Many people choose a freelance career because of the freedom it brings. But that freedom also comes with the truth that almost every business-related task belongs to only one person: You. That is not always at the fore when we decide to take our lives in this direction.
The truth is that success in this profession is tied to how well we manage our business. Beyond the fun creative stuff, that includes all the grunt work of money management and thankless administrative tasks that come along with the trip.
It can be difficult to wrap your head around all the responsibilities. To deal with it successfully requires self-confidence. Fortunately, it is a skill that can be learned and sharpened through experience.
Here are some key concepts that will help you become more self-reliant.
Develop a process for Common Tasks
When you’re the one responsible for everything, you’d better have a process to get things done. Otherwise, it’s too easy to get overwhelmed. This could lead to critical things such as deadlines or follow-up on sales results.
Creating a process is simple, but takes some time. First, list all the business-related tasks you can think of. It should include anything your business needs like paying taxes/bills, keeping track of project hours, invoicing clients and marketing.
Then, review each item and think of ways to take care of them as efficiently as possible. Part of the challenge here is to create calm out of chaos. Some tasks, like paying bills, go more smoothly if you set aside a specific day and time to take care of them. And with many vendors providing automatic payment, technology could further simplify the process for you.
Other items on your list should be taken care of as needed. For example, keeping track of project hours is a task that should be recorded in real time. Otherwise, you risk forgetting about it and losing hard-earned money.
The lesson here is that when you have to handle multiple tasks, being organized is key.
Learn as You Go
One of the most humbling aspects of being a freelancer is realizing you don’t know how to do something. Both technology and techniques are constantly changing and can overtake you very quickly.
But there is no need to be ashamed. Sometimes, a busy lifestyle means we lose track of industry trends. Even if we have heard the buzzwords, it is difficult to immerse ourselves in everything. Web design is a challenge because there are so many competing technologies that change daily.
The good news is that you don’t need to know everything. Instead, focus on the skills you need for your day-to-day work. Take an hour or two each month to add what’s new. Watch some tutorials online and do a little practice. That way, your critical skills will be up to date and you’ll feel better about being informed.
That said, it’s still important to keep tabs on new technologies. The key is to focus on a few things that will help you become better at your craft. Then, tackle them one at a time.
Be Aware of your Strengths, Weaknesses and Limitations
Each of us has unique qualities. Some of us do great design work but are not strong at writing code. Others are really into the financial aspects of their business but not so much into marketing. In other words: None of us are perfect.
Knowing the areas where we thrive and struggle can help us become more self-reliant. It’s those weaknesses that we know we need to fix that make a difference. And there are different ways to improve.
For one, we can dive deep into the data to help us learn as we go. Another way to gain strength is through helpful tools or services that do some of the heavy lifting for us.
It is also good to know your limits. It is beneficial to realize that you do not have enough time to do your daily work and learn about accounting practices. This may lead to working with an accountant or financial advisor.
But wait, isn’t hiring someone else the opposite of self-confidence? Not required. Part of being self-reliant is solving problems and doing what needs to be done.
By being aware of what you don’t know, some tasks to a trained expert demonstrate both of those traits. The goal is not to do everything yourself. Rather, it is to be thoughtful and confident enough to make smart decisions.
Self-reliance = Freedom
The best part about being self-sufficient in your business is that you will actually be in charge. That feeling will give you confidence in your ability to succeed in any situation. That’s part of what freedom is all about.
However, this is a process that takes time. Especially when you’re thinking about the areas you need to improve. Remember that there are many aspects to running a business and no one learns them overnight. You may make some mistakes – but that’s okay. They create great learning experiences.
Consider taking advantage of the above concepts as an investment in your future. It’s something that will allow you to take on bigger and better projects – and do so more efficiently. In addition, that personal growth can improve your life outside of work.
Decide to become a more self-reliant freelancer. You will be surprised how it can change your business.