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There are two types of failures in freelancing that anyone can experience, failing on meeting the requirements set by the client and failing to find one. For beginners in the universe of freelancing, readiness is always an issue. For successful freelancers, there is always the fear of losing it all because of a simple mistake or because of the tight competition, clients can choose another freelancer who can do better.
As every freelancers know now, being one is not an easy task. It takes a specific set of skills to get a living from freelancing. It’s not all about mastering every programming languages or every design techniques, it’s about attitude towards work and yourself.
The thing that most freelancers have in common is that they can’t work without someone lashing whips on them. I’ll tell you my story below.
Thinking of being a freelancer? Read The Signs That You’re Ready To Start Freelancing to have an idea if you are ready or not.
Image by: Sigurd Decroos
Not having a plan before setting out towards freelancing is a sure way to hit a wall.
If you have already begun working as a freelancer, not having a plan means not being able to focus. Remember that you are, most of the time, unsupervised and can do whatever you want, but is that really what you want? With a computer and the internet in front of you comes several great things that may distract you from work: Youtube, Facebook, and Online Games (if these aren’t related to your work).
You don’t have a plan? Good luck! I was once an junior administrator/moderator of a website and forum, everything’s going pretty awesome for weeks so I started thinking that nothing wrong is going to happen anytime soon. So instead of working and maintaining the site and reading the news for exploits I sat on my couch, booted my PS2 and started playing Suikoden 5. Two days later I checked my inbox and found out many complaints about a guest account posting links to dangerous websites. The thing is, guest posting is disabled and the senior administrator was, in purest ill luck, away.
For all I know my job is to keep things in order while the senior admin is away (I was a 2nd year college student at that time). And that’s my first major failure, I did not know what to do. My esteem dropped to zero, and being quite immature back then I was invisible in every IMs for a whole week, avoiding my boss. *laughs*
Image by: rore_d
In the event that you fail either in a project at hand or the freelancing idea, what should you do next? Let’s have a concrete example:
I have a friend who is a web developer working at home for a UK-based company. One time he sent me an IM telling he accidentally deleted a table which contains thousands of records because of his “cute” sql script, quickly I deduced that he did not have any backup, true, and he said that he was totally freaked out. While telling his boss about the accident, he said to me “I opened a new tab in my browser to start looking for a job.” He was very sure that he’s going to be fired! On that day the company he’s working on lost thousands of dollars. Now that is an epic fail for any developer! The good thing that happened? 1. His boss always kept a backup, 2. He is still working for that company, 3. He learned to keep his files secured before running another cute sql script. The bad thing? The horror of running a script will always haunt him.
I’m calling it a cute sql script because it’s not even 160 characters in length but can extremely damage an entire project and a career.
Image by: Tory Byrne
It’s not the end of the world, it happens to everyone. Maybe you have lost your confidence in your skills or you started hating your choices, it’s alright. It’s absolutely normal to sulk in a corner, but not for a whole week! Who’s gonna pay the bills?!*laughs*
After making a grave error it is important to assess yourself on what damage your esteem received, why it happened and how to prevent such from happening again. Of all the things clients like, responsibility is at the top of their list.
Work during working hours, if you love playing games over the internet then disconnect your computer from the internet for a while to gain focus. Or wait for Saturday to come!
Always keep in mind that someday, something troublesome will happen in your work. It may be a bothersome client or boss, or something like what I’ve experienced and what my developer friend had, the thing is you should know what to do when things go awry. No one is exempted. Having a concrete SOP works.
If your plans in keeping the destruction of the world at bay fails, there should always be a backup plan. Don’t expect for miracles.
Over a week ago I had the chance to read the ranting of a full-time blogger. According to him Google banned him from displaying their ads permanently. The trouble for him? His main source of income is through the Google ads in his blog.
Image by: Sanja Gjenero
Keep in mind that 10% of what you earn is yours. Keep it, save it in your bank and never ever touch it until absolutely needed. Some readers will now be thinking “it’s 100% mine!” No! You are paying the bills, spending for food and some vanities right?
A friend shared a formula for saving money, wherever he got it I did not inquire, he goes “Income – Expenses = Savings right?” I nodded and he continued “but it should be Income – Savings = Cost”
There are times when even if things are going as planned, you want to just give up and do something exciting. Working at home for several months will make you feel tired and bored, you may even consider applying for a job in an office setting (I bet half of you still visit Jobstreet and other job boards even if you already have a job).
Such a feeling is normal, all you have to do is be inspired in the work you do once again! Feeling Uninspired? Find Inspiration!
Have you made an error in your freelancing career? How did you manage to overcome it? Feel free to share!
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Rean is the editor of 1stwebdesigner. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development. Rean also writes at Knowledge Salad, a blog filled with weird and interesting facts. One of his goals is to help his fellow Filipinos earn money online, to help them build a career out of working from home, just like what he has been doing for years now.