There’s an art to happy freelancing, and if you’ve mastered the knack PLATF9RM would love to know your secrets.
Don’t be afraid to grab us in the corridor and tell us; until then, here’s nine perennial problems freelancers face on an all-too- frequent basis.
1. THE BRITISH GUILT OF CHASING INVOICES
Obviously, mistakes do happen: E-mails get accidentally deleted, people go on holiday, Susan from accounts takes a fortnight off to mourn the passing of her cat, Squabbles. There are plenty of reasons why an invoice goes missing and we get that, we honestly do. But there is a literally nothing as galling as repeatedly chasing an invoice for a job you’ve already done, having your emails ignored, yet somehow experiencing a particularly British type of guilt at inconveniencing them with your pleas to get paid.
2. THE 'FEAST OF FAMINE' COMPLEX
The good times come and the good times go, but in the land of the freelancer it feels like you’re either inundated with business or experiencing a full-blown existential crisis after one day without work. Out tip? Learn to appreciate the low times. This leads rather nicely to…
3. HOW DO I SAY NO TO WORK?
You’re already drowning in work, you’re sleeping four hours a night, you’ve eaten a McDonald’s breakfast for the the fourth time this week. Then a good job lands in your inbox; how do you possibly say no? What if the client never come back? Will you live out the rest of your days in doubt, pondering whether this job – like Karen Sullivan from Chemistry class in year 11 – will nibble at your soul forever as the ‘one that got away’?
Let it go. Your product will be poorer. If they like you, they’ll come back. And if not, there’s plenty more Karen Sullivan's in the world.
4. THE INESCAPABLE LURE OF THE FRIDGE
For the work-from- homers, the fridge is both generous friend and most-dangerous foe.
Sent an email? Go to the fridge. Finished that assignment? Go to the fridge? Someone’s come to the door? Quickly dispatch them and spend the next fifteen minutes picking at a two-month-old bag of grated cheese. The struggle is real.
5. THE GREAT EXPOSURE phenomenon.
If you work in the creative industries, people seem to think it’s acceptable to ask you to work for free for a seemingly infinite amount of time in exchange for ‘exposure’ or ‘contacts’.
Yeah, uhm, it’s not.
6. Quoting and charging appropriately
Hey kid, you’re a pro. Maybe you went to university, maybe you didn’t. Either way, don’t undersell yourself and think you have to go in bottom dollar. No-one wants to get stuck doing a job half-arsed because they’ve not charged the amount that their skills deserve.
7. Finding time to meet other freelancers going through the same sh*t as you
Getting advice from people going through the same experiences as you will make such huge
difference to your ability to cope with times of difficulty (and help you not get ahead of yourself in time of feast).
Frantically ignores the temptation to clear throat loudly, stamp feet and shout ‘PLATF9RM!!!’ here *
8. NOT KNOWING WHY PEOPLE AREN'T USING YOUR IDEAS
When you have a boss who has taken the time to interview you, vet you, consider your
suitability for his or her team and has generally invested time in you as a person rather than a
sheer working entity, then you can expect some feedback when they don’t like your ideas. For a
freelancer, most of the time it’s just a wall of silence as you spend yet another morning staring at the wall and wondering if you are, in fact, terrible at ideas and maybe even at life.
9. HOW MUCH SELF PROMOTION IS TOO MUCH?
At what point do the social media posts pointing to your newest article/completed garden/newly- designed website become less ‘keeping people informed’ and more ‘clogging up newsfeeds with ego-swelling humblebrags’ ? Seriously, you tell us