I am a FREElancer which does not mean that…
- You can FREEly contact me at any given time.
- My expertise is for FREE.
- You have the FREEdom to pay me whenever you feel like.
Now let’s dive into these statements that illustrate three common challenges that freelancers are facing.
Flexible office hours, long days, short nights, multiple deadlines for various projects are part of my life as a freelance consultant and lecturer in Marketing Communications (Marcom). Three years ago I started this journey when I registered my company MPOWR at the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce. Entrepreneurship is a rewarding experience, but there a few challenges that I together with fellow freelancers have to overcome.
Challenge #1: Communication
The first challenge that I’m experiencing is related to communication. It is common to receive WhatsApp messages or telephone calls from (potential) customers outside of the regular business hours. But there are also limits to the wide range of availability. You can imagine that receiving messages on a Saturday night at 12 p.m. is pushing the limit. Freelancers are not machines, so we regularly need to give our mind and body a break in order to get our creative juices flowing again.
Aside from offering clients creative ideas, education is one of my services. On a regular basis I receive invitations to give a presentation or workshop as a favor. “We acknowledge you as an industry expert and we kindly ask if you could participate in our event as a speaker. You’ll be given the opportunity to promote yourself to XXX people. All speakers are requested to prepare a presentation of only 15 minutes.”
Challenge #2: Request for free services
I am humbled to receive the recognition as an expert in the Marcom field, but if only it is was that simple. Whenever you’re requesting freelancers only 15 minutes for a talk, workshop or mini training, please consider that there is also time spent on brainstorming about a topic, researching about the target audience of the event and specific content that will leave an impression on them, creating the presentation/workshop/training and rehearsing.
There are also more factors to take into account. Being your own boss is great, but self-employment also comes with extra responsibilities. Freelancers have to save for their own pension, and they need a financial backup plan if they are not able to work due to maternity leave, sickness or an accident. As much as I’m willing to share my knowledge for free now and then, I also have to guarantee the financial sustainability of my business.
I’ve invested money in a master’s degree, and I regularly spend time and money to upgrade my skills and knowledge, so I need to see a return on my investment. If only I could pay the student loan, monthly bills, taxes and savings plans with the exposure that your event will provide me.
Challenge #3: Late payments
Which brings me to my final statement related to one of the most common challenges that freelancers are experiencing. Just like you’re looking forward to payday every month, I would also like to count on our financial agreements. If every client pays on time, I can comply with all financial responsibilities in a timely manner. In general freelancers go the extra mile to solve problems and to add value for their clients. However, we often end up chasing after our money once projects are completed. If you’re satisfied with the provided services, then express your validation for this work by paying invoices on time. I repeat on time.
Read more about my other experiences as an entrepreneur in this blog: The Top 6 Lessons on Entrepreneurship.