of the first headaches that most freelancers have is figuring out how to actually measure that they are going to get enough work in, and this is certainly always going to be an issue. If you are not getting the work in, you are not going to be able to develop your career – and more to the point, you are not going to be able to pay the bills along the way either. This is enough to make most people a ball of anxiety, but the first thing you need to do is to make sure that you are going to master that anxiety. You need to find a way through that feeling, ironically, if you are to be able to get into the right state of mind with which you can more easily find work. As long as you do that, you will find that you are able to enjoy finding work much more, and that you will therefore be able to find it much more easily.

That being said, just a change in mindset is never going to be enough. Once you have that down, you then need to also ensure that you are going to be able to actually go out there and find the work necessary. This is such a basic part of the process of being a freelancer that it is crazy to think just how easily people tend to overlook it, and so you will want to make sure that you don’t make that mistake if you can. Going out and finding work means practicing how to pitch, and that is something that a lot of people find difficult in the main.

When you first start to pitch your work to others, you will find that it is a little embarrassing knowing how to do so. That is something which you just have to get through by practicing it more and more, and that is the only way to ensure that you are going to get work at all anyway. You need to push through the initial embarrassment and try to be proud of your abilities. If you don’t yet have much in the way of a portfolio to show people, you will find that it is incredibly difficult at first to sell yourself well. But this is the position that everyone has to start in, and as long as you are keeping on pushing forward, you will find that you too can move ahead no matter how little you have to show for yourself at present. With enough determination, you will be able to get the first work you need to start building your portfolio.

That being said, the best way to ensure that you do have something to show people is to get working on a portfolio anyway – despite whether or not someone is actually paying you for the work. Sitting down to create whatever it is that you create, you will be able to develop more and more work, and the more you have, the better. As long as you are doing this, you are improving your chances of finding work further on down the line, so this is hugely important to consider.

As you can see, finding work can be a challenge, but it can also be a joy once you know what you are doing. The only thing for it is to start practicing and start submitting and pitching to those who might employ you.

Getting Paid

Once you have found work, you run into the next difficulty that freelancers often face: actually getting paid for that work. There are many reasons that you might find yourself not getting paid as swiftly as you might like. It can be that your employer is simply lazy, and takes a long time to get round to it. It might be that they have certain budgets within certain timelines, and they need to wait a while before they should pay you. Very rarely, they are merely trying to scam you. An important part of your work will be ensuring that you know how to spot scammers from a mile away, which unfortunately just means being scammed once or twice so you know how it works. Beyond that, there are things you can do to ensure that you continue getting paid regularly from genuine employers.

First of all, you should absolutely make sure that you have a decent invoice template. These are easy to come across, and they make the process of making your payment official much easier. Send the invoice along with the finished work, as this is a polite and correct time to ask for payment. Be sure that there is no information missing from the invoice, such as date, bank details, or name and address. You should be clear on the invoice what the work was too, so that it is clear for the record. Remember that this is a legal record, and you will need to keep it as part of your freelance business. Even the taxman might want to see it one day, so it is necessary to make sure that you are looking after it and that it has all the information it needs to have. As long as you get your invoice right, you have gone most of the way towards ensuring that you actually get paid properly and on time.

Beyond that, it’s merely a case of chasing the employer. Give it a few days, and send them an email. After a week, you are well within your rights to call. If they really start ignoring you or not paying for some nonsense reason, you can up the pressure – politely but firmly – or, once it gets to being a really long time, you can start to threaten legal action. This is usually enough to get genuine employers to pay up, although it is a shame when you have to resort to such measures, and it can be a little frightening and a little risky doing so. However, you need to get paid, and if you have done the work on time and to order, then you are owed that payment by law.

This is a good reason why you should aim to sign a contract wherever possible, as that way you have it written in black and white what service you will offer for what amount. That, and using a marketplace online which is secured with an escrow payment system, and you should find that you are receiving the payment you need without any worries almost all of the time. This is a huge part of being a freelancer, so it’s vital to make sure you understand it and master it.

Working Solo

Probably the thing that most people are turned off by most about freelancing is the prospect of working alone day after day. For certain professions, this is very much a part of the lifestyle, and if you are someone who happens to enjoy being alone, it might not be too much of a problem. However, even the happiest introverts will find that they have a limit, and there are certain things you will probably want to be aware of to ensure that you are not getting to the point of feeling too lonely.

First of all, make use of any coworking office space you can find in your area. These are places where you can go to work alongside other people in a similar position, and they are a great way to meet people and feel like a part of a team or group again. You should also think about networking with other freelancers in your area, which you can do now easily thanks to the internet, as this can help you to feel a part of something and have the double effect of helping you land more work. You might also want to think about ensuring that you are building your social life as well.

As you can see, there are many things that you need to focus on to ensure that you’re going to genuinely enjoy the freelance lifestyle. But as long as you have paid attention to the above at least, you should be able to get much more out of it, and ensure that you are going to enjoy yourself and make good use of the career you have chosen in the future.