People don’t usually go freelance for job security and steady cash flow.
In all likelihood, you became a freelancer for the flexibility it gives you and the dream of achieving the mythical work-life balance. That’s an admirable goal and it is possible to get there, but the journey can feel like walking a tightrope. Keeping your balance takes determination, discipline, and nerves of steel.
Here, we learn about the 4 main fears freelancers face when embarking on their solopreneur journey — and how to overcome them.
1. Not underselling yourself
One of the biggest pressures when you’re self-employed is the constant uphill battle of landing the next job, and sometimes a big empty space in your diary might be looming and you feel the panic start to set in. At those times, it can be tempting to offer much lower prices than you should really be working for, in a frenzied attempt to secure work, any work.
Stop right there. You’re not a performing elephant, and you shouldn’t be working for peanuts. Hold your nerve and price the job fairly, because if you don’t you could be setting a dangerous precedent and, ultimately, it does you no good at all to be working if your profit margins are negligible. It’ll just mean you have to play catch up further along the line by taking on extra jobs, and that’s a really inefficient use of your time.
2. Skiving off
Unfortunately, the reality of being self-employed is that you usually end up taking less holiday than other people. When you work for yourself there’s no-one to make you take your twenty-eight days a year and no-one to pay you for them, either.
With this in mind, it can be really beneficial to remind yourself just what being freelance means — and you can start by taking a spontaneous afternoon off. If you begin to feel like you’re chained to your desk, it might be the ideal moment to push away on the casters of your swivel chair and head off for a few hours. Or just potato on the sofa. It might feel wrong and scary to slack off, but it’s a great way to remind yourself that you’re not clocking in 9-5 anymore, and you’re free to shape your own work day.
3. Turning down work
You’ve probably heard this one before, but it bears repeating since it’s such a tricky one to master. If you’re being asked to do a job that would cut into your designated off time, you can turn it down, and you should! You don’t have to say no outright; you can politely let the client know that you’ll be unavailable at that particular time, but would be happy to take the job at a later date. And if you do feel like you absolutely have to take the job, consider charging more on the basis that you’ll essentially be working overtime.
We know turning down work is a big deal, and it may take a while to become established enough to feel comfortable with it, but if you’re really serious about achieving the perfect work-life balance it’s a key fear to beat.
4. Letting the phone go to voicemail
Something that might not have occurred to most people before going freelance is the guilt that you start to feel whenever you’re not working. When you’re setting your own office hours, you can feel under a lot of pressure to always be reachable, but it’s absolutely vital that you set yourself a going-home time and stick to it, even if you already work at home.
If you decide you finish at 5 o’clock, for example, it will be a lot easier to switch off and relax for the evening than if you have a vague ‘work until the work is done’ policy. Here’s a spoiler for you: it will never be done, and you will always find something else that needs doing, so don’t torture yourself.
This is where having a website where clients can book calls and consultations when you’re finished for the day becomes a real life-saver. Appointedd offers just such a service, and has loads of time-saving tools that can make your day-to-day organization, admin, and finances run smoothly without constant supervision.
Sometimes work-life balance can seem unattainable, but you can do it so long as you steel yourself and work to overcome these challenges.
Guest post by Appointedd, a provider of online booking and scheduling solutions for busy owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses. Find out more about their flexible time management technology and get started with Appointedd here.