You finally got the project and are getting ready to get started. Little do you know that working from home will present its own sets of problems. Don’t worry; these problems are really not a big deal, but they are common problems that every freelancer faces.
Let’s see how we can tackle them.
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This is one of the common main issues for freelancers, and I’m sure most freelancers have experienced it.
One day in the morning, you’ve set your time tracking, and you plan to work only for 8 hours on the project that day, but when you are busy with your work, you look at the clock, and suddenly it’s already 8 pm. Rats!
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In my experience, there is no way to overcome such a problem except with self-discipline, which means you should be able to control yourself, divide the time for work and for life.
Unlike at the office where the working hours have been specified generally from 9 to 5, as a freelancer you won’t have working hours, so you have to make your own work schedule and strictly obey it. When it’s time to rest, you have to rest; when it’s time to work, then get up and start work. I know these things may sound cliche, but I think there is no other way around it; it’s just one of the common consequences of being a freelancer.
Another problem freelancers may face when working at home is distractions.
Unlike at the office where the environment has been set for work, the house is still a house with its daily ins and outs: loud music or the sound of the TV, your mother screaming at your siblings to pick up after them, the sound of your father or uncle fixing up the kitchen, the broken toilet, clearing the garage or mowing the backyard. You can probably imagine the whole scene in your head now.
To overcome a situation like this, you can renovate your own home office for a bit more privacy as most freelancers do, or you can work at cafes or coworking spaces, but make sure your project budget is sufficient to pay for the cost.
The point here is to overcome the distraction by finding your most comfortable environment to focus on finishing your project — without distraction.
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Being a freelancer does not mean that you will work alone 100% of the time. If you feel that your skills are not as good as a friend’s, then you can offer him or her the opportunity to carry out parts of your project to deliver a better result for your client.
In addition to helping your friend financially, you can also reduce your workload and focus more time in finishing other aspects of the project or even work on another project.
Sending an Invoice may vary depending on the contract. Let’s say the project is estimated to be accomplished within three months. In this case, I usually will send two invoices. Work starts once the client has paid an agreed downpayment amount after signing the contract.
My first invoice will be sent when the project has progressed about fifty percent of the way. The second invoice will be sent when the final work is ready to be delivered. Your case will probably differ greatly from mine, so make your own rules on how you want to update your clients on the progress and invoice them accordingly.
For more on the matter, I suggest you read these articles, one from Kevin Harter on how to send an invoice to clients professionally, and another from Smashing Magazine that has also shared some practical tips on how to invoice your clients like a Pro (beautiful invoice templates included).
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Just do it
And that’s an abbreviated version of the path towards becoming a freelancer. All the examples mentioned above are only a few of which I had ever experienced when I first started as a freelancer. Every job and profession has its own challenges; whether you work at an office with its strict rules or work from home where you work by your own rules, each situation has its own advantages and disadvantages.
When you have decided to go freelance, you should be aware of the consequences ahead, but don’t make it stop you from being a freelancer or achieving the dream you wish to achieve. You wouldn’t know if you can be a freelancer or not if you don’t try. Just do it.
After some time, when you are already used to the situation then I’m sure you will enjoy the freelance work style. Thanks for reading the whole series. I hope you enjoyed them and found them helpful.