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  • Writer's pictureTanya Ellis

What They Don't Tell You About Being a Freelancer

The untold truths that come along with being a freelancer...

Freelancing is often glamorized as the ultimate career freedom – being your own boss, setting your own hours, and choosing your own clients. While these are undoubtedly attractive perks, there are also some not-so-glamorous realities that no one tells you about before you embark on your freelance journey.

That's why for today's blog, I wanted to focus on doing exactly that; by sharing with you all five 'home truths' about freelancing that many don't mention.

Here are some of the truths I wish someone had told me before going freelance...

1. You will need to be disciplined and self-motivated.

As a freelancer, you will be responsible for managing your own time and getting work done without anyone looking over your shoulder. This can be a challenge for many people who struggle with self-discipline and procrastination. To succeed as a freelancer, you'll need to develop good work habits, set clear goals for yourself, and be able to stay on task even when there are distractions around you.

MY SOLUTION: I like to plan out everything; breaking down weekly tasks by day in order of deadlines and priorities. I cannot work without a planner that is suitable for all my goal-setting and scheduling needs. I highly recommend you invest in a good planner to help you stay organised and avoid procrastination!

Here is the work and lifestyle planner I am currently using for 2023: Undated Legend Planner Deluxe

2. You'll need to learn how to market yourself.

Unlike in traditional employment, where your employer handles marketing and sales, as a freelancer, you'll need to promote your own services and find your own clients. This can be a daunting task, but it's essential if you want to build a successful freelance career. You'll need to learn how to create a strong personal brand, build a professional network, and develop marketing strategies that work for you.

3. You will also need to be comfortable with financial uncertainty.

Freelancing often means that your income will be inconsistent and unpredictable. Some months you may earn more than you expected, while in others you may struggle to make ends meet. To succeed as a freelancer, you'll need to be comfortable with financial uncertainty and have a plan for managing your cash flow during lean times.

ADDITIONAL ADVISE: I have attached a link to a recent Linkedin Article that I wrote on the topic of "Coping with uncertainty as a freelancer." It shares strategies that you can implement to help you cope with uncertainty and achieve financial stability as a freelancer where paid work can not be considered a guarantee!

4. You'll need to learn how to say "no."

As a freelancer, it can be tempting to take on every job that comes your way, especially in the early stages of your career. However, saying "yes" to everything can lead to burnout and a lack of focus on the projects that matter most to you. Learning how to say "no" to projects that aren't a good fit or don't align with your values is an essential skill for any successful freelancer.

"It doesn't always pay to say YES to every opportunity!"

5. You'll need to take care of your professional development.

Unlike in traditional employment, where your employer may offer training and development opportunities, as a freelancer, you are responsible for everything and you will therefore need to take care of your professional training and growth. This means investing in your education, staying up-to-date with industry trends and best practices, and seeking out mentorship and networking opportunities.

I hope these freelancing home truths have not put anybody off their freelancing journey as that is NOT what this blog intended to do! I just wanted to share all the 'home truths' that really could help better prepare you for the incredible journey that freelancing can be; although it's not all roses.

You will have plenty of ups and downs!

Freelancing can be a very rewarding and fulfilling career path, but it's important to go into it with a realistic understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. By being disciplined, self-motivated, and proactive about your professional development, you can build a successful and sustainable freelance career that brings you both financial stability and personal fulfilment.

All the best of luck to everyone in their freelancing journey. Be sure to stay tuned for more helpful posts including more mini-series and extra special posts that could even help you secure your next big client.

All the best,

Tanya Ellis



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