It is said that we have to see the world as it is not how we want it to be. This rings true for freelancing as well. So, below are top 5 harsh freelancing lessons that I learnt the hard way while starting out my freelancing career.
You will need to compromise on price
The market today is saturated. Now I don’t mean that in a negative way. Not at all. But that is a reality which we can’t ignore. As more and more people enter the digital world the competition is getting stiff by the day. And today there are a million other people who can easily do what you do probably at a lower price.
This leaves you at a disadvantage then in the beginning stages of your freelancing career. At this stage you can’t be too picky with who you work. You just have to get clients and work without caring too much about the money. Get clients, work for a lesser pay and then use the reviews of those clients to start building your brand.
Never leave your job
When you are just starting out you won’t get clients immediately but you have to pay your bills. Your job will take care of your bills so that you can focus on your side hustle calmly. When you know that you have a certain amount of income coming in every month, that takes a lot of pressure off you.
Now I know, there is a school of thought which says that you should never have a plan B because it just distracts from your main plan i.e Plan A. But, this totally depends on who you are as a person. What your financial condition is currently.. If you have a buffer of around 6 months to a year then you can leave your job easily. But if you don’t have any safety net to sustain you for an year at least then it’s wiser to stay at your job and work on your freelancing when you come home after office.
Don’t get fooled by the entrepreneurship culture and photos that you see on instagram. Be wise because none of those hustlers are going to come to your rescue when you won’t have any money to pay your bills.
When you are thinking of entering this entrepreneurship journey you have to leave behind the luxury of spending the money mindlessly until you reach a certain stage at least. So forget about eating out at fancy restaurants, or shopping at malls. Instead of spending money you need to shift your mindset to saving it. These tiny sacrifices will add up and you will start to see its benefits soon. The money that you save you can easily spend on facebook ads. You might get some leads from the ads and the ROI from there would trump eating out at a restaurant any day. Think like a businessman or a businesswoman every single second.
Constantly upgrade your skills
People here in India have a fixed mentality. Although, that is beginning to change now. But the mindset of finishing your studies, getting a government job and then being at it your whole lives is so ingrained in our brains that it hampers our growth. Due to that conditioning we think once we get a job the learning stops. This never applies to freelancing however. You have to have the growth mindset. Everyday you should learn something new about your field. Hone your skills everyday. This will give you an edge over your rivals too.
It is hard
Let no one tell you any different. Your life will be like a see-saw here. This journey that you are embarking upon is filled with treacherous terrain, which you can only cross if you are persistent, consistent and mentally tough. This is not for the faint of heart.
There is so much uncertainty that some days when you get clients you feel ecstatic and on other days when there is no work you feel so much despair and hopelessness.
So the first mindshift that you need to make is to understand that this is going to be hard. Don’t be fooled by pics of people sipping margaritas on a beach and soaking up the sunlight on a sunny beach. Those things will come eventually but if you focus there too much you will be left disappointed.
Read books about how to cultivate a positive mindset, how to become mentally tough etc. These will help you face difficult situations and be consistent in the face of adversity.
As it’s said often: It’s not the talented that wins but the one who stays in the game longer.
So these were some of the top 5 harsh freelancing lessons that I learnt in while starting out in my freelancing journey.
Hope you found them useful during your freelancing journey. I wish you all the best.