Freelancers have all the advantages and challenges of professional independence. Working alone brings a form of freedom that you can’t find within a company. As a freelancer, you don’t need to convince anybody if you want to change your logo or refuse a project. However, should you take an ill-informed decision, there’s is no one to help you back on track. Freelancers need to look after their interests more than any other professionals. Consequently, you need to avoid behaviors that can potentially damage your business, from controversial communication to lack of organization. However, even the most careful freelancers can struggle with difficulties that are not under their control and could slow their business down. In a world where time is money, it’s not a situation you want to face. Here are five of the most understated risks that can cost freelancers a lot of time and money.
If like most freelancers your laptop is your office, the last thing you want is a device that gives you huge and unnecessary lag time. A few extra seconds on a process can cost you several hours by the end of the day, and consequently, makes it almost impossible to increase your income by taking on more projects. There are plenty of reasons for a slow device, and more often than not, it doesn’t mean that you should buy a new laptop – which is good news if you’re keeping a tight budget. If you use Windows 10 for instance, you might have come across the wsappx process in your task manager. This program updates your Windows apps and consumes a lot of memory on your CPU while installing, updating or uninstalling apps. Thankfully you can update your device drivers to fix this time-consuming glitch.
You may not use your website often, but it’s an essential platform for customer acquisition. Consequently, when most users expect a website to load under 2 seconds, you don’t want to push potential clients away with a slow online presence. Why is your website slow? Here too there can be a variety of reasons. If you’ve been building your website using a self-manageable platforms such as WordPress or Joomla, you may want to check your plugins runtime. Having too many plugins can slow down your site significantly. Similarly, code arrangement on the page can impact on its load speed too.
Slow paying accounts
Working as a freelancer exposes you to the risk of slow-paying clients. It doesn’t matter if the invoice says 30 days, some clients never pay on time, and consequently put you in financial difficulty. So it’s important to take precautions to prevent unpaid invoices. From referring to the purchase order number on the invoice, so that their accounting department can match it with an authorized transaction to filling up additional forms, you need to be proactive about administrative requirements. Another common mistake is to wait before sending the invoice, which could delay payment with slow accounts. Submit an itemized invoice as soon as the project is completed, to make sure that you don’t take any chances.
Slow email replies
How long do you need to reply to emails? When large companies aim to reply in less than 24 hours, any additional time can create a form of anxiety-based behaviors in potential clients who are left waiting for your answer. Waiting leaves people in a position where they are no control over the events. As a result, it’s no uncommon for potential prospects to get in touch with other professionals if they have to wait for too long. While most stress management strategies advise to wait up to 48 hours before answering important work questions, you might find that in reality waiting that long can cause you to lose nervous clients.
Are you a reactive or a proactive strategist when it comes to keeping your offer relevant to your current target audience? A reactive strategy will focus on responses once a specific external factor has affected your business. A proactive strategy enables you to shift your market approach to avoid threats. For small companies and freelancers, the ability to understand the market and react in advance can not only save you a lot of time but also gives you a competitive edge. Responding to repair the impact of an external change, however, may slow down your business and expose you to high competitive risks from professionals who were quick to make the right decisions.
Ultimately, as a freelancer, you need to value your time and ensure that you can define the best possible approach to maximize your efforts. From improving the speed of your device to monitoring the market, you can’t afford to take chances on how much time you waste.