Many years after starting my own business, I still get a lot of questions about whether I didn’t regret becoming a freelancer, whether I miss being an employee or the office work environment, how to cope with uncertainty, and I could go on. That’s why I thought I’d write down a few tips and the experiences I gained so far: I’ll tell you what I find important and why I still say no to an employee job offer and stick to staying a freelancer.
Please note that these experiences and bits of advice are not general and do not apply to everyone. I provide services, in the field of PR, communication, and marketing, which are not easily defined and convertible. However, I have tried to put together some points for you that you might find useful while starting your own business.
Here are 3 things, topics which served as a good lesson for me in the initial period:
SELF-KNOWLEDGE AND BUILDING YOUR FRAMEWORK
Self-knowledge is simply an essential process, not just an empty phrase, at least for me it helped a lot. It is crucial to know what task we are happy to do, in what schedule, etc.
If you pay attention to the following when building your business, your daily work will be a little more comfortable and efficient:
SELECTION of your CLIENTS: this is one of the most challenging questions, as it does matter at what stage clients come to in our lives. When starting a business, we can’t really choose who to take on, as we need both the reference and the income, but once we have a broader, stronger portfolio and our business is growing, it does worth choosing and selecting. And what exactly is this based on? The solution is chemistry! Because professional chemistry and intuition do work, just feel free to listen to it.
- It is essential to pay attention to whether there is mutual (professional) sympathy? Meaning do you share the same work ethic, values?
- Do the clients know what they want?
- Do they respect your work? Do they take your professional advice into account?
- Do they treat you as an equal partner?
- Do they accept your suggestions, recommendations?
- Do they try to push down your prices? Do they pay you on time?
- Do they keep their word?
- Do they change their opinion about the same thing often?
You will undoubtedly meet different clients along your way. I met many clients with whom everything worked smoothly from almost the first moment. Our mutual work provided me predictability, stability and a professional challenge. However, I also ran into clients who did not know what they wanted, they had a hard time accepting my suggestions or did not respect my time schedule, weekends, and so on.
Today, I pay much more attention and try not to take on a client who I feel from the first meetings that there will be no consistency. I put much more energy into getting to know my clients better at the beginning, meaning doing my research beforehand and offering the first consultations for free.
TO-DO LISTS: to this day, I write my to-do lists by hand, from which I am so happy to cross out the completed tasks at the end of the day. Is it also good to be aware of what responsibilities we prefer to do, what goes smoother, which require more headaches and more time? At the beginning of a workday, it’s sometimes better to start with more challenging tasks and finish with easier ones, but everyone can just adjust it to their own rhythm.
Later on, when your business grows, you can calmly outsource and delegate tasks that you do not like so much.
TIME MANAGEMENT AND YOUR SCHEDULE: As entrepreneurs and freelancers, we are constantly juggling with our time, so it is vital to create and adhere to a well-functioning schedule, primarily for our own well-being. Without classic working hours, many freelancers tend to work too much, and unfortunately, there will also be several clients who won’t respect your time schedule at all.
What works for me is the following: I work hard for 4-6 hours a day. I just pay all of my attention to my clients. Afterward, I do many different things: improving my professional knowledge, learning new things, meeting my friends, relaxing or doing some workout, etc. I could work 12-16 hours per day as well, but I don’t consider it effective at all, and on the other hand, my life would simply disappear like this.
You’ll meet clients with some time management issues – a lot of things need to be done immediately or for yesterday – think it very well through whether to embrace them at all. If so, strictly define what your daily availability is in your contract: when are you exactly available via phone and email and be sure to charge more for immediate, SOS or evening, weekend work.
FEAR vs. COURAGE
Every entrepreneur fears something. Some won’t have enough clients, many will find it harder to scope with a deficit of cash flow, dare not take on larger projects, and so on.
It is important to observe exactly what your fears are, so you can then eliminate them with loads of practice, one by one.
It helps me a lot to know that others struggle with these issues as well. Therefore, I try to turn the negative thoughts as much as possible into positive ones. Creating your world with your own beliefs really works, and thanks to this, I’ve never been left without clients, I always had enough projects, even they sometimes arrived last minute.
There are no set rules or two similar situations in the management of a business. There is only this constant factor: yourself and your ability to adapt.
In my profession, it’s tough to build a permanent clientele because, for instance, projects end for a variety of reasons, or we’re done with the task, or I am interested in something new that I focus on. And indeed, this reshape includes a lot of things if necessary: moving to a new place, international clients, learning new things, preparing new services or, continually searching for information.
Opportunity and luck will find primarily those who are open and ready for it, and last but not least, those who can adapt to changes.
If you have any further questions or would like to share your business story with me, please write to hello @ zaszlosagnes. com email address.