The Monday Hangover

Posted: November 24th, 2008

#1 – What Really Keeps Us Back

As a freelancer, there will for sure be times where you’re left thinking ‘How can I do better?’ but continue on to do the same things as always. The goal is to keep growing… and to increase your income in the process. I have fallen into this train of thought many times and finally realized what trully can better yourself, or hold you back: the people you work with and the clients you work for.

For the sake of simplicity, I’ll lump both clients and coworkers together since this applies equally to both. All can be categorized into one of three categories:

1. Trustworthy and reliable – Both you and them are on the same page. Expectations are high as far as meeting deadlines, no delay in communication, payments are received on time. Basically a problem-free relationship.

2. Trustworthy and unreliable – Deadlines may or may not be met on time, delays in responding to emails, often delays in receiving payments. Usually there is always a waiting game being played between the two parties.

3. Not trustworthy and unreliable – Pretty self explanitory. You do the work and are left hung to dry. Payments are late, if they come at all.

Now most freelancers learn quickly that people under #3 are best avoided. We all, of course, learn this the hard way but we do have to eventually. This comes with our profession. What we may not have thought about, however, is that most of our clients and people that we work with fall under #2. Folks, this is a major reason we are held back in our freelance business.

In addition to learning those we need to avoid, we also need to learn to become organized in our profession in order for our business to be a success. Many of us are organized to begin with but many of us have to learn this on the job, like I had to do. The best (and really only way) to do this is to surround yourself with trustworthy, reliable people and, likewise, look for these types of clients.

Not only that, it needs to be done NOW.

How do you do it, you may ask? It’s probably a fact that getting rid of the #2 crew will likely mean you have no work. There is not an easy answer which is pretty much starting from zero by going back to the job boards or the freelance work exchanges and looking for new clients. You did have to start out looking for clients when you first started, however, so this shouldn’t be anything new.

The truth is that all work should be done on a trial basis. From here you can determine whether a project went smoothly and if you would work with the same people again in the future (provided there is future work). If not, move on, plain and simple.

Your wallet and eventually your sanity will thank you in the end.

More on the author, Johnny Spence
Johnny is the founder of The Freelance Rant and a freelance web programmer with 8 years in the business. Have a visit at his company Oscarrr!web or see what he's up to on Twitter.

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