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10 Ways to Not “Lose Yourself” in Work?
Why Do I Freelance?

When Is It Time to Say “Enough?”

Posted by Valencia on September 5th, 2009

I’m an expert in some aspects of freelancing. After about eight years in the biz I’m finally comfortable with pricing projects and I’m a pretty good judge of how long a particular project will take. But as far as knowing when to stop accepting new projects, I might still be a rookie.

I haven’t taken on a new client since the beginning of the year. And for the past three months I’ve only worked with two clients. Freelancing often involves juggling multiple assignments and servicing different clients simultaneously. And talk to any seasoned freelancer and they’ll say, “never put your eggs in one basket.” I live by this notion, and with only two clients, I should be on the look for new clients.

My plan was to look for additional clients beginning September 1st. Well, September’s here, and to be perfectly honest, I’m in no rush to query markets or send out samples. But that’s just me. Is it risky to place my trust in so few clients? Maybe, maybe not.

In speaking with other freelancers, I discovered that many are content with their existing projects. And if given the option, they wouldn’t seek new projects. But there’s a nagging voice in the back of their heads that keeps them searching for new or better opportunities.

What if a client pulls the plug on a project without warning?

I lived this scenario many times. But unlike the past, I’m now prepared for the unexpected.

I think all freelancers should have the option of accepting work or not accepting work. That’s the beauty of being self-employed. Constantly patrolling for opportunities and stressing about your next paycheck is no picnic; nor is feeling the pressure to maintain a huge work load.

As freelancers we have to stay one step ahead of our clients. And oftentimes, it’s feast or famine. But simplifying your life and getting your finances in order gives you the flexibility to decide “not” to accept an assignment. And if a project ends unexpectedly, you can take your time looking for a new opportunity, or decide that your current projects are enough to sustain you financially.

Being self-employed or working from home is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. But you can lose your joy by taking on too much and ignoring your limitations.


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