Taking on more than you can handle
It’s a great feeling when all the work starts pouring in. But then it keeps pouring and you don’t turn the tap off. Before you know it, you are swamped with work that you realistically can’t handle without working extreme hours, 18 hours a day or more. Then it’s goodbye to a good night sleep and hello to long exhausting days.
Trust me, taking on work just because it’s there can and will impact the quality that you can deliver and may even result in lost contracts.
You are much better off setting yourself a fixed amount of work that you can manage to a high standard and sticking to it. Then when the time comes, plan for expansion, outsource to someone else, grow and succeed.
Giving time to time wasters
After a few long drawn out phone calls and numerous back and forth emails, you start to identify the characteristics of a time waster.
Being a freelancer means winning your own business, and every opportunity looks like £££ to you. But, it is important to know when someone is generally interested in working with you or if they are looking for some free advice.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for sharing advice with potential clients, other freelancers, anyone who just wants to learn. It can be a great way to get your name out there and often it leads to new business anyway. However I specifically hold events for this.
If you have given time to someone, sent proposals, explained in detail the next steps and they are still stalling, it may be time to decrease your time and effort with this one and refocus it into another prospect.
Remember your time is money.
Not trusting others
So you’re at that stage – you’ve grown exponentially and now you’re ready to bring some help on board. But who? What if they aren’t as good as me? What if they make mistakes? Will they put enough time in? Will I know what they have been doing for every hour of my money?
Ah Ha, the tables have turned. You are no longer just the freelancer. You are the client (kind of).
With all the will in the world, you can’t service the whole planet on your own. Let’s be honest you probably cap out at around 5-10 clients – depending on size and demand of course. So if you want your business to grow, you have to let someone else grow with you.
Ever been micromanaged at work? I have and it is awful, the feeling of no trust. Eventually you just lose the will to try – why bother right you’re going to just be told what to do anyway.
But believe it or not, micromanaging was the first thing I did when starting to outsource. It was a nightmare and actually took up more of my time than if i had just done it myself.
When I did eventually begin to trust and let someone else take control of the work I was paying for them to do, Tada! I saw results.
Obviously not everyone you work with will be a success, however if you don’t try and trust you will never know.
Getting too relaxed
It’s great to build a healthy relationship with your clients – crucial in fact if you want to maintain business over a longer period of time. However there is a good relationship and there is just too relaxed.
Unfortunately I have made the mistake of getting too relaxed, allowing myself to open up a little too much, sharing personal information and not watching my Ps and Qs instead of remaining strictly professional.
I am not saying that you shouldn’t be friendly with clients, more to remember that this is in fact what they are; clients and not friends. And although it would be lovely to make new friends from new projects, entering the world of business means learning to protect yourself. After-all the saying it’s a dog eat dog world didn’t come from nowhere.
Forgetting to take a step back
Remember that 5 year plan, 2 year, 1 year, anything?
Starting your own self employed journey usually comes with this great plan of where you want to be in XYZ.
But i bet you anything that the intense workload and adaptations to ways of working have thrown any memory of longer term plans out of the window.
Putting a plan in place helps you to achieve what you originally set out to do and give you a reason to keep pushing.
Take a little time even just once a month to step back and review where you are, where you want to be and what you are doing to achieve it..
Making mistakes doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you grow, it makes you a success!