Are you cut out for freelance life?

Working for yourself is the dream, right? You get to pick and choose when you work. Take a day off whenever you feel like it. Do the work you want to do with none of the other crap. Earn loads of money. Set your own rules.

Sounds perfect.

Except, in reality, it doesn’t quite work like that.

At least not at first.

Because if you want to earn money as a freelancer, you need clients. And if you want to earn good money doing work you enjoy and running your business on your terms, you need good clients.

The problem is, they aren’t just going to be queuing up at your door the minute you launch your freelance business.

So, while it is possible to create that dream business, it won’t happen overnight. It takes hard work. It’s not always comfortable. And there will be disappointments.

Which is why not everybody is cut out for freelance life.

You've got to be prepared to sell

So many freelancers underestimate how much of freelance life is about sales and marketing.

You need clients.

It does not matter how good you are at the thing you offer. It doesn’t matter how much money you spent on your fancy website. It doesn’t matter how many of your friends tell you great you are.

You need people to give you money in exchange for your products or services.

Until you make that happen, you haven’t got a business.

You can create a Facebook business page, attend every networking event in town, get 10,000 followers on Instagram, do free webinars once a week, have a thousand free discovery calls with “potential clients”

But until those activities generate paying customers, you have not got a business.

You need to find a way to get leads and then convert those leads into sales.

It might sound harsh, but it’s true.

And until you get comfortable with selling, you’re really going to struggle as a freelancer (unless you can find someone to take care of the sales part on your behalf).

But if the thought of selling scares you, don’t panic.

Selling doesn’t have to involve cold-calling. Or presenting highly-polished pitches. Or sitting in a room pressuring people into buying from you.

Selling doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. If you genuinely offer something of value, you should want people to know about it.

In fact, you’re doing them a disservice by not letting them know it exists.

And that’s where your marketing comes in. Find a way to get your message in front of the right people (your ideal clients) at the right time (my book teaches you how).

You must be resilient

You will get rejected. People will disagree with you. You will attract criticism. And sometimes you will make mistakes.

So you have to be resilient. You have to be able to bounce back quickly.

It’s fine to feel disappointed. It’s natural to experience some anxiety. It’s ok to be angry, or frustrated, or despondent every now and then.

The trick is learning how to deal with your thoughts and feelings.

Accept that there are many things you cannot control. But what you can control is how you react when things don’t go to plan.

Don’t dwell on that lost sale. Don’t let that negative feedback knock your confidence. Don’t let that self-doubt hold you back.

Learn from experiences – good or bad.

Freelancing is not for the faint-hearted. You will have to put yourself out there if you want to get noticed. And it won’t always be easy or pleasant.

You need to keep an open mind

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula to business. No magic beans. No secret recipe. So you have to keep an open mind.

Don’t fall into the trap of blindly following one person’s way of thinking and ignoring anyone that contradicts them.

I see this happen all too often. A freelancer will stumble across somebody they deem to be successful – an influencer, coach, business guru, motivational speaker, networking group – whatever. And they adopt a cult-like mentality.

They put that person on a pedestal and follow their advice religiously. They won’t listen to anyone who disagrees or offers an alternative approach. They won’t tolerate any criticism against that person.

And that is dangerous.

Just because you like someone doesn’t mean they are right about everything – it is ok to disagree with them on some things.

And just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean their advice isn’t good. And you shouldn’t discount someone’s advice just because it doesn’t align with what your favourite business guru says.

This is especially true when it comes to marketing – what works for one person might not work for you. And what someone else thinks is waste of time might be the best way for you to promote your business.

So don’t limit yourself by taking advice from a single source. Think for yourself and keep an open mind.

You are responsible for the problems in your business

This is a tough pill to swallow, but it’s true.

It’s so easy to blame everyone else for your business not being what you want it to be. Or accept the problems because “they are just part of freelance life” – they aren’t. You can have the business you want, but you have to create it.

The first step is taking responsibility for the problems you have in your business.

If you have crappy clients, it is because you are agreeing to work with crappy clients.

If you are overworked and underpaid, it’s because you aren’t charging enough.

If you aren’t generating the right kind of leads, it’s because your marketing isn’t attracting the right people.

And if you aren’t prepared to take action to fix these problems, you will keep experiencing them.

If you’re constantly chasing invoices and getting paid late, start charging upfront.

If you’re tired of getting calls from clients late at night and at weekends, stop answering your phone late at night and at weekends.

If you’re spending too much time doing free discovery calls and never converting the callers into clients, stop offering free calls.

If you want a business that works around you, then you have to take control. And if you aren’t prepared to do that, you might as well go and work for someone else because at least then you’ll get holiday pay.

You must invest in yourself

Read books, subscribe to newsletters, join groups, watch videos, listen to podcasts, complete training courses, get expert advice. Never stop learning.

If you stop investing in your learning, how can you give your clients the best possible service?

You will never know everything, and there is always room for improvement.

Get the right support – whether that’s by outsourcing the stuff you struggle with or bringing in a coach, consultant or mentor to help you get to the next stage.

Working for yourself doesn’t mean doing everything yourself. It’s ok to ask for help when you need it

Create your happy ever after

It is possible to create a business that works on your terms. To make good money doing what you love for people you like.

I know because I’ve achieved it.

It wasn’t easy, and it didn’t happen overnight. I made mistakes. I learnt from them.

And then, I put everything I learnt into my book to help other freelancers do what I did and create a business that makes them happy.

Get your copy of The Freelance Fairytale here and start creating your happy ever after.

Hi – I’m Lisa

If this is your first time here, thanks for reading. 

I’m Lisa – owner of Make Your Copy Count Ltd, and author of the ‘A-Z of Blogging’ and ‘The Freelance Fairytale‘. 

I help freelancers and small businesses attract more of the clients they want by providing copywriting training and business mentoring

If you’d like to get to know me a bit better, sign up for my daily email here