No job is perfect. However, if you were to meet, say, a person with a nondescript, boring office job, you wouldn’t need to be told that the job probably isn’t that amazing. If you’re a freelancer, you have to contend with people always telling you how great your job it is. And, to be fair, it can be pretty great, but it’s not perfect. Freelancers can face a whole set of problems that salaried workers just don’t have to contend with. Below, we outline five issues – and offer advice on how to overcome them.
Money: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
Freelance means you get to pick when and which companies you work. However, sometimes that decision is taken out of your hands: when you have no options for work, all of a sudden that freedom you’ve been enjoying can look more like a curse than a blessing. One week you can earn megabucks, the next week you earn zilch. That’s the way it goes. You can remedy this by putting a portion of your wages away as security; if work dries up – or you fall ill – it won’t be the end of the world that you’re not being paid.
Being smart with your money will also help with another issue: those companies who take their sweet time issuing payment for the services you have already provided for them. There might be times when you feel like you have no money when really you’re a wealthy person – just the money is being held by the company. You can get around this by asking for a 50% upfront payment when you begin work with a new company. When they’ve proven they pay on time, you can drop the upfront payment request.
People who aren’t freelancers don’t always realize how much the world is set up to accommodate traditional workers. Rental agencies can demand proof of income before they hand over the keys, banks can ask for lengthy financial information before they issue loans, and so on. Freelancers usually don’t have this type of thing to hand, because they’re not being issued to them. You can get round this by keeping meticulous financial records and by producing paystubs from sites like www.thepaystubs.com. You won’t just be able to prove you’ve been working, either – you’ll be able to keep better track of your finances too.
Managing Your Time
People become freelance workers so they can avoid the usual 9 – 5 routine. The only trouble is that routine can become 12 – 8 or later, and it can be difficult to “switch off” from work, especially if you work at home. There’s also the matter of procrastination to contend with. All in all, one of the best assets any potential freelancer can have is strong time management skills. A useful way to do this is to use a time-tracking service: switch it on when you sit down to work and pause it every time you’re not doing work. You’ll be amazed at just how much time you’re wasting just because you can!