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15 Struggles Only Freelancers Would Understand

15 Struggles Only Freelancers Would Understand

With freelancing come several perks and benefits. As a freelancer you are the boss of your time and work. As a way of working, freelancing enables you to follow your passion as you earn a living – perhaps that is why many college graduates are making the choice of becoming freelancers. However there still remains a huge margin between working as a freelancer and working for a private enterprise. The struggles or challenges a freelancer face are not similar to those of regular employees. It’s important for you to know the problems you have to deal with as you navigate a freelancing career.

1. You know that requirements and demands of employers keep changing

What applied to a certain client before may not apply to your present client. Also as a freelancer you are expected to keep upgrading your skills and never be static. What was applicable last year may not apply now; neither is the terrain of freelancing stationary. Freelancing demands adaptability and growth from the freelancer.

2. You understand working with different time zones

There is an opportunity for freelancers to connect with employers and clients from different parts of the world in this era of internet and technology. This opportunity presents interesting experiences; from dealing with a whole set of culture different to yours, to meeting new persons from different backgrounds. Yet there is a challenge for the freelancer to adjust to different time zones. There are demands of being awake at odd hours because you want to satisfy a client or even attract one.

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3. You face the reality of bad clients

There will be difficult clients to deal with as a freelancer. Not every client you attract will be pleasant. Some demand too much work for little pay while others are reluctant to pay on time. A freelancer is at risk in the face of a bad client because many clients do not like to pay upfront.

4. You have to tackle money management

To keep your career going as a freelancer you must make sure there is more incoming cash than outgoing cash. Freelancing requires that you are an excellent money manager as there are high and low times during your career. This is why it is necessary that the freelancer keeps working hard to land paying gigs to keep his freelancing business going.

5. You try to balance work and life

It becomes a dangerous good when you have flexible hours and conditions to work with as managing your personal life and work can become challenging. There could be a clash in time with when you desire to visit the gym and when you need to complete a task.

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6. You have to keep hunting for clients

A major struggle for freelancers is getting jobs. Although there are freelance portals like Elance.com, Guru.com and Freelancer.com, competition can be stiff and challenging. Finding clients isn’t as easy as it seems and this could be one of the major struggles of any freelancer.

7. You need to become a Jack of all trades

With freelancing you become the boss of your own business. A freelancing career requires your being able to manage your financials, marketing and interacting with clients. You can only be a successful and efficient freelancer if you can handle a lot of activities at once. Yet being versatile yet efficient can prove overwhelming and cumbersome.

8. You have to meet ridiculous deadlines

Many clients offer a deadline for an assignment or task to be completed. This could stir tension and make you nervous especially if you have so much to do at once.

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9. You always stare at procrastination

It is easy for the freelancer to assume that he has a lot of time to accomplish a task and such could be completed later. Procrastination is a killer and could be a freelancer’s worse struggle when managing his career.

10. You have to make real world connections

Beyond the several opportunities available online for the freelancer, landing a paying gig sometimes requires reaching out of your comfort zone. Real world interaction is essential for the freelancer to succeed. For an individual who is not sociable or isn’t an extrovert this could be a struggle.

11. You are a victim of global currency fluctuations

The currency you are familiar with may not be the same the client who is living thousands of miles away is familiar with. In a world of unstable currency rates this could present a challenge to your freelancing career.

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12. You have to be a better time manager

Time is not ever enough when you have to revise, review and try to meet with the desire of your clients. The more clients you possess the better you should be with managing your time.

13. You have to battle with different payment methods

In certain parts of Europe, Africa and the world, flexible payment methods like Paypal are not yet available. Payment methods suitable for the client may not be suitable for you.

14. You have to be a better negotiator

Most times clients feel they can take advantage of freelancers through unfair pricing. In a world where it is pretty difficult to land a client, a freelancer has to be a better and more strategic negotiator.

15. You learn to be flexible

Freelancing means meeting to the needs of your client. Sometimes even what you consider fantastic may not be what the client wants. Adapting to a client’s needs will serve your freelancing career better.

Featured photo credit: Young man at home using a computer, freelance developer or designer working at home. via shutterstock.com

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Casey Imafidon

Specialized in motivation and personal growth, providing advice to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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