Being a freelance writer has its benefits, you’re the boss, you control the hours you want to work and which days you want to take off. But if it was that easy wouldn’t everyone be freelance? Most freelance writers will have a horror story to tell you about an issue that occurred that they weren’t expecting, from payment problems to terrible clients to work with this article is about the different ways avoid freelance nightmares. Some of the troubles are unavoidable, but there are ways to manage any problems you’re dealt which will reduce your stress and resolve the issue quicker. Here are the nine ways to avoid freelance nightmares.
Creating a Business Plan
Always remember that you are working for yourself and not having a superior set you targets to achieve can make you complacent in your work. Creating a business plan isn’t for anyone else’s benefit other than your own, having weekly, monthly and yearly targets for your freelancing will help incentivise your career goals. A business plan being put into place will help in avoiding lower standards and targets, and even if it isn’t a good week/ month you know what you need to do to pull it back to achieve the year goals. As a freelancer, you don’t have to have big career goals you might be content in what you are doing currently, but the business plan can also keep you in line to achieve the same standard daily.
Using a Website
The key to success in a career in freelance writing is being credible, trustworthy and unique content, creating a website is crucial to show off these credentials. Having a website will show potential and current customers your professionalism and how seriously you take your work, you don’t want to be seen as a part-timer who doesn’t take the work seriously, likely clients won’t take you seriously either. A website is a perfect support for your work, you can use it to archive your work and use it as a guide and reference to other clients.
Social media should be used by all freelance writers, it is a free service to advertise your skills and raise awareness of your articles. Most clients also encourage you to display the articles and their websites of your social media pages, keeping clients happy with the works and effort you put in will keep them interested in return for high standard work in the future. If you aren’t particularly a fan of Facebook, for example, profiles on Twitter and LinkedIn are very easy to set up and low maintenance to keep updated with current work. Once your career becomes visible on social media the upkeep that you will need to do will reduce and it will require minimal effort to advertise on there.
Enjoy Who You Work With
Effort and enthusiasm are essential for showing clients that you love the work you do for them and will encourage repeat business. However, there will be occasions that a bad client comes into the scene, usually, you won’t realise until you’ve begun working for them. Working for a bad client can really demotivate you in your career, which isn’t healthy for future goals, whether a client is being aggressive, unfair or unprofessional it isn’t worth working for them. Maintaining your professionalism and completing the work is advised but try not to work with people you don’t enjoy too in the future.
A truly unavoidable nightmare in some situations, a client taking legal action against you is unpredictable and most likely unjust. Being employed by a large organisation usually includes professional liability insurance to protect employees, but freelancers don’t receive the same benefits. All freelancers should invest in freelancer insurance to support their career through thick and thin. Clients can turn sour if anything goes wrong so having insurance to protect your future is necessary. Business insurance is also important to protect your career, this protects your tangible items such as your home office and personal items you use during work. Insurance can be forgotten and freelancers can take risks but it’s never worth it, the insurance isn’t costly and can help in tight situations when going through a tough period.
Freelancing can be a tough job, especially in the beginning. Trying to take on as much work as possible to ensure your career stays profitable is understandable but some freelancers can overload and burnout. People become freelancers because they enjoy writing and the adjustable timetable and overworking can potentially begin to make you dissatisfied with your career. Creating time in the week to mentally unwind will help you to appreciate the work you do and encourage your enthusiasm to return. There are always going to be busy weeks with tight deadlines but consider the future and when you can make time for yourself it’ll really help your work rate.
Taxes and Invoicing
It might seem simple at first, you create a price for work and a client pays for services rendered, transaction complete? Sadly, it isn’t the case and taxes and payments need to be recorded from day one. Any freelancers will tell you how important this is to organise as you a solely responsible for payments. Whilst starting out as a freelance seeking advice on how to deal with finances will really help, but the guidelines can differ in the UK and USA for example. Invoicing is another essential part of a freelancer’s career, dealing with multiple clients with different prices and agreements made can be difficult to keep on top of. Invoicing software is available for everyone to use and depending on which one you pick they can be free, all freelancers should stay on top of their finances in busy and quiet periods of work and it will ensure you a paid on time and give the client a sense of professionalism from yourself.
Avoid Content Farms
A content farm is a website that is known for producing large quantities of articles commonly of low quality for the purpose of appearing high on the lists of return results. Content farms are known for paying low prices for content produced and don’t encourage good work. It is tempting as a novice freelancer to begin to work for a content farm but the benefits are almost none existent, the pay is low and demand for content is high. Over time it is likely to affect the quality of the work you produce and this will affect how you are perceived by potential clients. The recognition is slim and the content farms treat their writers like robots and aren’t considerate of writer’s goals.
This advice comes from feedback and personal experiences, hopefully, most freelancers don’t have to experience these nightmares but occasionally it’s nice to know how to handle a situation before it escalates into a bigger problem. If a freelancer continues to write well and focuses on their career goals they will progress in the right direction. A good when to start out in freelancing is to have a part-time job to cover all important mostly outgoings, as your freelancing career and experiences progress you can move into it as your full-time job and truly reap the rewards.