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3 Things Freelancers Need to Do That People Fail to Mention

#1: Safeguard your mental health

By Margaret PanPublished 2 years ago 5 min read
3 Things Freelancers Need to Do That People Fail to Mention
Photo by on Unsplash

Being a new freelancer can be hard. I know, cause I’ve been there. I had no one to guide me, so I learned everything I know through trial and error. There were things I did right, and there were many things I did wrong. It has been an interesting journey, but there are some things I wish I knew beforehand.

When it comes to freelancing, people usually offer you advice on how to find clients, manage your projects and time, or market yourself. Yes, these are essential things. But there are others that they fail to mention — and are equally important.

1. Safeguard Your Mental Health

You probably didn’t see this coming, but it’s far more important than you might realize. A lot of people think that working as a freelancer means a dream lifestyle. That’s far from the truth.

Freelance work comes with a lot of loneliness, anxiety, and insecurity — especially when you’re a beginner. When I first entered this world, I didn’t expect things to be so difficult and complicated. With a typical 9 to 5 job, everything is pre-organized. You are told what to do and how to do it. You are given some guidelines. Yet with freelancing, I found myself in the midst of chaos — and I’m a person who loves structure.

I had to do everything by myself. I was anxious all the time, thinking that I’m not made for this job, that I wouldn’t be able to find enough clients or generate enough income. Overall, my mental health took a turn for the worse.

With time, I managed to figure things out. But it wasn’t an easy journey. Here are some tips to stay sane as a new freelancer and avoid finding yourself in my shoes :

Get to know your market: Before you start pitching to clients, make sure you do some research and get to know your market. How much do other freelancers in it charge? Where do they find their clients? Where do you stand in relation to them?

Set realistic goals: You won’t be making thousands of dollars in your first months of freelancing. It takes time and effort to figure things out, set your prices, find clients, and generate constant income. The sooner you realize that the less anxious you’ll be.

Make sure you interact with people: Loneliness is one of the main problems you have to deal with when working from home. I spent endless hours sitting in my room, in front of my computer screen, with little to no interaction with my family or friends. That was a huge mistake — it made me feel even worse. Make an effort to regularly catch up with friends and family or join a freelance co-working community.

Learn how to manage rejection: Whether we like it or not, as a freelancer, you’re going to hear ‘no’ so often you’ll lose count. Don’t let that dishearten you, and don’t beat yourself over it. Something always comes through.

2. Work Out the Logistics

Part of the reason I felt so lost, anxious, and insecure when I first entered the freelance market was that there were so many things I didn’t know about. More specifically, I had no idea about the logistics of this job. I thought that I would land a client, do the writing, deliver it, and get paid.

Simple as that.

What can I say? I guess if things were indeed that simple, the whole world would work as a freelancer. I realized that there are other things that you have to do when you’re a freelancer; pitching, project tracking, and invoicing are only some of them.

Make sure you know the basics of managing a project, pricing, invoicing, and putting together a basic working contract before searching for your clients. Otherwise, you might find yourself facing a lot of dead-ends.

3. Arm Yourself With the Right Tools

Working as a freelancer means that you’re a business owner. Well, not quite, but you need to consider yourself as such. Your goal is to attract clients. To do so, you have to be seen as professional and worthy of their time — and money.

Without the right tools, not only will you struggle with building a client network, but your business will also eventually fail. At the beginning of my journey as a freelance writer, I hadn’t even the bare essentials: editing software, a grammar checker, or a keyword research tool. Luckily, it wasn’t long until I realized their necessity.

The tools will vary depending on the type of freelancer. But there are some that all freelancers need to have. Most of them are way more simple than you imagine.

For example, you might want to set up a business email address rather than using your ‘[email protected]’ one. Doing this will help you come across as professional to potential clients and separate your personal emails from your business queries. Investing in editing software or a communication tool and creating a personal website are also some good ideas to scale your freelance business.

Final Note

There’s no denying that freelancing is one of the most exciting jobs out there. It’s also one that can change your life.

Before you hit the ground running, however, make sure you do your research and learn both the good and bad aspects of it. This way, you’ll be able to avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made. These tips will help you to be more prepared and have more chances of succeeding.

This story originally appeared on Medium.


About the Creator

Margaret Pan

Words have power.

I write about relationships, psychology, personal development, and books.

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