The problems that a freelance professional could face are seemingly limitless. From clients who just can’t pay on time to competing with better established firms that are able to undercut your rates, there’s ostensibly no end of problems that affect freelancers.
So why do we do it, i.e. work freelance? For the freedom, for the work-life balance it (supposedly) provides us with and amongst other things, the opportunity to work on projects we enjoy.
Here are seven common problems that freelancers often face and (hopefully) seven viable solutions.
1. You can’t find enough clients to keep your head above water.
This is a common problem many freelancers face and not only when starting out.
There are a number of websites for freelancers to promote themselves and their services on, though don’t limit yourself to one or two, make the most of the abundance of these websites by promoting yourself on as many as you need to, and more importantly, as many as you can manage.
2. Your clients aren’t paying on time (or at all)
This is frustrating and often takes its toll on freelancers’ cash flow. One way to deal with this problem is to ask for a small up-front deposit though bear in mind that this could make your services unappealing to potential clients. This common problem can also be addressed with proper client communication that clearly outlines expected timescales, payment times, etc.
3. Your clients are in different time zones
This is one of the joys of working as a freelancer, i.e. connecting with clients the world over, but it can also be a source of frustration. In addition to proper client communication to the effect that you aren’t rising at 4am for a VoIP meeting, a mutual compromise regarding time zone management is in order. Some freelancers avoid incurring this problem altogether by limiting their clients to manageable time zones.
4. You have to work with different currencies
You can generally expect to have to work with different currencies if you have clients from all four corners of the globe. Currency fluctuations can really harm your bottom line so keep an eye out for currency fluctuations, or alternatively, work in a base currency, e.g. US dollars or the Euro.
5. You’re worried about taxation issues
Taxation is something that we all have to deal with and it’s important to keep your taxation responsibilities under control. Two of your best options here are to work with (for) an umbrella company like GiniWealth or get yourself a good accountant, one with ample experience working with freelancers.
6. You’re experiencing cash flow problems
As a freelancer you’ll generally find that you don’t have the same cash flow options that established businesses do like invoice discounting and factoring. Keeping your personal and business finances distinctly separate is an excellent way of dealing with this, for example paying yourself a small wage and then working out your business finances at convenient times of the year.
7. You find it difficult to enjoy a good work-life balance
A more attractive work-life balance is a prominent reason for freelancing so as to enjoy more time at home with the family, though things have a tendency to work out differently at times. Break up your day with exercise, lunches out, the occasional afternoon (or day) at a local co-working space and set a time to finish work. Many freelancers find that although they have to get up early on occasion it sure beats working into the night and missing out on dinner with the family. Working freelance should be rewarding – Keep it that way.
About the Author:
A London-based company, GiniWealth offers a range of employment solutions including tax efficiency, legal assistance, and tools that help contractors maximise their wealth and expertly plan their future.