How to Deal With Freelance Uncertainty and Stay in the Business
One of my mates has quit recently. We were sharing the same table at our neighborhood coworking space...
I mean, he has quit freelancing and found a 9 to 5 job.
One day came up and he said that he'd got an offer and was going to join a company X. (Not from the FAANG list)
He hasn't been freelancing for a long time. The project he was working on, finished and he decided to switch from freelance to a stable local full-time job.
Not surprisingly, his main concern was a lack of stability and permanent uncertainty. The main downside of being a freelancer is.
Common Reasons to Quit Freelance
Juggling Freelance With Fulltime Job
The second most common reason is to quit at the very beginning when trying to have a full-time job and freelance at the same time. That's the best way to perform badly in both places and burn out.
Afterward, share a negative experience with everyone.
It seems that some jobs are more exposed to burnout than others.
However, burnout is very common for the majority of freelancers and remote workers I know. The problem is triggered by an uncontrolled working schedule, responsibility, and a high level of stress.
As for me, I do sometimes burn a little bit. But it seems to be more like my personal feature than the guilt of freelance type of work. When I had a full-time job before I burned TIMES more intensive.
Here is the story of my greatest burnout.
Inability to Organize Yourself
I really suck at time management. I cannot live and work following any daily schedule. My every second day is very spontaneous and my productivity is very volatile.
To be honest I'm almost always late for every common event. I suppose that's because I'm too much optimistic about things I can do. Furthermore, the timespan I use to measure and feel the time is just larger than punctual people use.
Nevertheless, I'm really good at getting things done and long-term planning.
Sometimes I hear from people that they cannot organize themself and get the tasks done. I'm sorry guys, but perhaps you need a big boss that will make you get things done and control you if you cannot do it yourself.
One of the most painful problems is non-paying clients. That may sound rude, but clients from developed countries usually turn out to be times more accurate at paying invoices than others. That's the way out.
Freelance is Addictive
Once became a freelancer, a full-time 9 to 5 job will always seem like a step back. You won't probably want to go back.
How to Stay in Freelance Business
Let Your Freelance Business Grow
If you do not want to quit you should grow. Freelance is like a business. You are your business. You have to run to stay in the same place. You have to run very fast to move forward.
Financial Management and Stability
Freelance doesn't actually bring a lot of extra uncertainty and instability. In reality, it just exposes the hidden uncertainty of a "stable" job. Your stability is not a concern of your boss anymore. Now it's your concern and responsibility.
Financial stability relates to financial management in the same way as deadlines to project management. Fucked up deadlines are more related to poor planning and management, than poor development.
Similarly, financial stability is the result of proper financial planning and management than the variability of incomes.
Financial stability is the result of proper financial planning and management than the variability of incomes.
While deadlines are about project management and financial stability is about financial management. Skills are about projects you are working on.
Skills are about projects you are working on.
Picking up the right projects can make your skill grow out of the box.
New technologies, new frameworks, new project scales. Grow by working on new things and moving out of a comfort zone. Grow just by doing your job, that's very interesting.
It doesn't matter how cool and skillful you are if nobody knows about it. I like Upwork because it allows doing automated and fair marketing by just doing your job well. Since my time resources are limited, it makes a lot of sense.
How I Was Fighting Uncertainty
At the very beginning, I was trying to achieve some kind of safe freelancing setup and ended up with three simultaneous projects.
- One of them was a full-time but with ~1 week breaks between 1–2 weeks-long iterations on average.
- The second one was 60% full-time but without tough deadlines
- The third project was planned as a tiny upgrade of an existing app, also without tough deadlines, but turned out to be a much larger piece of work than expected.
My level of stress was immeasurable and my work-life balance was completely ruined.
Endless every day switches between tasks and projects — my personal nightmare that lasted a little more than three months without any break.
Do I need to say how exhausted I was getting back home late every day and telling myself that the only way out was to finish all tasks and release, without dropping any of the projects? I was literally DEADLY exhausted.
There are only two positive things about that story. The first is that I didn't let down the clients by dropping any of them. I got on time everywhere. The second is a lesson.
I do not get involved in more than one project at a time anymore. That’s a fake safe that leads to a lower quality of work and infinite suffering.
When starting freelance it’s not easy to find projects. That’s why it’s not easy to find the courage to say “NO” to new projects.