My initial days as a freelancer were rather difficult and confusing. There were multiple challenges that I learned to overcome the hard-way.

Many people assume that the biggest challenge while freelancing is about finding work. Once the ball starts rolling, selecting, managing, and planning the work becomes a bigger concern.

Finding work Finding good work

Initially, as a freelancer, when I would receive an offer, I used to be apprehensive about things like:
What if I get a better offer later?
Should I go for a short-term contract with higher hourly rates or a long-term contract with lesser hourly rates?
How long will the project go on?
What if the client went out of funds earlier than they had foreseen?

I’d either not accept any offer and lose time and money or I’d accept multiple offers and deliver inferior work quality according to my standards.

So in the past few years, I have learned to overcome these concerns by not accepting a less paying job out of desperation. I keep my hourly rates at par with the market and my skills. Being realistic, neither underestimating nor overestimating myself.

Additionally, communication is the key! I outrightly started asking the client regarding the project’s duration and financial status. I convey to them how these aspects of the project can affect me.

In-between projects Personality update available

No matter how careful I am, sometimes, there is no full-time project in hand for a few days. This initially bothered me as the cash flow would take a hit. Saving and having knowledge about investment came into play after such incidents. The Intelligent Investor turned out to be a good start.

I also realized that this is the time to improve my online presence and resume, contribute to open source, work on personal projects, and learn new things. These things help me in acquiring the next job sooner and at a higher hourly rate.

Exploiting Appreciating flexible timings

Another challenge is prioritizing! As a freelancer, flexible working hours come as a boon, but the same can be a curse if you keep procrastinating. I observed that when I didn’t set a target then I’d either hardly work or would keep working endlessly. I’d either make the entire week a weekend or keep scrolling through assigned tickets, responding to messages even while having dinner with family, and reading feature suggestions till late night. All of this only decreased my work efficiency. To enjoy the perks of flexible timings, I don’t let important tasks become urgent, and I have a goal that I have to achieve by Friday so that I can have a good weekend with my family.

Being outdated updated

As a freelancer, it is also vital that we keep learning. If you are not updated, then you are outdated.

I upgrade my knowledge by contributing to open-source, lots of reading, participating in conferences, online courses, and working on personal projects. I have subscribed to portals like Frontend Masters, Egghead, TestingJavascript, Pirple, Coding-Gnome, and regularly take courses there (links are not affiliated/sponsored).

If you liked this article, check out my other articles on freelancing.