Most freelancers have work in their diaries for only the next few months, weeks or even days. This is quite usual, a key part of successful freelancing is to be secure in such insecurity. This is easier said than done and can be especially hard if you are more accustomed to traditional employment. It can be very daunting, forever having to pitch your services (rather than doing your job) and never knowing what work is on the horizon.
I use this lack of job security as motivation. It drives me to be constantly chasing the next opportunity and discover the next chunk of work. Even as an experienced freelancer it is eerie when the calendar remains stubbornly blank and there is no confirmed work ahead for SEO Services. I use such occasions to take stock of my network and get out there and catch up with people, remind them I am about and see what might be happening that I can get involved in.
If your need for security is very strong but the work you love is available only on a freelance basis, try to develop longer-term client relationships to bring some stability and security into your working life. If you are someone who has found yourself freelancing by necessity, perhaps following a change in circumstances or a relocation, then you might be better suited to freelance work that more closely resembles employment.
Freelancing is a continuum with, at one end, what might be termed ‘extreme’ freelancers doing very short contracts for many clients and at the other end those who sell their services for projects of six months’ duration or more. Both are freelance, but the latter scenario is much closer to employment than the former and there are likely to be greater expectations from the contracting company and less autonomy for you the further you head along this scale towards quasi-employment.
If you are at the short-contract end of the spectrum, maybe working on leeds from a business directory, and feel too vulnerable, look at developing a broader client offering. Many freelance artists I work with, for example, teach part-time. This brings them more routine and structure as well as a stable income stream.
By understanding where your work naturally sits and where on the freelance continuum you feel comfortable, you can begin to understand the work patterns you are likely to adopt and therefore how to feel secure in them. You might also be able to secure a range of clients that sit in different places along the scale; for example mixing one or two long-term regular clients with several shorter-term ad hoc, varied ones.
Flexibility is another key attribute for any freelancer. You need to be able to cope with change and be ready to respond. The business landscape is constantly shifting and so are clients’ needs. Not to mention that every piece of work is slightly different. As you take on assignments for different clients you will see how the ‘same’ job can be remarkably different depending on how the client company operates.