The lows of freelancing

As much as I love freelancing, there are days when it’s really hard.

  • Silent clients. One of the hardest things about working online with clients all over the world is that sometimes you don’t hear back from your clients as promptly as you would like – or even for weeks at a time. I struggle with this when it happens; I often assume the worst. “Did I say something wrong in that last e-mail? Did their business suddenly collapse, and now they can’t afford to pay me? Did they not like the work and they’re not sure of how to say it?”
  • Disappearing projects. It happens. Sometimes work goes away – the project the client thought was going to happen doesn’t pan out; priorities change; budgets shrink, your project falls off the agenda. Clients, like everyone, are busy. They have dozens of things to worry about, and your next freelance project isn’t always their number one concern.
  • The doldrums. The worst is when everything slows down at once – you’ve finished a big project, and nothing is lined up to immediately replace it. None of your regular clients are responding to your queries. None of the jobs on Elance look promising. You repeatedly check your e-mail and there’s nothing there but the sound of crickets chirping. A tiny tumbleweed blows across your keyboard.

Fortunately, the solution to all of the “lows” of freelancing is the same – go out and find more business!

Clients not getting back to you? Find more business.

Projects drying up? Find some new projects.

Running out of work? Drum up some more.

Freelancing isn’t always easy, but it’s simple: find a project, do great work, repeat as necessary.  Even the worst days as a freelancer are better than the worst days I experienced while working in a cubicle.

And even the lows of freelancing don’t last forever. Opportunities materialize. Clients suddenly write back after long absences. New projects appear on the horizon.

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