The Top 5 Reasons Why Freelancers Fail

When it comes to making the decision to become a Freelancer or Virtual Assistant, there is this amazing time – like with anything – called a “Honeymoon Period”. This is where you see all the highs of working for yourself, deciding on which pair of pajamas to wear and how you don’t have to wear makeup or shower!

But the reality does eventually come to roost. When you are realizing that you are in fact in charge of your entire future and that there is no one to blame but you if things don’t go the way you hoped.

Now, not all hit this reality with the same severity. Some of us, with the mental ability that is, plan for those days where all your insecurities come to affect you by having systems in place and that friend on speed dial that made the same decision as you to go “rogue”.

That is only one part of preventing “failure” as a Freelancer or Virtual Assistant career and business. Let’s talk more about 5 Reasons that Freelancers might fail.

1. Failure to Organize

Now, this can mean so many things, by not setting routines, systems, or automation to help those “small things” from falling through the cracks. There are days that you might have a cold or a member of your family is in need of your time – you need to have these procedures in place. 

These prevent the chances that you will fall behind on your deliverables, it will protect your mental needs to ensure you are on your A-Game.

This can also be speaking to the overwhelm of onboarding clients quickly and not being prepared for the influx of work to be done. This can seem so overwhelming as well.

By organizing your business properly – from time management, email systems, and workflows, it will ensure that you don’t reach overwhelm, but also will help preserve your business so that you can continue to grow.

2. Giving in to the Stress 

Let’s face it, when you go into business for yourself – be it a service or product-based entrepreneur – it is STRESSFUL. Very rewarding! But very stressful.

Taking the time to carve out a routine – like mentioned before, organizing your day into reasonable chunks, will help you with your stress worrying about getting all the work done.

Using your calendar, your out-of-office message to allow those who contact you to know the expectation of your response, and taking breaks – these are just a few ways to prevent overlying stress to take over your process.

This in the end, not only will cause you to be overwhelmed and underperforming, but it also impacts your clients by the way of the quality of work you produce.

Self Care is a must when you are a solopreneur who works digitally. You need to block your time, you need to set a routine and expectation for your clients. You also need to make sure that you allow yourself time to break between tasks – eat lunch, move your body. This will help with your stress management.

3. Isolation Exhaustion

Working as a Freelancer can be an isolating one. For some, like us Introverts, tend to thrive a little better at it, but even on the long cold winter day – we have our limits.

When you can, if you can work offsite (i.e. Coffee shop) for a change of venue – work outside if the weather is nice (and your work allows it), making sure that you take time at least once a week to meet up with someone (even virtually) for a lunch or coffee break – take the steps you can (and are comfortable with) to fight off the exhaustion.

There is a reason you like to work independently – the key is to know when you need that social interaction to ensure that you don’t lose your motivation to continue.

4. Spending more than you Profit

Shiny object syndrome is something that happens often, you get in a purchase mindset that you need the latest and the greatest – when you don’t! Or it could be that you underprice yourself based on the products you need to serve your clients.

It is very important to check in quarterly (ideally) if not annually, looking at your tools, programs and needs to make sure that you aren’t overspending compared to your pricing tiers.

If necessary, make sure you adjust your packages to have your client help pay for those one-off programs they say you would need. That protects you and your profit margin – meaning your bank account will thank you!

5. Pricing – Under Pricing for the Services you Provide!

We touched briefly on this on point #4, but it is very important that you are not overselling and underpricing yourself. It is hard to fix that – depending on the contracts you have in place.

It is always wise to review your pricing and on the anniversary of your contact to reach out to your client and advise them several months in advance if you plan on adjusting your pricing. Not only will your client appreciate the notice for their own planning purposes, but it also gives you both time to discuss the next steps if an issue arrives.

The key is to look at the industry you are trying to serve and make sure that you are competitive, otherwise, why are you in business?

Now this list isn’t exhaustive – there can be some honorary mentions as well – like overbooking and under-delivering, thinking you are better at the job than you truly are or you could have no systems in place to get paid by delinquent clients.

There can be a whole world of reasons to fail, but if you take into account these to start, you will be way ahead of some of your competition as you will have a baseline of you.

What other ways do you set up yourself for success? Would love to hear in the comments below!