The success anyone will have in freelance will depend not on luck, not necessarily determination, but just the simple belief that the day will come where you realize that yes, you can make a living doing it.
Let me explain. What is a freelancer’s primary fear when first starting out on their own? Finding some project to work on? Yes, but that is probably number two. Of course the number one fear is “How am I going to make money to pay the bills?” This fear is often so pervasive that it prevents the larger part of the “rookies” from actually toughing out their first couple months and continuing.
Starting out in freelance is almost like anything you do for the first time (ahem…). For a freelancer, it is finding the first project. I’m sure other freelancers can attest to the fact that projects get much easier to find after the first one is out of the way.
The problem is that even after completing that first project and getting paid whatever, the “How am I going to make money?” thought still haunts every second. Something happens, though, to diminish it’s power and that is you find your second, third, fourth project and so on. If you are still a freelancer at the end, you are left to wonder why you even worried about money in the first place.
Those are the ones that go on to be successful.
The other rookies that continue to worry about money, even after finding and completing more projects, often reach a point to where they need to go back to a regular job and regain that security. They just could not handle either not earning what they use to or the worry about money was just too much of a burden.
The truth is that the majority of rookie freelancers do not make what they expect to when first starting out, unless they have already prepared themselves for poverty line salaries. This is because instead of a career specialty, there are also administrative tasks that are time consuming and are often met with unfamiliarity. A few key ones are finding projects, sending invoices and managing collections.
These are all a part of the learning curve to freelancing, though, and anyone can get through it and enjoy their success. It is only a matter of getting that little demon in your head to stop screaming “Where’s the money?” and then you are home free.