What a freelance remote worker learns after failing
A freelancer’s dream is to support himself working remotely, by his own terms. This means switching from supplementing your full time job to living off remote working. It’s a great dream, yet few people actually manage to make it come true. This is because most of them stop after failing.
Failing is part of the job for a remote worker
I’ve failed. All my friends who work remotely failed. Not once, but multiple times. It’s easy to fall for the dream of making more money online, but freelancing is not as easy as it seems. This is how most remote workers end up failing at their first try: they lose everything they have. After such experience, few try again; most of them cut the losses and move on, resuming their office job.
But this is not how you become a successful remote worker!
To become a digital nomad you need perseverance, among lots of other things. The research for opportunities can quickly turn into a cover for laziness – you keep looking for new things to do, but you don’t commit to any of them. You just jump from one project to another, aimlessly. Meanwhile, the pile of bills grows and grows.
This is not how you tackle freelancing! Not if you want to make a living off it!
Failure is part of any business, so you need to accept it, but you have to take a step back and analyze what went wrong after each bad experience. This is how you are going to improve your workflow and eventually reach the point when you will succeed in your digital nomad business.
Focus on “business”
Notice the word “business”: being a remote worker doesn’t mean you’ve closed the deal when it comes to businesses. Quite the contrary! You are now running your own business, a remote business. You are the only one responsible for its development and success, so you need to learn from each failure and work on improving your digital nomad business.
This post won’t be able to spare you from failure (probably), but I hope it will give you an idea on how to recognize the signs of a failure approaching.
Divide your personal time from the working time
The line between work and life fades out for a remote worker and many find themselves working 24/7, which is a sure way to overwork yourself. Having a strong self control is vital for drawing a bold line between what’s personal and what’s professional.
Aim to have a working strategy and a physical working space, divided from the space where you usually spend your free time. You can work in a cafe, like most digital nomads do, or rent an office space. If this seems too “office” for you, just make sure you work in a specific room, at a desk, not on the couch or in the bed. Subconsciously, the idea of “going to work” can help you become more productive.
Establish a specific working schedule and stick to it – when you’ve reached the “closing hour” close the laptop and go out, live your life! You will be amazed to see how much this changes your freelancing life and your overall productivity.
There is no such thing as a “magic” recipe for remote working
You know the recipe for becoming a successful remote worker, right? You give up on your job and start picking up the best projects on the market, while you travel the world and fulfill all your dreams.
This is the story told on the social media, but behind those photos, which show smiling, relaxed digital nomads who sip from a cocktail and work between two baths in the ocean is lots of work. I mean lots!
Yet there’s a catch! Don’t chase multiple leads and never expect to find the “magic” recipe, disguised in the one project which is going to make you a billionaire. Because this recipe doesn’t exist.
Stop following 50+ groups and mailing lists, stop chasing multiple leads – instead, start working on each project at a time, building your name in the industry of remote working.
Get used with the idea there is no quick win and start looking for reliable projects. Do them great, using all your resources and move on.
Work on building a sustainable workflow, the very one which helps you get things done at the end of the day. For some it’s the Pomodoro method, for others it’s gamification; find out which one is yours and stick with it, building yourself a reliable brand.
Define “make money”
Why do you want to become a remote worker? To make money? That’s the wrong answer, my dear! And the #1 reason of failure of wanna-be digital nomads. Wanting to make money is not a goal in itself and won’t get you anywhere. You have to identify a real goal, which can help you make money in the process. This is probably the most valuable life lesson of freelancing and the one rule which divides the successful entrepreneurs from the less successful or those who get stuck at the wanna-be level.
In order to make money more than once you need a strict goal and the means to track your progress and how far away you are from achieving that goal.
Having a goal allows you to assess and improve your work as a remote worker and gives you a spiritual reward, which can fuel the motivation to carry on. Moreover, having multiple small-medium goals can make the freelancing experience easier, providing you with a clear picture on your personal business.
Start small and grow steady
Bottom all, before you dive head first into the world of remote freelancing you should establish specific goals and work on reaching them one by one. Start with small goals and focus on achieving them, then set new, larger goals. One example of this is working part time as a freelancer, until you are able to earn enough to support yourself and give up on your office job. Then, set a new goal and work on achieving it. As I’ve said, divide the big task into smaller tasks, then conquer them, one by one, evolving on the way.