How to Truly "Go with the Flow" as a Freelancer
Freelancing comes with its fair share of irony. On the one hand, we have more flexibility to choose projects around preferred schedules. On the other hand, we’re our own bosses, so we have to control our productivity levels for the sake of an income.
There’s a certain amount of passivity that’s necessary to survive in the freelancing world. Nothing is promised to us, no matter how hard we seek out new opportunities. The longer we freelancers stay in this game, the more accepting we should be of this fact. In the interest of maintaining reasonably low stress levels, though, read on to learn about ways to surf over those waves of freelancing uncertainty.
To every (freelancing) thing, there is a season.
Freelancers, if you’ve been on this career path for any length of time, then you know that certain times of the year are busier than others. If you actively participate on several different freelancing platforms, then you might have already noticed certain seasonal trends.
So, in the spirit of maintaining a flexible outlook, instead of worriedly anticipating freelancing shortages, try instead to look at your workload as a rotating sort of schedule. I tend to do most of my work within the first four or five months of the year, then adapt to a lighter schedule if needed.
- For a comprehensive list of where to find freelancing work, check out Ryan Robinson’s post, “72 Best Freelance Jobs Websites to Get Remote Freelance Work (Fast)”
Some freelancing platforms are all about the give and take – literally.
For a number of years, I freelanced on a platform that, to this day, there hasn’t really been an equal for. It started out under one name, during which time I was doing basic transcription for them. Then, I segued into writing informational articles, and as its brand changed again, I got to do lots of different QA tasks. It was fun, I learned a lot, and it was a consistent source of income.
Then, inevitably, permissions started to get revoked, work dried up, there was a promise of a return after restructuring – which actually meant goodbye. Another company absorbed that platform and made it into an in-house business instead.
The moral of this story is, no matter how successful your current freelancing gig is, you must be prepared for it to end in a moment. Remember – you’re a contractor, not an employee, so whatever client/company you’re working for can terminate the agreement immediately as if it never happened.
When things are great with a client or business, you might find yourself with more freelancing work than you ever thought possible. You can work your heart out and do your best work, and still lose the gig, because they have a budget to maintain. In an ideal freelancing world, of course, it’d be great if clients could just be upfront about it all, but that’s a rare find.
The future is looking brighter than ever for freelancers!
Good news might be difficult to come by, but as economies crumble, so too does the need to reinvent the notion of what a career means. No matter the niche, businesses are finding it more financially responsible to decrease overhead costs and turn to the Internet, which means freelancing options should be all the more plentiful.
Remember, nothing worthwhile comes easily. If you do your best, while at the same time maintaining a reasonable level of acceptance no matter life’s little freelancing curveballs, you’re well on your way to setting yourself up for success.