Succeeding as a Freelancer: The difficulties to overcome!

Réussir comme travailleuse autonome

Written by Manon Robert

September 19, 2023

For several years, the number of self-employed women has continued to increase. However, we still talk too little about the difficulties to overcome to succeed as a Freelancer. Every day, the desire to change their lives pushes women to become independent. Exercising a professional activity in accordance with your values ​​is at the heart of new projects. Some manage to make a living from their activity, and others not. This is a reality that we are not necessarily aware of when we start. But then, what are the disadvantages of Freelancing? What difficulties should you prepare for when starting out as a freelancer?

From employee to self-employed: the main challenges

To succeed as a Freelancer, you will have to face many challenges. Nothing insurmountable of course! Like any change, you will face certain difficulties. But as they say, every problem has its solution. The freelance adventure is full of ups and downs. Find all the keys to achieving your goals and enriching yourself with this new experience.

Change your routine

When you go from employee to self-employed, one of the biggest challenges is the radical change in your routine. Indeed, as an employee we often have fixed schedules, precise objectives, and a working environment adapted to our activity. By becoming independent, you confront a completely different reality.

Flexibility and freedom at work have both advantages and disadvantages. You are now in control of your schedule, and that means you will have to be disciplined and responsible. It’s very easy to get distracted or procrastinate when no one is there to watch over you.

The importance of build a routine then takes on its full meaning. You need to set regular working hours and stick to them as much as possible. Also remember to identify the time of day when you are most productive. This is when you will need to carry out the most important tasks for your business.

Then, make sure you choose a work environment that suits you. Whether from home, in a café, in a coworking space, or in your van, you need to feel comfortable working.

The change in routine is one of the first challenges for freelancers. You’re going to have to learn to manage this freedom if you want to succeed as a self-employed women.

Manage your time

Have you adopted a new routine, but are you still having difficulty managing your time? Yes, as mentioned previously, procrastination is a trap that we can very quickly fall into.

To overcome this challenge, here are some tips to improve your daily time management:

  1. Plan your day in advance, the day before for the next day for example
  2. Create a list of tasks to complete during your day: don’t overload, it’s very demotivating to have a long list of tasks and not be able to finish it
  3. Identify the most important tasks to accomplish, and define the time slots during which you will carry them out
  4. Use the Pomodoro method to reserve moments of concentration if this seems necessary to you

Let’s talk a little about concentration. This is an essential factor in managing your time well. Nowadays, with social networks, notifications on our smartphones, or even phone calls, we get distracted very easily.

You absolutely must create a work environment conducive to concentration. For example, you can put your phone on airplane mode or silent for 1 hour when you are doing an important task. There is nothing worse than being interrupted in your work, you lose a lot of efficiency. However, your success as a self-employed person depends largely on your ability to manage your time effectively.

The loneliness of self-employed women: prepare and adapt

Another one fairly common difficulty among self-employed women is loneliness. The transition from a working environment with colleagues to life as a solo entrepreneur sometimes leaves a feeling of isolation. However, there are effective ways to prepare for this reality and adapt to maintain a good professional network.

How to maintain a professional network?

Maintaining a professional network is essential for exchanging ideas, finding new opportunities, and breaking loneliness. Here are some tips for maintaining your professional network when you work for yourself:

  • Use social networks: for example, you can be active on LinkedIn, and talk about your new activity, your new freelance challenges, your failures, your successes. You can also follow other freelancers in your field and interact with them.
  • Join professional groups and associations: Identify self-employed groups in your city or region. They often organize events or meetings. This will also allow you to develop your network. You can absolutely participate in these events if you are a digital nomad. You will find them in every major city in the world.
  • Collaborates with other Freelancers: seeks opportunities to collaborate with other self-employed people. This strengthens your network and allows you to work as a team. Perfect for overcoming loneliness!

Go to work in coworking spaces

This option will not be accessible to everyone, because working in a coworking space is quite expensive. However, if you can afford it, you will meet lots of other freelancers. This will be an opportunity to exchange some ideas and who knows, maybe create partnerships?

