I have had fairly steady work through one or two different companies and publications over the past five years or so. I love freelancing but with the economic downturn, it is getting harder to guarantee work or worse, guarantee payment.
So, all you freelancers out there, let me ask you a few questions. Do you miss getting a weekly paycheck? Maybe you never had one but I have in the past. I have also worked on commission selling personal computers before everyone had one. I know what having income on a regular basis is like. I also know that I hate the “have to get up and get out of the house every day” routine that goes with “real” jobs. Is the payoff of setting one’s own hours worth the lack of a weekly paycheck?
How much time each week do you freelancers spend finding new work, new clients? This is a precarious balance as you need to produce income but you also have to look to the future. This balancing act may be the hardest part of being a freelancer. I am constantly looking. I do find, though, I get complacent when I think a client is going to work out for some period of time. Do you pay yourself by constantly looking for new clients, new gigs?
Finally, how do you handle those clients who agree to one contract and then do not follow the contract in the end? I have one client that I enjoy the work but it is an absolute hassle to get paid. The agreement is work for one week is paid at the beginning of the following week. That is great, even if the weekly pay may not be much as one week may not have much work to be done. The problem is that the payment does not come as agreed upon usually. Do you enjoy the collection aspect of working for yourself? This particular aspect of being a freelancer is the one thing I hate.
So, all you freelancers out there, what do you do?