3 Things You Should Consider Before Starting a Freelance Biz

by Alexa Mason · 13 comments

freelance writer

With the unemployment rate still fairly high, freelance businesses have exploded. Many people who were laid off in the recession are now using their knowledge to start freelance businesses.

Freelancing has also become popular among stay-at-home parents, who are now able to supplement their family’s income on their own terms.

There’s no doubt about it: having a freelance business can be great. You get to pick your own hours, choose what type of work you do, and be your own boss.

I’ve been freelancing for around a year now, and I’m constantly examining my progress to see how I can improve.

In my year of freelancing, here are the three biggest things I’ve learned:

1. Finding clients takes time

You’re probably thinking this is obvious. And you’re right: it is. But, until they give it a try, I think most people underestimate how much of a challenge it is to find clients.

It’s nice to think that if you find a couple of clients and do a great job, your inbox will be flooded with people wanting to work with you — but that’s rarely how it works.

After speaking with several other freelancers, the consensus seems to be that clients finding them is a rare occurrence (although it does happen on occasion). You have to be willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone and market your services.

freelance writer2. You get out what you put in

When I first decided to give freelancing a try, I was still working two day jobs. At this point, my freelance work was very minimal, and I’d squeeze it in every night after my kids were in bed.

The work gradually started picking up, so I went down to one day job. Then it picked up even more, and I decided I’d try freelancing full time. Then something happened: I started slacking.

When I had the day jobs, I desperately wanted to freelance full time, so I was constantly marketing myself. By the time I was ready to go full time, I was on the verge of burnout. I took it easy for a couple months and, because of that, my income remained stagnant.

Over the past month, I’ve started to pick up the pace again, and I’ve already seen a nice increase in the amount of work I’ve gotten.

Freelancing can be super competitive — but if you’re willing to put yourself out there and work hard, then you’ll see growth. If you sit back and wait for people to come to you, your business will decline or remain stagnant.

3. Work comes in spurts

For many people, the biggest drawback of freelancing full time is the instability of pay. Of course, the more established you are, the more stable your pay will be, but even extremely successful freelancers face setbacks.

There are weeks when I doubt myself due to very little work coming in. And then there are weeks I’ll be so busy that I can barely keep my head on straight.

In the end, I’ve made at least enough money to cover my bills each month — but there have definitely been days, and even weeks, when the instability of freelancing has given me a scare.

What are you waiting for?

I’ve fully enjoyed trying to build my own freelance business over the last year. Despite some of the setbacks I’ve faced, I’ve managed to make it work each and every month.

If starting a freelance business is one of your goals, I encourage you to get started today. Keep your day job and start freelancing on the side. As your business grows, your eyes will open to a new world of possibilities.

Do you want to start freelancing? What are YOU waiting for?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Walter says:

    Absolutely right about the difficulty in finding clients. You could have the best service in the world, but without clients, you’re out of business. Easy to underestimate advertising costs when it comes to this!

    • David @ MoneyNing.com says:

      Advertising IS expensive. That’s why word of mouth is so important. Not only is it free, but clients that actually approach you first is already qualified and much more ready to buy from you!

  • Papa Foxtrot says:

    One thing many people forget is that the average business makes less than the average worker. The reason why is because workers work for a stable income while business owners do not. Unfortunately, businesses frequently make 0 for the exact reasons you wrote about and most people do not know what the risks and efforts they have to put in to make a business.

    • David @ MoneyNing.com says:

      The peace of mind that comes with dependable income is so underrated. On the other hand, business owners can often strike it big so it’s the classic case of “big risk, big reward”.

      I obviously chose the small business route and it worked out for me. Hopefully it’ll work out for more people no matter their path!

  • Danielle Ogilve says:

    The instability is a little intimidating but it works for some people!

  • Alex says:

    Love the writing, very tidy. For me it’s the very act of waiting and hoping that I fear most. But you’re right, if we don’t push ourselves it’s near impossible to succeed.

  • Derek @ MoneyAhoy.com says:

    One thing for folks to consider is starting up their freelancing business on the side while still working. This way they can kinda ease their way into it without risking everything…

  • M. Catlett says:

    Your current job and the customers you serve in them are opportunities for growth as a professional and to gain a reputation. If you quest to be a freelancer, don’t overlook your current position’s rich possibilities.

  • Jj says:

    Great thing about freelancing is that it doesn’t require a lot of capital upfront to earn an income.. Still, it is more challenging to work for yourself, but at least you feel there is some control over your future.

  • Property Marbella says:

    Freelance jobs are available in many different forms, I myself am a real estate Agency and working from home, my wife is a singer and dance teacher and has been busy with job every day, several of our friends freelancing in different occupations, and we all enjoy it, but we must work harder than if we had been employed.

  • Alex @ CreditCardXPO says:

    I think freelancing works pretty much the same as having your own business. Finding clients/customers is always the hardest, especially when you are first starting. I’m glad you are doing pretty good for yourself only after doing it for about a year!

  • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    These are all definitely things to look out for and know going in to a freelancing endeavor. The nice thing is that over time you can build a successful business, as long as you’re willing to put in the hard work.

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