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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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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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