A few years ago I decided to branch out. Up until that point I had decided to stick to my safe place (coding) because I was afraid that my design skills and product ideas weren’t up to much. I had to take a long look at what motivations and fears were holding me back and how I could overcome them.
Fear #2 – Money
One of the biggest worries for any freelancer or founder is.. How am I going to pay my bills? It’s a valid question and an important one too. It’s this question that sends most (sissies running for the hills once they start thinking about it. Having regular income is safety and security in one nice little monthly paycheck.
Safety and security in 2014
Unfortunately these days, regular income can be pretty hard to come by since so many people are out of work and those that are in work are always in a precarious position as the big companies lay off thousands of employees (today it was Microsoft announcing that they’re making 18,000 people redundant). That isn’t safety. To me, safety is holding my own destiny in my hands. I know what I have to do and when I have to do it. I also know how much I will be paid for that (it’s never enough hah) and when I’ll be paid (btw no-one pays on time). Either way I think there’s a lot more security in being able to work for yourself and your family rather than working 10 hours a day to line some manager’s pocket while he goes for a round of golf, nuff said.
Despite all my positive and fuzzy feelings towards entrepreneurship, there’s still certain times (mostly at 2am) where I’ll be sitting at my computer and a wave of panic will wash over me. This usually happens when I have a lot of small projects to complete and not enough time to do them all in. It’s also really late at night when I should have been sleeping. The way past it is usually (surprise surprise) go to sleep!
If the panic hits during the day, then it’s time to take a good few deep breaths and get away from the computer for a while. Working while your brain and body are in a major funk will get you nowhere. The panic makes me dither about procrastinating and feeling overwhelmed. I’ll check my mail, I’ll email someone back, I’ll check my mail again.. time for some news.. time for a bit of work.. back to email.. oooh a text message. That is not productive.. so give it up and go for a walk or better yet go home, get some rest and try again in a few hours or if you can manage it, the next day.
What to do when the money runs out a.k.a SHOW ME THE MONEY!
The hardest thing to deal with as a freelancer is the waves of income. Rather than a steady wave (if you find out how to do that then give me a buzz) there always seams to be times of feast or famine. I’m reasonably well established after 4 years but there just isn’t enough hours in the day for everything I need to do. I know I could create products and sell them.. but I have no time. This is a big problem with the services industry if you sell by your hourly rate. The best idea (which is where I’m at now) is to build monthly income using products and small services (such as my WordPress maintenance packages). This provides a base income that will hopefully one day pay your basic bills so the famine is not so bad if the work dries up.
When there’s hardly any money in your account and a big pile of bills waiting to be paid (me at the moment after two weeks of vacation), then there’s only one thing to do.. work. Work like there’s no tomorrow. It’s at this point that the panic will be gnawing but you just have to work through it. Take it moment by moment. A cup of tea or juice, switch on the comp and away you go. Before you know it, it’ll be time for feast again!