Coworking spaces are growing more and more. For those with a little low budget, some places offer day packages. Even if you don’t go there every day, you can try it a few times a month. This can sometimes be enough to reenergize you for the weeks to come!

Attend networking events

Events are golden opportunities to end loneliness and expand your professional circle. Find out in your city or region if professional conferences or workshops are organized during the year. You will certainly be able to create valuable links there.

Otherwise, don’t hesitate to check out the Meetup app. Some people sometimes organize networking events there.

Rest assured, you are far from being the only Freelancer to face this difficulty. Well prepared, and by following a few tips, you will be able to overcome this challenge of being a freelancer.

Coping with the financial instability of self-employed status

Self-employed status brings financial instability. However, there are several methods to overcome this constraint. Calculating your budget, anticipating slow periods, or even creating an emergency fund will help you better manage this situation. Financial instability will then no longer be an obstacle to your freelance activity.

Variable income management

Here is a difficulty to overcome that we can never talk about enough among self-employed women: managing variable income. Unlike an employee who receives a salary at the end of each month, freelancers experience prosperous months and calmer ones.

To succeed as a self-employed person, you will have to overcome this financial instability. To do this, you will have to manage your finances rigorously. Evaluate the amount of your fixed costs, estimate the amount of your taxes and contributions, then plan an emergency budget for hard times.

“Planning” is the key word when living on variable income. You will have to plan and anticipate all your expenses as much as possible.

Next, learn to diversify your sources of income. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! For example, if you depend on just one client, you will be much more vulnerable. If the contract were to end, you would then find yourself without any income. Seeks to seize new opportunities or offer new services or products. Likewise, if your schedule allows it, don’t hesitate to accept side projects that could generate income.

Finally, save as much as possible in anticipation of slow periods! This will prevent you from having financial problems.

How to deal with slow periods?

Slow periods are inevitable for self-employed women. But, now that you have created your monthly budget and identified all your obligatory expenses, you will be able to anticipate them.

Indeed, as mentioned previously, during the most profitable months, you will have to put as much money aside as possible. This will allow you to cover your essential expenses (rent, utilities, food) when your income is down.

To go further in anticipation, you could also identify these periods. For example, are there less active seasons in your sector of activity? Will the economic situation or an important official announcement affect your business? Try to list everything that could have an impact. You can then take preventive measures, such as temporarily reducing certain expenses. Prevention is better than cure!

The importance of budgeting everything and building an emergency fund

To deal with financial instability as a self-employed woman, it is essential to budget for everything and build up an emergency fund.

In addition to including all of your expenses and charges in your monthly budget, you will need to set aside an amount to build up this fund. It is not a question here of simple savings to anticipate slack periods. This additional budget will be used in the event of a major blowcover 3 to 6 months of your obligatory expenses.cover 3 to 6 months of your obligatory expenses. It will give you peace of mind in the event of an unforeseen event or health problem, for example.

Finding and retaining customers: the challenges of marketing and prospecting

To succeed as a Freelancer, you will have to wear several hats. No more constant flow of employee work. You become your own boss. Even if it’s not necessarily your thing, marketing and prospecting are essential elements for growing your business. So, shall we stick with it?

Obstacles to finding clients

Finding clients as a freelancer can be a big challenge. In fact, you are now responsible for finding your own clients. In many sectors, competition is tough. You will have to stand out by offering a unique service or product.

Furthermore, the irregularity of opportunities can be difficult to manage. You will sometimes find yourself with a lot of work, to the point of having to refuse certain missions. Then, the following month, the opportunities will become much rarer.

Finally, we all fear prospecting. This is definitely the least cool part of being self-employed. It takes a lot of time and energy, often with little results.

But then, what are the solutions? How to overcome these difficulties?

You will have to put a strategy in place, strengthen your online presence and cultivate your network.

Implementing an effective marketing strategy

Succeeding as a self-employed depends on many factors. One of them is implementing an effective marketing strategy.

