Each month, I’m creating a post for you to share your latest projects, goals, challenges, and accomplishments. I hope you will participate by leaving comments and sharing any relevant links!
That has always been the plan, anyway. Looking back over my recent posts, I have not made a post of this type since April.
May and June (during which Ramadan also took place this year) went by in such a complete whirr that I am still dizzy from the aftermath.
Something strange happens almost every Ramadan. By the grace of Allah, I tend to get several new client requests during this month, while old clients (some of whom I have not heard from for years) suddenly reappear with new projects of their own. This is on top of whatever else I might happen to be working on.
Ramadan is obviously a month of enormous blessings, but my theory is also that Muslim freelancers tend to be less available during Ramadan, creating a surge of work for others. Either that, or people specifically choose Ramadan as a time during which it’s finally time to launch that new product or service.
My freelance business is a “family” business, and I am often able to delegate certain tasks to others on the team. The more specialized work, however, requires me to be fully involved, which means that I have to be very selective about the types of projects I accept. A few months ago, I made a somewhat unfortunate error in judgment—accepting a project from a new client that required much more time than I could reasonably dedicate. Looking at the overall budget for this project, I initially welcomed this new alliance but soon found that I would be unable to accept important upcoming work from my regular, long-term clients if I continued.
This presented me with a dilemma that was a bit difficult to navigate as long-term clients should almost always be a top priority in a healthy freelance business. Projects for these “tried-and-trusted” clients are what help sustain you during the inevitable feast-and-famine cycles we experience as freelancers.
Regrettably, I had to end my partnership with the new client earlier than planned. On the positive side, however, I did not violate any contract we had together. We were still testing each other out and had divided the project into smaller tasks that did not yet require a firm commitment from either side. I finished the first task, explained what made the job so time-consuming and why I would be unable to continue, and recommended where the client could find the required talent to complete the job. We ended things on friendly terms.
As you can see, the safeguard of a “trial” period can be crucial to accurately gauging the viability a new freelance relationship. Money is undoubtedly important but should not be the only deciding factor in whether a project is a good fit for you. A project should be evaluated on all of its merits, including whether it aligns with your moral and spiritual values.
Having said that, make sure that your rates are not too low. Working long hours for low rates is a vicious circle that often traps you into not having enough time to identify (much less take advantage of) better freelance opportunities. This point is so important that it forms the basis for my other website (Freelance Market Guides), where I try to show freelance writers how to attain (and maintain) basic standards for freelance income. If you aspire to make at least $2,000 a month or more, I hope you’ll join me there as I show how it can be done.
It’s normal to feel a bit “selfish” when looking out for your financial interests, but you are also doing potential clients a favor when you reject projects that aren’t a good fit (whatever the reason). You can’t usually produce your best work when you are under severe stress or financial pressure.
Have you ever regretted accepting a freelance project? What did you learn from the experience? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below!
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