Margaret has been working as a freelance writer and translator. All her tips and insights come from her own experience.
Being a new freelancer can be hard. When I first started my freelancing career, I had no one to guide me, and I learned everything I now know through trial and error. Although it has been an interesting journey, there are some crucial things I wish I knew beforehand.
When it comes to freelancing, people usually offer you advice on how to find clients, manage your projects and time, or market yourself. As essential as these things might be, there are a few other key points that most people fail to mention, which are equally—if not more—important.
1. Safeguard Your Mental Health
Freelancing doesn't always equal a dream lifestyle. It also comes with a lot of loneliness, anxiety, and insecurity—especially when you’re a beginner. With a typical 9-to-5 job, everything is preorganized. You are told what to do and how to do it. You are given guidelines. With freelancing, however, there are times when you might found yourself in the midst of chaos.
Having to do everything by yourself, constantly searching for new clients and additional income sources, and learning how to properly manage your time can have a negative impact on your mental health. That's why it's imperative that you learn to safeguard your mental health. Here are some tips on how to stay mentally healthy as a new freelancer.
Mental Health Tips for Newer Freelancers
- Set realistic goals: You won’t be making thousands of dollars in your first months of freelancing. It takes time and effort to figure things out, set your prices, find clients, and generate consistent income. The sooner you realize this, the less anxiety you'll welcome into your life.
- Make sure you interact with people: Loneliness is one of the main problems you have to deal with when working remotely. Make an effort to regularly catch up with friends and family or join a freelance coworking community.
- Learn how to manage rejection: Whether we like it or not, as a freelancer, you’re going to hear "no" so many times you’ll lose count. Don’t let that discourage you, and don’t beat yourself over it. Something else always comes through.
2. Work Out the Logistics
Part of the reason many new freelancers feel so lost, anxious, and insecure when they first enter the freelance market is that there are so many things they don’t take the time to learn about. Most importantly, many who are new to the freelance world fail to consider the logistics of the job.
For example, when I first decided to start working as a freelance writer, I thought that I would land a client, do the writing, deliver it, and get paid. Yet, things weren't that simple. I realized that there are other things that you have to do when you’re a freelance writer. Pitching, project tracking, and invoicing are only a few of them.
The takeaway here is to make sure you know the basics of managing a project, pricing, invoicing, and putting together a basic working contract before searching for your clients. Otherwise, you might find yourself facing a lot of dead ends.
3. Arm Yourself With the Right Tools
Working as a freelancer pretty much means that you’re a business owner. Your goal is to attract clients. To do so, you have to be seen as professional and worthy of their time (and money).
Without the right tools, not only will you struggle to build a client network, but your business will also eventually fail. At the beginning of my journey as a freelance writer, I didn't even have editing software, a grammar checker, or a keyword-research tool. Luckily, I quickly realized their necessity.
The tools you need vary depending on the type of freelancer you are, but there are some that all freelancers need to have. For example, investing in editing software and an e-mail marketing app or creating a personal website is usually necessary for your freelance business.
Good Luck Out There!
There’s no denying that freelancing is one of the most exciting jobs out there. It’s also a job that can transform your life.
Before you hit the ground running, however, make sure you do your research and learn both the advantages and drawbacks of this career and lifestyle. That way, you’ll be able to avoid certain mistakes and conserve a lot of time and mental energy.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Margaret Pan