Freelancing has increased in popularity over the last decade. So has the advice out there about how to successfully start and run a freelance business. Most only speak about the positives, but I like to keep it real with you. While I can’t cover all of the good, bad, and ugly, I want to share 4 hard truths about running your freelance business. In the end, you’ll still need to be a scientist, get your hands dirty, and learn by doing, but this might help you avoid a few hairy situations along the way.
1. It’s sometimes hard time finding clients
Running a freelance business sometimes means that it takes a while to find clients. You need to network, make connections, and be visible in the industry where you want to work. It won’t happen immediately and often can take more than one approach or marketing technique before you start getting hits and inquiries. If I had a cheeseburger for every time a new freelancer reached out and asked me about how to find clients. [hey I like cheeseburgers more than nickels] The hard truth is, it’s not easy but with all of the tools, job platforms, and resources available today, it’s totally doable.
Freelancing has allowed me the opportunity to work with people from all over the world including clients in other cities, towns, or countries. It has also given me the freedom of choice when it comes to who I want to work with. And once you get going it usually becomes easier.
2. It’s difficult to find work-life balance when working for yourself
Freelancing can be a really rewarding experience. You get the opportunity to run your own business and run your own time. This has been the best for me so far, but still comes with its challenges. Freelancing means that you have to be willing to put in the hours and energy when clients need it. This often means working late nights or even early mornings just to get a project done on time. It can be difficult to find work-life balance when working for yourself as you run into situations where you have too much work and not enough time. Sometimes it’s easy to try and do “just this one more thing” but then run behind on everything else because of it. Staying disciplined with your time is a must.
3. It’s all on you to market and promote yourself
When running a freelance or solo business, there’s not much help from marketing departments or HR departments. With freelancing, it’s all on you to market and promote yourself. That means that if you want to grow and expand your clientele, you’ll need to run your own personal ad campaigns. You’ll also have to put in the time and effort into marketing your products or services appropriately. And you’ll need to do so on a consistent basis, not just when you need the work if you want to keep a stream of income coming in and avoid the feast or famine cycle that is so common with freelancing.
4. There is no such thing as “job security” when running a freelance or solo business
Some people run their own businesses because they want the freedom to make their own hours and the opportunity to work on what they want. And while there’s a lot of benefits, owning a business also comes with some downfalls. One of the major downsides is there is no such thing as “job security” when running a freelance or solo business. With freelancing, there’s no one else looking out for you. That means that if you run into any unexpected obstacles, such as getting sick or having to take care of an emergency, you’re alone and will need to find someone else who can take over for you.
Running a freelance or solo business is hard work. It’s not always easy to find clients, and it can be difficult to maintain a balance between your personal life and the demands of running your own company. There are no guarantees with freelancing- there’s nobody looking out for you when you’re in charge of everything from marketing yourself to finding new projects. But as Goldman says, “it’s all up to me.” The key takeaway here is that while there are many amazing reasons why freelancing is great, it’s not realistic to tell everyone that everything comes up roses. Like most jobs, there are ups and downs and some weeds in the garden. Running a freelance or solo business comes with many challenges, it’s up to you to determine if you’re up to the task.
Excited and ready to get started freelancing? Check out my Get Freelance Clients Without Feeling Salesy mini-course and get started.