Freelancing seems awesome and, let’s be honest, it IS awesome. Working whatever hours you want, wherever in the world you want; choosing super fun projects to work on; being your own boss… I love it. But if you want to be a freelancer, there are some VERY important hard truths about freelancing that no one ever really talks about. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, after all!
The very first time I began freelancing, years and years ago, I failed in part because there were some basic, important truths about freelancing that I didn’t know about. I was so excited about having my own business that I didn’t stop and think about HOW to be a freelancer in a successful, sustainable way.
It wasn’t until I learned the reality of the situation and set up key systems and strategies into place that I was able to launch my freelance business full-time once again a couple years ago—and this time have an incredibly successful freelance business.
So today, we’re going to get real. Let’s discuss the 10 truths about freelancing that no one ever seems to talk about…
1) It’s HARD to go it alone.
As freelancers, we tend to be alone. We are solopreneurs. We get to make all the big (and little) decisions, and we get to wear all of the many hats of boss, employee, secretary, bookkeeper, etc. While all of that is fantastic, it’s also hard. It can be difficult to feel like you’re out there all by yourself with no one else to give you input and help you along.
And truthfully? Even when we’re introverts, freelancing alone can occasionally get, well, lonely. There’s a huge benefit to being a part of a community of other freelancers, or even connecting with each other on social media platforms like Instagram.
2) There is no one-size-fits-all.
You, your brand, your business, your services, and your clients are all unique. It’s not like there is one particular marketing strategy that is going to magically work for everyone, for example. You can be a freelancer and start a successful freelancing business, but only if you focus on what’s right for YOU.
The systems and strategies you use need to be customized for YOU and your needs if they’re going to be effective and if you’re going to succeed with your freelance business.
3) It’s easy to fail.
Let’s face it: freelancing can be overwhelming, confusing, and stressful.
It can be tricky to know where you should spend your time, how you can work productively from home, and what you need to do to find more clients who will actually pay you what you’re worth. Honestly, a lot of freelancers don’t *make it* with their businesses (or they never do get around to working from home full-time).
This is also why it’s really helpful to have a guide or a business bestie to help and support you along the way!
There is no one-size-fits-all! You need CUSTOM strategies to succeed with your freelance biz. #freelancetip
4) Freelancing isn’t for everyone.
Nope! It sure isn’t.
Freelancing requires dedication and an interest in the work you do. You need to be able to think on your feet and make tough decisions! If you’re not sure if freelancing is the right fit for you, you should definitely ask yourself these 7 questions.
5) If you don’t set up the right systems & strategies in place, it’s not going to work.
As I said earlier, you need to have CUSTOM strategies if you want to be a successful freelancer. You need to have systems that make sense for YOU.
Just because something worked for one person, doesn’t mean it will be the right fit for you. That’s why I focus so much on teaching my students how to build strategies and systems that are the perfect fit for each of their individual businesses and unique brands. If you try to copy someone else or if you use the exact same strategy as another freelancer, there is an extremely high chance that you will NOT see the same success (or potentially ANY success) as that other person.
6) No one will ever care about your business as much as you do.
This is something the mother dear (another small business owner!) told me long ago, and it’s stuck with me for years.
It is SO true. No one will put their all into your business they way you need to. Even if you have supportive family members and friends and awesome assistants to help you out, at the end of the day, it really does all come down to you. You need to be the one to make sure it succeeds.
7) Your voice and design as a business owner MATTER.
If a client is trying to choose between two freelancers with a similar skillset and experience level, you know who they’ll hire? The person that
a) resonates with them the most, and
b) looks the most legitimate.
The words and phrases you use and your voice and style can have a huge impact on whether or not a client decides to hire you. And if your website doesn’t look professional or doesn’t have the right design appeal, a client very likely won’t hire you.
Your voice and design are important for having a successful freelance business!
8) Freelancers notoriously get undervalued and underpaid for their work… but they also have the power to change that.
Stop undercharging for your work! If you don’t see the work you do as valuable, how will your client?
You need to be confident in your abilities. You need to recognize that what you do is important and valuable, and you need to set rates in accordance with your value if you want to make money freelancing.
9) Honesty, creativity, and the ability to think critically are fundamental to *making it* as a freelancer.
Being honest with a client goes without saying (I should hope!), but being honest with YOURSELF is something you might not have considered a necessity before.
Think about it: if you aren’t honest with yourself, you won’t be able to recognize your strengths and weaknesses (and from there, identify how to work with/around those weaknesses—something we get into in-depth in Productivity Powerhouse).
You need to honestly admit when you’ve made a mistake before you can go about fixing that mistake (and you WILL make mistakes at some point—that’s part of being human!).
You also have to be creative. When problems arise, you are going to need to solve those problems and think outside the box! And finally, you must be able to think critically if you are to succeed as a freelancer. Critical thinking skills will help with the problem-solving, as well as the strategizing and managing of both short-term and long-term tasks.
10) You can get help.
Wait, what? Didn’t I just say that no one will ever care about your business as much as you do and that being a freelancer means spending a lot of time alone?
Well, yes… but you don’t have to do it entirely on your own!
I created the programs inside the SaganMorrow.com School so that you wouldn’t have to be like me, several years ago, floundering around and trying out different things to see what worked and what didn’t work.
You COULD spend the next year struggling to get paid what you’re worth, trying to figure out how to best connect with clients and market your business, running yourself ragged as you take whatever job you can get (even if you don’t really like the work) just so you can pay the bills… or, you could instead get all the lessons, tools, and supports you need to create your own custom strategies and systems that are the perfect fit for you and your business when you join my freelancer programs.
In the space of just a few weeks, you could revolutionize your freelancing business. Let’s do it, together.