When you started off as a freelancer, did it cross your mind that you might not make it? Did you consider the possibility of failure? If you’re like many first time freelancers, you didn’t.
It’s not that surprising that so many freelance businesses go under, when many freelancers don’t think about staying afloat. They set out to seek their fortune, giving no thought to the fact that they’ve set sail in a colander.
If you’ve found your freelance business sinking, this article contains expert advice on how to bounce back from freelance business failure.
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Freelancers generally hop onto freelancing business bandwagon believing it to be a lot of fun and excitement.
Most of them are lured in by the prospect of earning easy money. In fact, most freelancers begin their businesses casually, inspired by someone they knew. Perhaps it was their neighbor, or a close friend, or maybe they came across a profile of an internet marketer who had been successful in his trade.
They never realize that these successful acquaintances of theirs have worked hard to create success in their freelancing career. These new entrants to freelancing business are preoccupied with their expectations.
They stare at success, but not at what was done to achieve it. These greenhorns are so concerned with the fruits of success that they can’t be bothered to find the roots of the tree. That’s why most freelancers tend to fail. They tend to view freelancing as just a mode of income, rather than learning ways to establish it. Such efforts never last, it’s bound to bring failure sooner than later.
Prime Reasons for Failure
When you talk of overcoming failures in freelancing, you must understand why one person fails while another doesn’t. Is it just the attitude that makes a difference, or is there something else?
It is generally said that freelancers have it easy, mostly because they’re not forced to stick to strict working hours. Freelancers themselves fall in this trap, and make mistakes. The most striking reason freelancers fail is the lack of commitment in their work. Many fail to realize that clients only stick to freelancers who understand the responsibilities associated with assignments and commits to fulfil them.
Since a freelancer has to self motivate, there are times they’re unable to maintain the level of discipline required to succeed in the freelancing world.
Also, the fact that freelancers have to deal with a certain sense of insecurity often leads to disbelief that they can continuously succeed in a freelancing market. As a result, many fail when they lose faith in their abilities.
The cut throat competition in the market makes it even more difficult. Those who aren’t smart enough to seize opportunities and make them count are the ones who fail even before they begin. The reasons could be many; every freelancer might encounter a unique circumstance to drop out of the freelancing business.
That’s why it’s so critical to spot opportunities for failure and find ways to overcome them before you find yourself failing.
Many freelancers are too slow to learn the intricacies of freelancing. They perform brilliantly in short bursts, but they aren’t good at every aspect of their specialization. This means that they have to wait for opportunities to arrive, and hope to succeed. Otherwise, they find themselves in long lulls and it becomes difficult to motivate themselves.
In the initial period of my freelancing career, I was impressed by bloggers who told stories of their success, and found myself motivated to pursue freelancing for the rest of my life. When I started, I succeeded in patches, but it wasn’t enough for me to convince myself that I should continue freelancing.
I said to myself, “if I don’t earn a certain amount this month, I’ll quit”. And the fact is I didn’t earn the promised amount that month. That happens to many freelancers. Everyone’s in a hurry to earn cash, but they aren’t ready to put out quality work. So they fail.
If you’ve failed just because you didn’t earn enough, try again. Ask yourself if you produced quality work before. If you didn’t, try harder. Quality carries a price. Potential clients will eventually notice quality work. It may take some time, but success will follow skill and effort. If you stick to quality, it pays.
There are four main reasons freelance businesses fail:
- Continuously producing low quality work.
- Often missing deadlines.
- Failing to understand the needs of a client.
- Indulging in wrong promises.
If a freelancer wants to bounce back from a freelance business failure, they need to correct these wrong doings. That’s the only way forward.
Producing Quality Work When the Chips are Down
If you know that you failed because you had not been able to produce quality work, the only way left is to find new ways to render quality. Quality work cannot be achieved just by refining yourself. You need to overcome your shortcomings.
Go through freelancer’s projects that are considered top notch. Make sure that you go through not just one or two, but many projects. Try to find inspiration from someone with a style that resembles yours. Always remember, inspiration is the cornerstone of quality.
Once you’re inspired, you’ll learn the intricacies of your trade just by following him. It helps you visualize quality, and if you don’t visualize quality in your work, you won’t be able to produce it.
The best part when you’ve failed is that you won’t face a worse situation from here on. The only way left, perhaps, is to reorganize and push hard to produce quality work.
Avoid Missing Deadlines at the Same Time
Failure begets failure. There are countless instances when freelancers have failed even after creating quality work. The reason being that they failed to submit assignments on time. Missing deadlines is a habit, similar to arriving late for events. It becomes an attitude.
Many freelancers commit themselves to many clients at the same time. The result is they are not able to stick to deadlines. Freelancers don’t have anyone to guide them. They need to self discipline.
The moment they learn responsibility and understand the value of their clients, they become more disciplined in their approach, and meet their deadlines. Take one or two projects at a time, but not more than that. Too many projects kills your focus, and builds confusion.
Know the Expectations of a Client and Find Ways to Fulfill Them
Many freelancers pursue assignments and try to complete them without bothering about what clients really want out of it.
These freelancers are self centered, and look at things from their own perspective. They complete assignments as they want them to be, and don’t consider the client’s motive, resulting in the client rejecting the projects. This is a common reason for failure.
A failed freelancer should consider what a client needs out of each project. Before commencing a project, ask your client what they want to see in the finished product. Work on assignments with the goal of fulfilling the client’s objectives, not your own.
Sometimes, a client would like you to include details that you feel don’t fit the assignment, but the client told you to, so it should be done that way.
Don’t Break Promises
Promises aren’t just related to deadlines. There are a number of times when a freelancer promises to deliver assignments as per the requirement, but doesn’t have a clue about the project. They take the job because they need it, but since they doesn’t know anything about the subject they commit a blunder, and makes a mess of the project.
If you go on undertaking assignments you don’t know anything about, you’re bound to fail. It also damages your reputation. Understand the value of commitment, and know that breaking it too often will ruin your career.
Avoid breaking promises. Undertake only assignments you know about, even if it means waiting for the right project. Such initiatives will help rebuild your career.
If you’re preparing to bounce back from a freelancing business failure, then the most effective way would be to start specializing in a particular segment. Specializing in a segment will help you to get noticed. You can plan your work and market your skills accordingly, to target clients properly.
Remember, bouncing back isn’t easy, and the narrower your focus the easier it’ll be for you to negotiate it. Specialization can work wonders. It makes the recovery process faster and helps you master your skills efficiently without having to worry about too many other things.
Finally, bouncing back is an attitude. If you believe you can get back, you can. Just choose the right path.