Although all of life’s endeavors should be approached with at least a moderate amount of positivity, it must first be acknowledged that starting (and maintaining) a freelancing career isn’t the easiest of pursuits. A lot of people are drawn to this profession because of the freedom it promises – there’s no set office, no set hours, they are truly the masters of their own freelancing ships, so to speak.
Yes, freelancing should ideally mean having more time for loved ones and hobbies. Yet, depending on the niche, it might be quite the opposite if those bills are in danger of not getting paid. If you’re a freelancer who’s faced frustration after frustration as you set out on your freelancing journey, here’s how to vault over any career hurdles that might stand in your way!
Embrace what you know, and learn from what you don’t.
Oh, experience – the perennial buzzword of any career, not just freelancing. Ever notice how even some of the most entry-level jobs require experience? It sometimes just doesn’t make any sense! After all, how can you gain experience if you’re not given the opportunity to learn?
So, to get around that, you’re just going to have to start small – sometimes literally if you want to join microtasking sites (two of the better ones are Clickworker and Amazon Mechanical Turk) . Should you find yourself applying for job after job and getting the same “not enough experience” response, think about the sorts of jobs you’ve been applying to.
Are you a freelance writer who wants to review movies and television shows? Consider starting your own blog dedicated to that topic, post regularly and originally, and gain a following before you post to large media sites. It’ll take patience, but if your heart’s set on such an avenue, time won’t be a deterrent. Instead, you could even look at the lengthy timeframe as a training ground for developing expertise.
Do you want to be a freelance editor? Take some courses, be they online or otherwise, to keep current with trends and confidently complete application-related tests. Should you prefer to focus on a particular niche, be sure to have a working knowledge of related resources such as The Chicago Manual of Style or The Associated Press Stylebook. Prove you can adapt to ever-changing guidelines, and potential employers can’t help but take notice.
A question of quickness…
You’ve probably come across freelance job postings – particularly when it comes to transcription – that require a minimum typing speed. Or, perhaps you’re interested in other freelancing niches, but notice that to make any real money, you’d have to complete a lot of work in a short amount of time.
It’s better to do a good job at a more moderate pace, than a poor job quickly. If you’re a transcriptionist, you’re going to need to be able to type briskly. Even the most experienced transcriptionists sometimes stumble, though, when many of the audio files they get are laden with heavy accents or poor audio quality. Unfortunately, there are some potential employers who just have unrealistic expectations – they want a lot for a little, and that should never be acceptable.
Tip: check out my blog post, “How to Increase Typing Speeds as a Freelancer” for more information.
Ebbs and flows…
The thing that gets many freelancers discouraged is that this is, indeed, a very unpredictable career – especially for those who are coming from salaried jobs during specific days and times. There could be lots of work with good pay, or lots of work with bad pay, or too little work, or one well-paying gig that’ll only last so long and you’ll have to live off of whatever you earn from that until you something else…you get the idea.
If you find this aspect of freelancing is really wearing on your productivity and overall wellbeing, consider finding a salaried job, be that full or part-time, your priority until you feel more secure financially. Thankfully, more and more companies are offering remote opportunities that include benefits, so there’s still the potential to have some stay-at-home flexibility.
Whether you decide to supplement your income with freelancing, or choose to make it a full-time career, there’s much to appreciate. As you continue on this path, you’ll notice that it’s a real character-builder in terms of, among other things, communication, budgeting, and versatility. In a word, persevere. Before you know it, you’ll have left those freelancing obstacles far behind you.
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