To do this, you will have to:

  • Know your target customer: put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer. What are his needs? His preferences? His problems ? This will allow you to personalize your approach, in order to reach the right people.
  • Create your online presence: a website or profiles on social networks are essential today to build your credibility and find potential customers. Don’t try to be everywhere, just where your ideal customer is most likely to find you. We all have to start small, then think bigger. Otherwise, you’ll burn out and probably won’t achieve your goals.
  • Use content marketing: create content to demonstrate your expertise. This can be in the form of blog articles, videos, e-books, or podcasts. Identify what will interest your future customer.
  • Network: yes, networking is not only used to deal with loneliness on a daily basis. It’s also the best way to create connections with other professionals in your sector.
  • Advertise: If you have a budget to allocate to advertising, this can be an effective way to reach your target audience when starting out.

Communicate your added value and build customer loyalty

Once you have attracted your first customers, you will have to communicate your added value. The goal is for your customers to call you again, or recommend you to others. Why are you the person they absolutely have to work with? How could a competitor not meet their needs better than you? In some way, make yourself indispensable.

Be proactive, anticipate their needs, be responsive when they ask you. You must create a climate of trust that will make them want to come back to you in the future.

Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations or feedback on your work. On the one hand, it shows that their opinion matters and that you are always ready to improve. On the other hand, you can use positive reviews to communicate on your different networks. This is a guarantee of quality for your prospects. This also allows you to strengthen your expertise.

Ultimately, a good marketing strategy focused on quality of services will allow you to succeed as a Freelancer. Finding and retaining customers is a major difficulty, but once again, it is not insurmountable.

How to maintain a good balance when you become self-employed?

Balance between work and personal life

Balance between professional and personal life is one of the keys to the success of self-employed women. When you work for yourself, you may be tempted to sacrifice your personal time to respond to your customers, edit a quote, or complete a task. However, maintaining a good balance is essential if you want to avoid burnout and remain productive in the long term.

To do this, you must define clear boundaries between your work and your personal life. There is a time for everything as they say. Make sure to turn off your computer and work phone outside of your work hours. Learn to say “no” to requests and projects that will overwhelm you. Also try to avoid working from your couch or bed, this can blur the lines between work and relaxation.

Of course, it’s up to you to set these limits. You must learn to know your needs and the environment in which you feel best working. You can of course allow yourself some deviations from the rules. After all, if you have decided to become self-employed, it is not to undergo the same constraints as in your old job!

Tips to avoid burnout

Burnout leads to reduced productivity, emotional exhaustion and health problems. Here are some tips to avoid getting to this point:

  1. Consider taking breaks during your day. Breaks are good. They allow you to relax and maintain better concentration over time.
  2. No more 12-hour days of work. Set limits for yourself. Otherwise, you will burn out and be much more stressed. If some days will inevitably be longer, consider slowing down the pace the following day.
  3. It’s tempting to accept every project that comes along, especially when you’re just starting out. It’s a bad idea. Before accepting a new mission, make sure you have the time to complete it. In any case, by wanting to do everything, the quality of our services is much lower. This is not the image you want to send to your customers, isn’t it

Take time for yourself and cultivate your well-being every day

Taking time for yourself and cultivating your well-being is essential when you are self-employed. However, we too often tend to forget it.

First, give yourself time to relax every day. Whether it’s reading a book, listening to a podcast, taking a bath or meditating, it’s super important to recharge your batteries.

Ensuite, practice regular physical activity, especially if you work behind a computer. This keeps you in shape and reduces your daily stress. For example, you can do a yoga session in the morning, run at lunchtime, or swim in the evening. It’s up to you to find the activity that suits you.

Finally, don’t put aside your hobbies. Having passions outside of work allows you to flourish personally. It breaks your routine, and it feels great! Getting stuck in work is a bad habit when you are independent. This is neither good for you nor for your business.

Ultimately, becoming self-employed is a bit like your first professional experience. You have to make your mark, define your limits, find the right balance. The only difference is that you define the rules of the game. And, contrary to what we think, it is not so obvious to do so.. To overcome difficulties and succeed as a Freelancer, you will have to prepare properly and stay determined. And you, what were your main difficulties when you started freelancing? Do you have any tips or tools to share?

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