Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to be a work at home freelancer? If yes, then hopefully you are progressing towards that goal. However, if things are a bit stalled, now’s a good time to find out why. This way, you can address the obstacles that are preventing you from becoming a work at home freelancer in 2013. Here are some of the most common issues that present themselves to those who are just starting out on the road towards working at home and freelance work:
1. Freelancing doesn’t pay enough money.
I know from personal experience that it’s often too easy to just maintain status quo and keep working at a regular job because that’s the job that pays the bills. However, if you don’t address your freelance work as also being real work that should pay real money, you’ll never break out of the 9-to-5 routine. To begin with, consider either raising your rates or finding higher paying clients.
Also, take a hard look at where the majority of your freelance efforts are going right now. Are you stuck working for clients that either pay too little or not at all? Alternately, are 20% of your clients sucking up 80% of your time? Resolve to “trim the fat” in the new year and eliminate those clients and jobs that just aren’t helping your bottom line.
2. You don’t have any long-term freelance clients.
You get a freelance gig every now and then but nothing steady that you would quit your day job over. When things are going great, you have so much work that you can’t even find time to sleep; then, long dry spells roll in, making you wonder what went wrong. To alleviate this issue, you need to openly advertise your freelance services with business cards, a website and social media. In fact, social media platforms like LinkedIn can be a great way to gain freelance clients.
Attend professional networking events and make an active effort to meet 2-3 actual professionals in your field. Be sure to follow-up with these individuals and see how you can help them. As Dale Carnegie once said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.“
3. You have no real freelance work experience.
Maybe you’re an aspiring freelance writer but have no clips published in anything but content mills. Maybe you’re great at web design but have only a limited number of class projects to point to as evidence of your skills. This leaves you in a bind when potential clients ask to see your resume or clips of your work. No matter.
Scope out some top blogs/websites in your field and find out if they take guest blogs posts, artwork, logos, etc. Contact several charitable, funding or professional organizations in your area and inquire about work opportunities with them. You can reference all these entities in your resume and website, giving your work immediate credibility. Likewise, your efforts may be so appreciated by your recipients that they eventually choose to hire you.
4. You don’t have enough time to be a freelance ____ (fill in the blank).
The renowned author Stephen King says that he often encounters individuals who tell him, “You know, I’ve always wanted to be a writer.” To this he replies, “You know, I’ve always wanted to be a brain surgeon.” The point here is that, if you want to do anything in this life, you will need to make some kind of sacrifice.
Whether that sacrifice involves getting up earlier in the morning, bribing someone to watch your kids for a hour or two, or just turning off the TV (termed “the idiot box” in my house), something will need to change in order for you to achieve your goal. Otherwise, life will find a hundred other tasks for you to complete while your resolution of being a work at home freelancer slips away. Carpe diem.
5. You can’t risk quitting your real job until X/Y/Z happens.
Maybe your spouse is currently out of work or your two kids are racking up the tuition bills. Maybe your health is uncertain and you don’t want to risk having no health insurance as a freelancer. In such a case, you have actually resolved to not become a work at home freelancer. Let’s face facts: If you are waiting until everything in your life is paid off, healthy, clean, retired, out of the house, etc., that day will never come.
Most parents I know say it was never the perfect time to have a kid (or kids), and likewise most freelance at-home businesses don’t start out because their respective owners have nothing better else to do. There are ways you can reduce your risk, of course, such as by planning ahead and finding out how much your freelance business can potentially earn. I myself did this while debating if I could become a full-time freelance writer. However, at some point in time, you have to take that plunge.
6. You’re good at what you do- but just not good enough.
Maybe you already have several long-term clients who pay quite well for your freelance services. However, when these clients ask for anything new or different, you’re stuck because you don’t know how to deliver such a product. Alternately, you scramble to find sub-contractors who can complete the work. Either of these situations is not good because it exposes you to obsolescence.
To counter the problem, take periodic training courses in your field. View the courses as a necessary business expense; after all, if you were employed at a company, that company would send you out for periodic training as well. Fortunately, many training classes and even college courses are free (or pretty cheap) and are available online.
The Bottom Line
Every New Year’s Eve, billions of people make resolutions, with most of these resolutions fizzling by the end of January. However, you needn’t become one of those “fizzlers”. Take the right steps today to nurture and fulfill your resolution. Ask for help, network and take a class (or two) if need be. Set aside some time each day to advance your ambition and actually become a work at home freelancer in 2013.