10 freelancing myths

In this current economy many people who have been laid off or let go have thought about turning to freelancing. Some will be successful, others will not. What will be the factor that makes the difference? A realistic vision of what freelancing is like will be the key to success or failure.

Here are 10 common myths — or misconceptions — people commonly have about freelance work:

  1. You will be able to concentrate solely on your specialty. The truth is that you will have to be a jack of all trades. You are first and foremost a small business owner who must market your skills, do the accounting, pay the bills, etc. If you understand that, you will be able to see yourself as a solver of problems and market yourself towards customers needs.

  1. You are free to do what you want. That is true to an extent. You will be free creatively, but you can not ignore the humdrum details such as accounting, sales calls, meetings, etc. All of the things you hated the most on the job are now the stuff of life or, if ignored, the end of your business’ life.

  1. You will not have a boss. Everyone has a boss. Your customers are your boss. They will dictate what you do, when you do it, and how it is to be done. They will even control how and when you get paid.

  1. You will have plenty of leisure time now that you are not tied to an employer. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Your employer used to do the little things like worry about the bills, find new work and distribute work evenly to meet deadlines. Now all of that is on you. You may find that there are not enough hours in the day for it all. I typically work 10 hours a day or more to maintain my business.

  1. Good work equals a bevy of clients. Hogwash. I have a vast portfolio, but still have to sell myself to each new client. Even existing clients try to look for better work or equal quality at a lower price. Freelance work can get few and far between at times.

  1. My work will stand alone, and I will not have to work at getting clients. That’s a fool’s pipe dream. You have to get your work in front of the right people at the right time in order to work steady. Learning how to do that is 75 percent of your job as a freelancer.

  1. You will only have to do the work you love. Maybe, after a lot of grueling jobs that weigh on your soul and grate on your nerves. For every job you love there is going to be at least a dozen that you hate, but have to do to keep the lights on.

  1. You will only have to deal with ideal clients. You may have a few clients that you can call ideal, but with most there will be some kind of miscommunication or misunderstanding. There are bound to be technical differences or divergent creative opinions. These types of issues can consume several hours of each day in the beginning.

  1. The business portion of freelancing is boring. Actually this is not a myth, but something that has to be faced. You have to rise to overcome the boring or you may not get paid. If you do not rise to the challenge, your freelance business will fail.

  1. You have to be business savvy to succeed. Not so. You have to be able to learn to be successful, that is all. You are bound to suffer setbacks. Learn from them, and you can still be successful overall.

As you can tell from the 10 myths of freelancing that I have written about, I feel that marketing your business and skills are the most important things you can do other than rising to the challenges of the everyday, humdrum aspects of a successful entrepreneurial venture. Would you include any others?