Here on the blog, we talk a lot about how to be successful with a freelancing business, and why freelancing might be a great choice for you.
But… what if you start a freelancing business, and it’s not going quite as you planned, and you start wondering if maybe you should have stuck with a traditional 9—5 office job after all? What about when family members or former colleagues inevitably question whether you can actually pay the bills, and you’re forced to admit that money is getting pretty tight? What about when contracts fall through and you lose out on work you were counting on?
Freelancing is NOT for everyone. And it’s totally okay to give freelancing a try and then realize that maybe just now it’s not quite right for you.
Here are a few of the big questions you should ask yourself if you’re starting to second-guess your decision to be a freelancer:
- Are you *actually* good at organizing yourself, prioritizing tasks, and managing time? If you want someone else to tell you what to do, if you’re too overwhelmed to keep up with day-to-day tasks, if you can’t juggle long-term strategies with short-term activities… being a small business owner could be extremely challenging for you. You need to be your own boss, you need to be disciplined, and you have to be committed to the work and the lifestyle.
- Even if you aren’t able to cover all of your costs, can you see that you’ve made progress in the past few months and over the past year? If you’ve been at it for a full year now and you are pretty much in the exact same place you were last year, that’s a problem. If you haven’t seen any progress or change even though you’ve been trying new things for the past six months, you probably need a new strategy. It’s essential that you are able to look at what’s working, what’s not, and be honest with yourself about whether you can make the necessary changes to make this business work.
- Have you been doing this for long enough to be able to have seen results? If you’ve only been freelancing for six weeks and you’re struggling, that’s perfectly normal. Don’t expect to get tons of clients and money pouring in right away! These things take time. However, the longer you’ve been at it, the more results you should be able to see.
- Be honest with yourself: have you *really* put the effort in? Sometimes you NEED the tough love. If you are working short days, taking weekends off, and waiting for clients to find you rather than going out to find them, you probably haven’t put the effort in to make this work. Being a business owner isn’t easy! You have to put a lot of effort and time in before you see consistent results.
- How much research have you done in your field? What worked for one person won’t necessarily work for you. Moreover, at the rate that we’re seeing technological progress, industries themselves are changing rapidly. Do as much research as you can, as frequently as you can, to keep up with it and to give yourself new ideas for strategizing and marketing your business.
Should you quit your #freelancing business? Find out the questions you need to ask yourself…
- Do you have a big work ethic but lack ideas—or vice versa? You need to have the ability to be creative, as well as to follow through with your ideas. Neither one of these on their own will be enough to help you make it as a small business owner. Along with this, you have to be willing to make decisions, big and small, on your own. No one else can make the decisions for you when you’re the business owner! You can’t be afraid to make decisions.
- Can you rely on a supportive team to help fill in the gaps? Although you need to be able to wear many hats, you can’t expect yourself to be an expert in everything. That’s where building a team of people you can rely on comes into play! I have been extremely lucky in that one of my best friends is a website wiz, because although I can do some very basic coding, it’s really not my strong suit. You might want to hire a VA who can help you with admin work, or perhaps you can team up with someone else to exchange services. At the very least, you should know how to troubleshoot things and where to go to for help if you need it.
My new book (coming out next month!) is really helpful for new freelancers (or anyone thinking about starting a small business) to learn about how to be successful as a small business owner. If you’re feeling unsure about whether freelancing is right for you, The Business of Writing & Editing could definitely help you out with that.
Is freelancing right for you? Have you had to ask yourself these questions? What questions do you have about being a small business owner? Share in the comments section below!
Thank you to Allison for providing the beautiful stationary image!