Many people used to working in an office think about the possibility of changing jobs and becoming a freelancer. In these situations, questions and doubts may arise that involve both the economic and psychological spheres, often ending up limiting the desire to work in complete freedom.
In this article, we will try to outline the main reasons why you are not finding the courage to become a freelancer.
Going freelance means altering your daily routine
Leaving the office, colleagues, a secure job, repetitive hours and maybe even the usual red lights on the home-work route: even though all causes of stress, the real break towards the idea of working as a freelancer is the idea of abandoning this routine.
Building a routine over time, the fact of being inside a comfort bubble that allows us to live more or less peacefully, without unstable situations, keeps us from thinking that we want to get out of this situation and enter a new area, made of new situations, new dynamics and new unexplored paths.
Not knowing what is outside of one’s own stability bubble creates a situation of rejection in our mind, due to anxiety and the fear of never knowing what is outside.
Getting out of your comfort zone on the other hand allows you to start over, to enter a new life which, initially unstable and insecure, lets us start again, reinvent ourselves, get involved and take risks.
It’s a situation where no excuses can be found, where we don’t procrastinate any longer, where every small step is decisive for our success as freelancers. You are always learning new things and you put yourself at risk by defining concrete objectives that only you can achieve. Without a guaranteed salary, of course, but also without “bosses” monitoring your work, and without having to ask anyone for a few days off.
It is therefore the big jump that scares us, but we need to feel ready and able to put our skills and professionalism on the line in order to bring down the competition and look for the best customers.
How to get out of your routine
Getting out of your routine should be a gradual process, not a decision made in stressful or bad times. Generally, the duration of this process should be planned over a period of at least 5-6 months.
During this period, we will be able to evaluate everything necessary to make the “big jump”, building a solid parachute.
First, it is good to put aside some savings, so as not to risk running out of money after a few months in case you don’t find customers, or you don’t earn enough. It is therefore good to build an effective portfolio, to find your own niche, understanding what services are the most sellable and what needs you can meet.
It is likely that you will start from scratch for the first few months or at least from the bottom. So, start to anticipate, acquire new skills or immediately look for possible customers to collaborate with in the coming months.
Being freelance: the fear of not finding customers
Another major cause of not starting a freelance career is the fear of not finding clients or not earning enough money.
As we know, one of the advantages of being freelance is liberty: you can choose how much to work and with whom, and you sometimes have the possibility of establishing how much to earn.
The fact that you no longer have a fixed salary every month will instinctively lead you to find customers and increasingly better jobs.
Not being able to find customers is a problem that often stems from personality. Finding a solution to this is not always easy; you can look for it in the skills acquired, or in the work channels used.
It is essential not to get down if you do not earn as much as your salary in your old life as an employee in the first few months.
The path at the beginning is always uphill; remember that you will start from scratch, so you have to slowly understand what the best channels are for finding a job, how to optimize your profile to attract the best customers, as well as how to offer the most profitable services for your portfolio.
Tips for finding customers as a freelancer
The best way to find freelance jobs is to be found by your customers. Then identify a niche that needs to solve problems based on your skills and structure your services in the best possible way.
Start talking about yourself on the web, open a blog, a YouTube channel, work on personal branding, talk about how you are able to solve problems in your niche of potential customers.
If you want to actively search for a job, identify the channels best suited to your skills where there are ads for those who are looking for a specialist freelancer. Avoid saturated platforms with very cheap labor and concentrate on those with the most interesting ads.
Fear of not earning enough as a freelancer
The economic stability of a fixed salary means that every month we are able to calibrate our expenses, aware of a well-defined fixed income.
Working as a freelancer you never know how much you can earn every month. There will be times when you will earn a lot, others when you will earn less or nothing. You need to be able to create a situation that will guarantee you constant income, and you need to be able to make the most of the opportunity to work as a freelancer earning more money and maybe working less.
Improving your customer portfolio is a constant job, you must always try to increase your hourly or daily rate or offer higher quality services at higher prices.
