5 Challenges every freelancer in India would identify with
Imagine a job where you can work from any place you like, at a time that suits you, at a pace that matches your tempo. A job where you work on your terms! Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? As a freelancer, these are some of many advantages you can expect.
However, freelancing comes with its fair share of challenges. Here are some common problems that many freelancers in India can relate to, and tips on how to deal with them.
Challenge 1: Finding work regularly
A freelancer has to continually look for work. There are times when you may have more work than you can deliver, and at other times you are practically idle. Every freelancer faces the constant challenge of maintaining a continuous stream of work. Moreover, finding quality work and reliable clients on a regular basis can also be quite a challenge.
How to deal with it: The best way to ensure a continuous stream of assignments is to work with multiple clients. This not only assures you of regular work but also lets you choose from different types of work to optimize your writing skills. You can also network with other freelancers and important people in the industry or join online communities where you can showcase your profile, thereby opening more avenues to find work. Check out these platforms that offer gigs for all kinds of freelancers.
Challenge 2: Meeting tight deadlines
Every client will expect their project to be your top priority. A freelancer is often expected to complete assignments within very tight timelines. When working on multiple projects, deadlines could also clash, and you could find yourself in a fix.
How to deal with it: Be organized, plan your work schedule, maintain buffers, and go the extra mile when required. Set timelines for yourself and find common ground with your client on the expected turnaround time. Being accommodative in a way that works for you and your client is an excellent way to build a long-lasting work relationship.
Challenge 3: Lack of employment benefits
You may prefer working on your terms, but remember that without a permanent job, you could miss out on various employee benefits and entitlements. For instance, you may not get promotions or bonuses, or even those occasional (and much needed) office parties.
How to deal with it: As a freelancer, you are your boss. So, reward yourself when you accomplish something significant. Revise your income targets each year and work towards them to ensure you always move forward. One of the perks of freelancing is the ability to take a break whenever you like. Set aside a week or two for a holiday each year and treat yourself to a relaxing break from work.
Challenge 4: Planning your finances
One of the most daunting aspects for a freelancer is financial planning. Having a limited income or not knowing when your next paycheck will come in can be tough to deal with. Whether it is lack of work or a lag in payments, planning your finances can prevent the onset of difficult financial times.
How to deal with it: Manage your finances to support your expenses according to the ebb and flow of assignments. Signing up with multiple clients, distributing payment schedules, and clarifying a fixed payment schedule with clients can provide a regular stream of income. Go here to learn more about how to use LinkedIn to grow your clientele.
Challenge 5: Keeping productivity high
Constantly maintaining high productivity levels is another challenge for a freelancer. Sometimes you may be able to work for 10 hours continuously, and at other times you may simply not feel like getting out of bed. Writer’s block is another obstacle that is difficult to shake off when working independently.
How to deal with it: It is essential that you stay connected with peers in your industry. Online forums, workshops, in-person events, and seminars are some great ways to exchange ideas, brainstorm, learn, and get inspired. If you are a blogger, these tips can help improve your writing skills.
Bonus: Filtering out bad or fake clients
Although it might somehow impact your number of projects, you should be diligent while selecting your clients. A lot of people today have to support their families, pay EMIs, or have other personal ends to meet. So they often blindly take up projects without any background checks, only to be left unpaid after the work. Recent studies suggest that nearly 58% of freelancers have experienced this even after completing the work.
At times, working with an unknown client might compel you to overwork and be mistreated. You might have to work on projects that are below your skill level, with no room for upskilling. At that time you might look at the quick gains and feel it’s okay, but in the long run, your career could stagnate.
How to deal with it: Always remember the internet is a place where unknown, fake identities can pose as lucrative prospects for you. Ensure that you do extensive research before agreeing to a contract with a new client. Go to online forums, consult with your peers, and check their Google/Facebook reviews before committing to the project. In a nutshell, leave no stone unturned in the process of vetting your clients properly.
To sum up, you need to shake a leg and look out for projects by maintaining a steady balance – both online and offline. Be proactive while opting to work on some projects, as well as for opting out of some. Support your reputation with a thorough research for and about any incoming assignments. Making this a daily exercise might require extra effort, but the outcome is worth it, considering the current market size and growth.
Today, the average annual income of freelancers across India is estimated to be INR 20 lakh, and 23% of them earn INR 40 lakh. It’s also predicted that by 2025, freelance professionals will constitute 50% of the nation’s workforce and operate in a market whose value is estimated at USD 26 billion. These findings show good signs of a steady present and a promising future; you just need to be ready to grab the opportunities.
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