Remember the days when you had to *tune in* to your analogue radio?
And do you remember those off days when, just occasionally, you’d try to tune into your favourite station, but somehow, the needle got stuck in between stations?
Fiddle and twiddle as much as you could, your poor old radio just couldn’t quite catch those radio waves wafting around between megahertz.
At best you’d get a load of fuzzy, crackly noise.
At worst, a discordant, jarring mess of two stations playing at the same time. Not nice!
Sometimes life feels just like that. When you feel like you’ve lost your way.
You started out, doing something that you love. You set out with a vision.
A big, bold, audacious, exciting vision.
You knew what you were going to achieve. You knew how you were going to achieve it. You even knew the precise direction in which you were going to take it.
But then stuff got in the way.
The type of stuff that you have some control over, but it’s time-consuming, jarring, bothersome and incredibly frustrating.
You feel like you spend most of your time fiddling and twiddling to get things right again!
When stuff like that gets in the way of your work and business, it has you doubting your abilities. You find yourself second guessing everything you do, so that instead of moving forward, you’re taking steps backwards.
All a hopeless, discordant mess.
What to do?
3 ways to check if you’re on track with your freelance career (plus 3 ways to get back if you’re not)
Losing your way in freelancing is never fun. But then again, there’s no shame either.
Here are three ways you can check if you’re on the right track and how to make the most of it even if you aren’t.
Question 1: Am I happy with the direction my career is headed?
- Are your clients the type of clients you really want to work for?
- Do your clients trust your expertise, or do they drain you with never-ending, picky revisions?
- Are your clients committed to change, or do they simply want their ears tickled?
- Have you ended up picking up work wherever you can, or are you making deliberate, intentional choices?
Get back on track: Where would you rather be with this? Be honest with yourself. If you’re not entirely happy with the answers you come up with above, if you feel like you’ve lost your way, ask yourself:
- “What do I need to STOP doing, to feel happier today?”
- “What do I need to START doing, to feel happier today?”
- “What do I need to CHANGE overall, to feel happier today?”
You ARE allowed to be choosy. This is work your way, remember?
Break down what you need to do and work on it, one step at a time. You’re in control. See to it that you choose to be happy!
Question 2: Am I trying to be a Jack of All Trades?
- Are you exhausted because you’re doing everything yourself?
- Are you wasting precious hours/days/weeks/months on tasks that you’re simply not skilled to do?
Get back on track: Granted, most of us start out on a shoestring, so there’s often little option but to simply plod on with as much as you can yourself.
But if months or even years later, you’re still not in a position to outsource anything, you’ll never get traction with your business. You’ll also simply become exhausted and lose the joy you once had when you first started out.
A few questions to ask yourself:
- What tasks am I attempting that I’m NOT skilled to do, or simply hate doing myself?
- What, if I outsourced, would allow me more time to focus on making my business more profitable?
Remember, when you’re looking to outsource, there’s always the option to exchange skills – for example, your web design in exchange for a great copywriter. There are plenty of forums online, where you can put the word out that you’re looking for help.
People in biz like us are only too happy for an exchange of help. Either way, it simply doesn’t make sense you wasting precious time (which as a service provider, means money), battling away at tasks you dislike and which drain your emotional energy, or that you’re not skilled enough to give justice.
Question 3: Am I working harder than ever before but not yet seeing any profits?
- Do you feel as if you’re spinning your wheels, getting nowhere fast?
- Are you charging by the hour (or charging less than the competition in case you frighten someone away)?
- Are you working all hours for silly fees?
Get back on track: What changes do you need to make in order to charge higher fees?
In my course, “Freelance Success: Charge Premium Fees”, I highlight some questions you can ask yourself to help you identify what could be holding you back from charging what you’re worth. I hope they resonate with you.
So, over to you, are you on the right track with your business? What, given the chance, would you change altogether?
Featured Image: Unsplash