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5 common challenges for freelancers

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Last editedMay 20222 min read

The freelancer life can be good with more freedom and a better work-life balance, but there are also plenty of freelancer challenges to face. Here we look at the five biggest challenges faced by freelancers and explain how you can overcome them.

Finding clients

Acquiring clients is the most frequently cited challenge faced by freelancers. It is especially an issue for new freelancers who haven’t built up a body of work, nor worked with enough clients to establish a word-of-mouth reputation.

The best thing you can do at the beginning is build up your online presence and use your chosen social media platform to present yourself as an expert in your field. This gives you somewhere to point prospective clients to verify your abilities and gain some insight into what you can do for them.

Also continue honing how you approach clients. Devise different approaches and track their effectiveness. Above all, be persistent.

Increasing pay rates

Increasing your pay rate is tough for freelancers due to the competitive nature of the job. There will always be someone willing to undercut your rates , let alone if you want to increase them with an established client. You can easily increase the rate you demand for new clients, but you should look to add clear value to your higher rates when you do so.

For example, a good copy writer who understands effective SEO keyword placement is more valuable to a client than someone who is just a good copywriter. Acquire some additional expertise that complements your primary freelance skill and present yourself as a higher-quality freelancer, and thus worth that higher pay rate.

Maintaining productivity

Being your own boss is great until your motivation wavers and you don’t have someone else there to answer to. Maintaining productivity is one of the most significant freelancer challenges as it is the key to overcoming many of the other freelancer problems.

You must identify the time of day you are at your most productive and build your working day around that period. Examine your environment and see which elements help or hinder you. You may need a brighter light, a more comfortable chair, or fewer distractions from pets or outside noise. Perhaps you work better by going somewhere with other people, so try working in places such as:

  • libraries

  • cafes

  • media centres

  • shared workspaces

It’s all about figuring out what works best for you, so pay attention to your moods and what may be affecting them.

Meeting unrealistic demands

Every experienced freelancer is likely to have had clients with unrealistic expectations. All you can do is set very clear and distinctive outlines detailing what it is you can do as freelancer, and exactly what it is you are charging for.

If a client asks for more on top of what was originally agreed, you can refer them back to the outlines. Also make it clear from the beginning that additional work beyond the original agreement incurs additional cost.

Getting paid on time

Another freelancer challenge is ensuring that you actually get paid for your work. While most clients will be professional and organised, some will be less so. Fewer still may be somewhat unprofessional in how they handle payments, so it is good to have a system in place to ensure you get paid on time every time.

Businesses, including freelancers, can get paid up to twice as fast by accepting GoCardless payments on their online invoices. You can collect your payments by Direct Debit automatically whenever they are due, plus you can automate cash collection and reconciliation with your existing invoicing software.

We can help

If you’re interested in finding out more about the challenges faced by freelancers, or any other aspect of your business finances, then get in touch with our financial experts at GoCardless. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

Over 70,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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