Remember, how was your first week in your first job?
Well, I remember mine. It was like a whole different world. Too many things to do but I barely knew how to do them. Too many helping hands but still hesitant to take help. Too many questions. Too many confusions but the matter of the fact is I was one of the good ones.
Freelancing is also the same. When you start, you are good enough for your actual work but not good enough knowing how to get the work. So many questions and confusions. And this is the time that actually decides how far you will go as a freelancer.
Being a freelancer is often considered easy and painless. But in reality it is one of the most complicated things. A beginner should know exactly what he is stepping into. Should be prepared enough to tackle the hurdles in the path. Your business, as a freelancer, is quite unpredictable. But if you already have the solutions handy, you are set to be a successful freelancer. These are few issues a freelancer face in the beginning and how you can face them like a pro:
1. The dry time
Initially, do not expect big earnings for at least 3 months. You might get your project within a couple of days to couple of months. But once you start getting the projects, you would never be in lack of work.
There will be some times when you won’t earn enough from the projects. Some times when you won’t get new projects for quite a while. So be prepared to survive in this time. Keep some capital reserved for this period and hope you would not need to use it.
Other solution is setting up some passive income channels. You can setup some easy and good ways to generate passive income every month without much efforts. Affiliate marketing, blogging, digital promotions are some easy ways for example. One of the good affiliate programs is this.
2. Invoicing and billing
This is what I finally learned by hundreds of mistakes. All your clients would be different in all aspects; you can’t expect the same behavior from all. If you get enough work, there is a great chance you would even forget to bill the client. And pretty frequently you would be missing 1 or 2 invoices here and there. Also you would need to follow up with clients to get your invoices paid.
A good way to overcome this is to set up milestones smartly and get your invoices paid per the milestones. Alternatively, you can take subscriptions of some tools specially designed for billing and invoicing. Your project management tool can also be helpful in managing invoices. Break your project in smaller tasks, get the next task paid when you finished the first.
3. Starting over
As you grow with your freelancing, you would want to maximize your income. At some point, you will decide to expand your wings and start freelancing on other platforms as well. Infact, it is advisable not to be dependent on a single freelancing site for all your work. When you start on the other platform, you will always be a newcomer. No ratings, no feedbacks, no reputation. Means no work for a while. Then again it will take long time to build up reputation and start over.
The solution. Freelancing is not the same as it used to be. Nowadays there are many tools that can import your profile ratings and reputation from one freelancing website to another. Search for these and import your ratings and be top rated from day one.
4. The offline error
You can’t be online all the time. What if you miss a good project while you were offline? In freelancing you would work with clients in different time zones. Means your rest time might be their work time. Because of being offline, I personally have lost a project which I would kill for. And then starts a regret time for this missed opportunity.
Sync up everything in your android\iphone. Almost everything is available in mobile apps nowadays. Be sure to turn on important notifications all the time.
Also, there are few free automated tools you can use to automate few tasks. You can automate bidding or proposal sending as well. Other then bids, you can automate chats, messages, emails for out of working hours responses. Use them, Always.
5. Currency conversion
Set up a gateway that costs you least and converts earnings in your home currency. The mistake we do is leaving it to when we get paid. But eventually the big day would come when you get paid and the next devil you would have to face is getting the amount in your bank account. So don’t wait until then, setup your paypal or other payment method on the day you start freelancing. You can take any other service as well that might be free or with a least rate.
Shilpi Goyalis a seasoned freelance writer, developer and start-up enthusiast. Apart from front and backend development, her passion for writing makes her an expert in blogging, content writing and generating quality web traffic.