If you settle for any customer, you risk being part of the mass of freelancers who take everything that comes along, without choosing and evaluating opportunities, without understanding the effort and time to profit from a certain job or a certain customer.
Put yourself in a position to choose and wait for a profitable customer to arrive, one you can assess properly, instead of taking a customer who will pay less and who will be less profitable.
You risk taking a cheap job to earn money and maybe turning down a hypothetical customer who would have paid you twice as much the next week.
Working with unprofitable customers will make you realise that it will be a waste of time, you risk not considering some determinants for your time and your work.
You may have to deal with customers who always need assistance and support and having acquired it at a lower cost than expected, you risk having to waste a lot of time to assist them afterwards, taking precious time from other more profitable collaborations with customers who don’t need continuous support.
You might have to deal with customers who call you all the time, who always contact you for any query and distract you from the activities you are doing. These customers are “toxic” and they are even more so when they are acquired because “at least I have some income”.
Tips for finding more profitable customers
One of the main tips is: don’t settle.
Putting this sentence well in your head is essential to understand and assess which hypothetical customer or project you will be dealing with.
If a customer is not willing to offer you the price you think is right for that project, it means that that customer does not recognise in you the value you provide as a freelancer, does not understand the amount of taxes and everything behind that price: the updates, the courses, your work tools, etc.
You can start putting yourself out there at an average rate for your role and maybe you can initially offer a discount, to get started and get to understand with your first projects how to start from that price and those customers that you have acquired and then improve yourself more, understanding what is good and bad, what is worth doing and at what price.
Remember that if you always stay at your initial price, you will not be able to grow; to earn more money you will be forced to work harder, at the usual price, with the usual type of customers and therefore with the usual effort.
The goal is therefore to work less and earn more so that you will be free to work even 3 hours a day earning as if you were working 8 hours a day with a low hourly rate and with a customer who disturbs you every half hour due to not even knowing how to use a computer.
Avoid word of mouth from people who worked with you at the beginning, if you offered discounted prices to start with, rest assured that that old customer will have recommended you as the one who “does good work at low prices, who will treat you well” or maybe have the same investment of time as that customer who called you every half hour.
In that case, feel free to offer your services at the price you want; it is a good thing not to sell yourself again and if you do well, you will be able to work at a higher cost.
Try to find services that allow you to multiply profit rather than add it.
You can create video courses, or live courses, an e-book or offer subscription services that once developed only need support and maintenance.
In this way, you will be able to develop and sell something once and for all for more people and thus be able to have semi or passive income.
Adopt methodologies to work and receive constant income: do not put yourself in a position to earn different amounts every month, look for constant collaborations that let you know each month how much income you will get and then think how to increase this average monthly income.
As the months go by, you will see that your average monthly income level will rise and you will have a clear overview of the direction you want to take: earn more by working less and in complete freedom.
To find more profitable customers you have to position yourself very well on the web, you have to be able to stand out from everyone else and be recognized as a true leader in what you do.
In this way, your hypothetical customers will have the perception that you are one of the best to contact to solve that particular problem and that they are more willing to perceive a high value in what you do and therefore able to accept the right price for the service you offer.
You always start from the bottom, especially if until the day before you resign as an employee you have achieved a good fixed salary every month.
Take the time you need to start this new life and consider all the points listed in this article.
Create a safe parachute and prepare in advance with the time it takes to become freelance, always remember that you always have time to go back.
Don’t end up with the regret of never having tried, getting out of your comfort zone is a great act of courage that not everyone is able to do, it takes a lot of self-esteem and strong responsibility. If you do everything the right way, you will be able to find profitable customers and by constantly positioning yourself as a leader, you will be able to choose entirely how much and what to offer at what price.
Always remember that you have to stand out from all the others and not belong to the masses of those who are satisfied, you risk pushing your competitors to get low-cost customers who will only take time that you can devote to do other activities rather than answering the phone every half hour.