How to deal with the frustrations of freelancing and consulting

Feeling kind of frustrated lately? It happens.

Today I’d like to suggest ways to resolve two entirely different frustrations.

The first frustration is when you don’t have enough paying work lined up. The second frustration is when you’re feeling up in the air, like your business needs rethinking and a new orientation.

My recommendation for filling the assignment pipeline is to start a campaign. Whether you are accustomed to being busy, busy, busy for pay or you haven’t yet built a steady practice but you want to, it’s going to take marketing to bring in work quickly.

Ideally you’ve been steadily marketing all along, haven’t you? If the answer is no, don’t feel bad. That puts you in the company of most of us other freelancers and consultants out there.

Sure, we all know that we should market all the time, perhaps devoting as much as a quarter of our work hours to this vital activity even when we are at our busiest. We’re all convinced, but it is extremely difficult to put this into practice to the extent we “should.”

So forgive yourself and get on with what needs to be done: Marketing and selling!

I like to call this renewed, invigorated effort a “campaign” because it sounds proactive and energized. While it will kick off continued, consistent action, this intense level of work need not be maintained forever. If you want significantly more work now, do what needs to be done now. Soon you may step down your effort a bit to a pace that works along with a heavier workload.

What specifically to do? If you’ve had enough work in the past, what worked for you? How did you get past clients? Start by doing more of the same.

Or if you don’t have past successes to replicate, I suggest picking up the phone and calling the people most likely to need your help.

(What to say? Here’s advice on phone scripts.)

Remember, this is a campaign. Just like D-Day at Normandy, it’s a short-term to mid-range burst of energy. Be happy that it won’t go on like this forever.

Now for the second frustration you may be facing: A feeling that you are ready for a change and should redefine your business.

This is a positive development! It means you are growing and moving forward.

Relish the opportunity to rethink what you’re about. Give yourself some time to dream and meditate. To write and journal. To sketch and diagram. To brainstorm. To sleep on your decisions.

If you already have a business in place, don’t rush to tear it down if you’re still figuring out how to replace it.

Savor the experience. Give it the space it merits.

Trust that you will find your answers without forcing a premature resolution that lodges you into a business model or branding that you will soon be questioning again.

Have faith that you will find your way. Even though it may take time, you will come to the right conclusions that work for you.

I’ve learned a lot about how to land great freelance and consulting clients and I continue to explore new ideas, which I share on this page and in my newsletter. Please sign up for the free newsletter—you will also receive Three Secrets to Freelance and Consulting Success: Start Making Great Money as a Freelancer or Consultant for High-Paying Corporate Clients. (Cancellations fully honored. Email addresses managed with complete integrity.)

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2 comments on “How to deal with the frustrations of freelancing and consulting
  1. I am doing a bit of both.

    My speciality, web series script writing, has such a long sales cycle. So my mentor suggested I add another specialty — a more traditional freelance writing niche — that will bring in some income until my scripts sell.

    So I am starting a new marketing campaign. I am devoted to stay the course even when my efforts seem unproductive.

  2. Good idea. It makes sense to add another specialty to balance out problems with the first. Your attitude is very healthy–some people, unfortunately, would consider it abdication of their dreams to redirect their business in part to something other than their “vision.”


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