If there’s one piece of advice I’ve regularly given to would-be and just-starting freelancers, it’s to stop worrying and start living with purpose and parameters. Freelancing can be an incredibly petty, competitive pursuit, but the more people who rise above the drama and focus on what really matters, the more productive this career path can be for everyone – it’s what I refer to as the “positive chain effect.”
Toss the timid tiptoeing through timeliness.
Have you ever, thankful for an opportunity, accepted work with a too-tight deadline? Afterwards, do you realize that the effort-to-earnings ratio is completely unreasonable, no matter how much you rush? Then there’s the critiques and the revisions, which you wouldn’t have to endure if you’d been given ample time to complete the work. This is the sort of thing that makes talented, poised-for-success people leave freelancing altogether, when all they need to do is learn how to navigate the landscape.
Something that tends to stymie a lot of freelancers is their timidity, particularly when it comes to accepting or rejecting jobs based on time requirements. When they voice their concerns to a client, they’re met with a “take it or leave it” mentality. In an effort to keep the peace and maintain a good reputation, many will simply apologize, push through projects, and hope to wait it out for better opportunities.
Quickly doesn’t mean quality – absolutely no apologies are necessary for needing extra time to complete work thoroughly under such circumstances. Don’t apologize for turning down work with time restrictions you know are unfair, either. Those who come to know and respect your capabilities will be more than willing to support a timetable that works for both of you – don’t accept anything less.
Remember to rest and renew.
There’s nothing to be sorry about when it comes to taking time away from work for the sake of self-care. After all, you might be on an intense freelancing project for some months that requires you to sacrifice much of your personal time, leaving you with a happier bank account yet an exhausted mind.
If you’re looking for a ticket to a merry-go-round of errors and sendbacks, then nothing quite does the trick better than being perpetually tired. Successful freelancers know that to be rested physically, mentally, and emotionally is of the utmost importance when it comes to consistently keeping their work at high levels.
Maintain your motivation through misconceptions.
I think many of you would agree with me when I say that an inordinate amount of conversations focus on employment topics. Ever notice how people will ask something like, “So, how’s work?” or, “And you do what for work, again?” It certainly takes the focus off of them and what they might or might not do, doesn’t it?
If you happen to work under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), you might find yourself apologizing for not going into detail about your professional life. This, to the naysayers out there, could be misconstrued as an excuse to avoid having to discuss what they consider to be a fluffy sort of career choice.
In such situations, I suggest taking an “ignore and inspire” approach. Brush off the negativity and focus on discussing some fun, shareable experiences you’ve had, or what you plan on achieving. Unshakeable, optimistic, non-arrogant confidence can be your best suit of conversation armor.
Thankfully, as the world economy waxes and wanes, freelancing doesn’t quite have the reputation it once did as being the pursuit of the privileged and/or the lazy. Now, it’s almost a given that people will seek out some form of freelancing as they seek to augment their professional lives with new experiences and additional income sources. Freelancing opens the door to inspiration and innovation like nothing else can.
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