These are the Problems that every Freelancer Faces

time zones

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Guide: These are the Problems that every Freelancer Faces

We all react differently to new situations and scenarios, based on our backgrounds, adaptability and many other factors that determine who we are. The transition from working full-time to freelancing is one of those moments in a professional’s life. We feel like we were thrown into the deep end of the pool, with no game plan to get out of the pool from the other side.

This question is one that many freelancers and to be fair, seasoned professionals ask of themselves throughout their careers. Before you just dive into freelancing, you need to do that determine what you can expect from yourself as a freelancer should you decide to make the switch.

To help you with this, below are some common scenarios you might find yourself in as a freelance professional, and how to remedy that situation or feel whether it is a negative, or thrive from it in times of prosperity.

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Working time zones

“My customers are always in completely different time zones, how can I manage this?”

Just like the nature of the freelancer game, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with employers from all over the world. This, of course, means getting great experiences, interacting with new customers, and a whole host of culture sets that are different from your own.

However, it also means that you will have to deal with customers in different time zones who are completely alienated from yours. The way most freelancers deal with this is with common sense planning

A compromise

There is no point in getting up at 3am to discuss a project with a client, you and the client should discuss the project at a time that is somewhere accessible to both of you. If it’s 8 a.m. your time and 5 p.m. client’s time, then this is still a workable time frame. A mutual compromise on time zone management is the best way to get things done in this scenario.

However, if all of this seems too difficult for you, it can also work to focus your marketing efforts on a handful of time zones that fall around yours. By serving a clear range of countries that make up the majority of your customer base, this is not only more comfortable for you, but also useful because of the familiarity your clients are likely to have with your portfolio of previous work.

I recommend this option if you feel like you need to get your feet wet, or you want to build a strong semi-local customer base

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Different currencies

“I’m constantly dealing with multiple currencies and I find it a challenge.”

Since you will be dealing with multiple locales, you could expect to be dealing with multiple currencies, right? Not necessary. In the freelancing world, the US dollar is generally accepted as a transaction constant for many clients and is something you can use to your advantage depending on where you are located.

different currencies

However, keep a close eye on currency rates as there is currently significant financial instability in many countries, and you should look at what the USD is converting to in your local currency. Sometimes you may see a deviation from up up to 10%, which can really hurt on larger projects your bottom line.

Make it clear

To counter this, I’ve seen contracts that take a number of different approaches. First, you simply define that you are trading only in your local currency, and provide a local representation of what the value of the project will be, in both the customer’s local currency and USD

Second, I’ve seen contingent contracts filed that include a choice of currency based on the closest value to a given USD amount or local amount. These options are both increasingly common as we see more cases of payment uncertainty among freelancers.

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Financial management 101

“I have (at the moment) a large incoming cash flow. Let’s spend it. “

Freelancing, like small businesses, operates in waves of ups and downs. Sometimes it rains dollars, other times you get lucky with a drop. But in the event that you get cashed up, don’t go straight to the stores and buy that fancy watch or piece of jewelry … at least not initially.

financial management

Most seasoned freelancers will advise it is a good idea (see: rule) to keep some extra money in an account to manage the drier periodsYou should take the first chance you get to do this upEven if it’s only a few thousand dollars, this can really take a long time if nothing else comes in. And to be fair, almost all freelancers experience this at some point, regardless of how long they’ve been in the business.

View the cash flow

By making sure you keep a close eye on your incoming cash flow and aren’t tempted to spend your windfalls every time they come in, you’ll be much better off. That’s not to say you should never spend them, but I recommend doing this just a few times a year so you can be sure you do take care of that back-up to protect your well-being

The unfortunate reality of beautiful watches or jewelry is that they look great, feel great, and should be something you should reward yourself with (if that’s your vice), but they don’t buy groceries. So play it wisely, try to put it into income-generating investments (including yourself), and you’ll be fine.

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Man the counter

“I love being my own boss, but it can be exhausting.”

Being your own boss is one of the most compelling reasons for many freelancers to make the switch to freelancing. However, it can be exhausting, it can take you away from your specialization (which in many cases is why you pursued freelancing in the first place), and it will force you to make tough decisions for your business.

If you are a detail-oriented person this is a great thing. However, it can also be a major drawback if you don’t use that power to your advantageFor example, if you are someone who takes pride in giving the customer an excellent result, that’s great. However, if you are a person who cannot live up to this without running yourself into the ground and reach it without making a profit, then this is problematic.

Jack / Jill of all transactions

As a freelancer, you must be able to deliver top-notch work, manage finances, marketing and customer interaction, and you must do this efficiently. The best way to become a great freelance boss is to take a good look at your strengths, your business, and what you can accomplish in the available time you have.

Jack-Jill-of-all-trades

Since you most likely have obligations with friends and family, be realistic that freelancing isn’t necessarily a one-person job. Connect to your professional network, outsource an accountant, outsource freelancers so you can bid on larger projects, hire a freelancer with marketing skills on a semi-regular basis, and for free up your time to focus on doing a great job for the client.

It may take time for the balance to be right, but by doing this, you will avoid burnout, and provide better service to your customers.

I’ve lost my work-life balance

It’s very common for freelancers to isolate themselves, work too hard, and forget to keep the balance in their lives. If this is you, don’t worry, you just have to be actively aware that you are doing this, and take a few simple steps to fix the problem

For example, if you are working from home, change the environment by working in a coworking space, public library or even a suitable coffee shop to change things upIf you probably will mobile, work somewhere near a friend’s workplace so you can meet them for lunch.

Go for a run in the morning before work, cook yourself a fantastic lunch home, or walk down the road to the local coffee shop to take a break up your day.

Create real-world connections for businesses

As a freelancer you have to be actively aware of this you must contactWhile there are huge opportunities online for freelancers, you need to balance that with real world interactions.

By taking the time to balance your freelancing life, you are too much more likely to meet new customers (especially in places like co-working spaces), develop a whole new subset of friends and really broaden your horizons. Most freelancers don’t realize the fantastic opportunity they have been given through their flexibility, so take the chance to do it!

make real-world connections

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Conclusion

Freelancing is a great way to end follow your passion and earn a living, but there are big differences between freelancing full-time and working for private companies. The good news is that many have followed in your footsteps before, and there is a lot of information about it how to become a successful freelancer – plus what you can do to get the most out of yourself.

By recognizing the common areas freelancers tend to be challenging, and developing solutions that will help you overcome these obstacles, you are really going to help yourself to dive into the pool (of sharks) as a freelance professional and get ahead.

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Paul Dunstone for Hongkiat.com.

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