It's no secret that I love freelancing. Who wouldn't? The freedom, the different sources of income, the inadvertent sense of power and control I have in setting my own hours, rates, and even clients.
With that said, freelancing is undoubtedly not for the faint of heart, and if you're looking for an easy escape route from working for the man, this isn't the simplest way to do it- not by a long shot.
Patience is Just as Important as Motivation
Motivation and grit matter tremendously. They're the forces helping you grind out projects, taking the work that nobody else wants, pouring your heart and soul into assignments that may never actually come to fruition.
If you don't have either of these tenants, you're going to burn out either very quickly or in a languid and insidious manner. Both of them are equally painful in different ways.
With that said, for every ounce of motivation you have, patience can matter just as much. At the beginning of your freelance journey, you don't have a roadmap. You may not have referrals. You may not even have a real clue about what you're doing! Therefore, it would be foolish and naive to expect money to fall into your lap instantaneously.
The world doesn't work that way, and the freelance universe will never operate on such casual terms. You'll learn that any freelancing project takes time. I wrote for years before I made my first penny. After that, it took a year or two for me to even spin real money out of my words.
Rejection Happens (And It's Ok!)
I'm at a blessed point in my freelancing where clients now pursue me. That didn't happen overnight, and it's not a phenomenon I take for granted. And guess what? I still apply for some opportunities, and I still get rejected. All the time.
At first, it stung. After all, how dare they dismiss my quality work? How dare they hire out someone else? Don't they know who I am?
Now, it's just part of the ever-changing game. I've healed that perfectionistic part of me into something far more reasonable. You know that cliche- don't take it personally? I think someone created it for business owners and freelancers. You develop a thick skin, whether you like it or not, and you learn to become comfortable with things that feel uncomfortable.
Assert Your Needs
There are plenty of clients who somehow relate that that term freelance means free, as in they can pay the lowest rate possible for excellent work. Some writers will always charge less than me. Likewise, some writers charge more.
I don't work for free. I don't let clients shaft me around with ridiculous needs or unfair contracts. At first, I probably undersold myself (as most freelancers do), desperate for contract work, portfolio boosters, and the infamous exposure clients offered me. Today, I pride myself on providing quality work with reasonable expectations. My relationship with my clients is a two-way street. If they can't respect that, we just aren't going to work out. Simple as that.
Nicole A is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and professional freelance writer. She is passionate about helping people uncover and unleash their authentic selves (both in her therapy and written work). Nicole enjoys blogging about mental health, addiction, and self-esteem.