5 Things Freelance Professionals Need to Get Over

To run your own freelance business, you can’t afford to be your own worst enemy. There are times when it gets toughMan jumping over obstacle having your work scrutinized, waiting for  responses from clients, prospecting for new business, and putting your foot down. But these things come with the territory when you freelance, so to get on with business, you need to get over a few things first.

Don’t let these things hold you back in your freelancing business:

Sensitivity to criticism

The beauty of what freelancers do is generally in the eye of the beholder. Clients are subjective…their unique styles, likes, and dislikes will play a role in determining whether or not they like your work. There’s no room for Prima Donnas in freelancing. Accept that not everyone will love all of your work all of the time.

Perfectionism

You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. No freelancer is. Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes – but own them and do what it takes to make them right. Most important, recognize if there are areas of business where you make mistakes repeatedly. You might need to take more time when tackling them or outsource tasks when possible.

Dislike of networking

Want to get quality clients? Network, network, network – online and in person! I know a fair share of freelancers who very much dislike mixing and mingling in social settings. Avoiding networking activities puts you at a disadvantage. Face-to-face networking can give you a major edge as prospects hear your voice, see your smile, feel your personality up close and personal. You’ll need to embrace social media, too. Used consistently, it builds professional relationships and goodwill because it makes it easy to show support of and interest in prospects and clients.

Impatience

Freelancing requires a willingness  to wait. It takes time to build a portfolio of work, a solid base of clients, and a reputation as the “go to” pro in your field. Sometimes it can take years before a contact turns into a client. Beyond that, the day-to-day stuff requires patience, too. You’ll encounter prospects who don’t respond to your proposals, clients who don’t get back to you with feedback on your work, and occasional payments that won’t arrive by the due date you posted on your invoices. Instant gratification is rare in freelancing – you need to develop a tolerance for waiting.

Discomfort at following up about client payments

That said…while practicing patience in most things, stay politely vigilant about following up on client payments that are overdue. Freelancers aren’t high-volume service providers who can afford to let payments go 30 days…60 days…90 days past due. I’ve found missed payments are not intentional and almost always an oversight. Generally, I wait 7 days past the due date and then send an email to inquire (always in a non-accusatory tone).

Traveling the freelancing career path requires the guts and gumption to put preconceived habits and inclinations aside. You won’t always find it comfortable to change your thoughts and practices. But after you start reaping the rewards from altering elements of your M.O., you’ll find it easier to get past the other things that might be holding your freelance business down.

What have you needed to get over to go forward in your freelance biz? What methods and ways of thinking have you found most difficult to set aside?

By Dawn Mentzer

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It Isn’t Easy Being Green: 3 Tips for Getting Up to Speed as a Startup Solopreneur

Let’s cut to the chase – starting out as a solopreneur is challenging.  Although you don’t have to deal with certain aspects of running a business like payroll or employee benefits, you’ve got to have the other core operations and administrative components covered like:

  • Customer service
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Invoicing
  • Collections
  • Bookkeeping
  • Public relations
  • Strategizing and planning

All of those things and more need to be done to keep your business afloat – and you’ll be the one doing them.

Overwhelming? You bet it can be. But by taking action on the following tips, you’ll make your journey as a new solopreneur less mysterious and more empowering even straight out of the starting gate:

Get Social as a Solo Small Biz Owner

Connect face-to-face and build relationships with other solopreneurs and small business owners. They’ve walked the walk and can relate to most – if not all – of the specific challenges you’re facing as a new entrepreneur.  Join your local chamber of commerce, a Toastmasters group, ABWA, or some other professional group – most have at least a few solo business owners within their memberships. Actively participate and interact, and you’ll likely find that your fellow members will be happy to lend their insight and advice to help guide you through tough decisions and situations.

Link Up with LinkedIn Groups

Although as a rule I don’t tell anyone that they should be on a specific social media platform, LinkedIn is the exception. A purely professional network, LinkedIn lets you connect with not only clients, prospective clients, and business colleagues, but it also provides you the opportunity to join online entrepreneurial-minded groups. And groups exist for many niche industries and specific locales, too. Got a problem you don’t know how to solve? Need advice on how to handle a particular situation? Post your question as a “discussion” on the page of a group that has a membership rich with people who are knowledgeable about the topic or your area of business. I’ve gotten some very valuable guidance, tips and tricks through discussions on several group pages focused on writing and editing and on a group page dedicated to businesses located within my county. Group members are generally very willing to share their thoughts and guide you to additional resources to help you with your challenges. Just be sure to reciprocate and occasionally check discussions to see how you might be of assistance.

Get One-to-One Guidance

As a solopreneur you don’t have to totally go it alone. As a startup, you can find free help in wrapping your arms around all things business. Organizations like SCORE (who has 365 chapters nation-wide) provide free mentoring to new entrepreneurs and existing small businesses. Also look for other nonprofits in your area that give cost-free business consulting.

No, it really isn’t easy being green, but it doesn’t have to be painful either. With some concentrated outreach effort on your part, you can go from novice to in-the-know solopreneur without too many scrapes or scratches.

What resources do you tap into most to learn best practices and get real-world experience about being a solopreneur?