Becoming a freelancer has a LOT of perks, and many people with desk jobs regularly express envy about the freelancing lifestyle. What they may not know is that while there are a lot of great things about the life of freelance designers, there are also challenges that people who have 9 to 5 jobs may not have to worry about.
Whether you’re a starting freelance designer, or you’re still in the process of making the decision to take the leap, it is good to know about the common challenges freelance designers face. With knowledge comes power – the power to face those challenges and overcome them.
Here are some of the most common challenges freelance designers face, and how you can deal with them.
Uncertainty is perhaps the biggest challenge freelance designers have to deal with, especially when it comes to finances. While you have more control over your work hours, you do not have the stability of receiving a paycheck every month.
This also means the possibility – nay, probability – of having more difficulty in getting a loan or a credit card when the need arises. It is thus important that you know your credit rating inside out, and that you understand what contributes to your credit score. That way, you can go for services and products that will fit your standing without having to worry about damaging your credit rating. One thing you can do to ensure this is to use tools such as credit comparison expert Totally Money’s free tool, which will help you understand your credit score.
Another thing you will need to learn as a freelance designer is to create a budget and stick to it. Also, build up a savings account so that when lean months come – and they will, trust me – you will have something to dip into.
Going freelance has become more and more popular in recent years, and you are certainly going to face competition. A lot of it – and from all over the world, too.
How do you deal with this? Maintain your edge. Continue learning and honing your skills. Always know what the trends are, and if you need further training, invest in that.
You’ll also need to monitor the going rates so that you can charge what is optimal both for you and the client.
One thing about freelancing is that you need to develop a thick hide. Rejection will always come at some point, and you need to realize that more often than not, it is not personal. Many factors will come into play, and sometimes, you just might not be what a client is looking for.
More so, you know how some clients can be difficult, and no matter how awesome your work is, they might have a different idea. So yeah, don’t take things personally all the time, and when you are faced with rejection, take it on the chin and move on. There will always be another project, another client.
All creatives are prone to dry spells. They surely come as the sun rises every day. When you do encounter a dry spell, do not despair. There are many ways to deal with blocks, just as writers and other creatives do.
Do something else. Read your favorite design websites. Take a walk. Play a game.
Then hunker down and squeeze those juices out of your creative brain.
Last, but definitely not the least, is discipline – or the lack thereof. Anyone can have the desire to become a freelance designer, but not everyone has the discipline to stick to a work schedule that will produce timely results.
There is something to be said about working from home or wherever you feel comfortable, that it ramps up your productivity. However, the hard truth is that it is also difficult to focus on tasks with all the potential distractions around you – the TV, the inviting sofa, the PS3, and the list goes on and on.
What you have to realize is that being a freelance designer does not mean you don’t need a working schedule. It may not be as rigid as having a desk job, but in order to get things done and keep money coming in, you do need to find that rhythm which will keep you productive but not overworked. Consider what you do as a business, and you’ll find more incentive to enforce self-discipline.
These challenges may seem daunting taken all together, but in fact, every freelancer faces them, and guess what? Many have succeeded, and so can you!
Author: Noemi Twigg
Noemi is a freelance writer/editor and geek round the clock. You can follow her on Twitter @noemiruth.