Is It Time for Freelancers to Slow Down?

We freelancers seem obsessed with speed. There are many articles out there to instruct us on how to get more done in less time.

Not only that, but I’m often contacted by freelancers who are looking for ways to do their work more quickly. The common thinking is that the more a freelancer does, the more they will earn.

And it’s not just freelancing. Our entire culture seems to be in a rush.

But is it true? Is faster better? The signs are out there that it may be time for many freelancers (and others) to slow down.

In this post, I’ll describe some of the problems associated with trying to accomplish too much. I’ll also address one reason why freelancers try to work too fast.

5 Problems with Going Too Fast

What could be wrong with trying to get more done?

A lot, it turns out.

Here are five unfortunate consequences of trying to get too much accomplished in too little time:

  1. Mistakes. The faster you try to work, the more likely you are to make a mistake in your work. And while some mistakes are relatively minor, some are not. Serious mistakes can mean that you have to redo part or all of the work. In fact, taking a little more time on a project initially could mean you ultimately spend less time overall.
  2. Skipped Steps. Another drawback to trying to work too quickly is that you may skip steps in a project that you really should complete. And your record keeping for a project is probably sloppier when you are in a hurry. In the long run, skipped steps can come back to haunt you later.
  3. Less of a Personalized Touch. One of the big advantages of freelancing is that you can offer the client more personal attention than a larger organization could. Trying to work too fast completely destroys this freelancing advantage. Instead of taking the time to offer a client personal attention, a hurried freelancer is likely to avoid or minimize interactions.
  4. Missed Deadlines. An overloaded freelancer is likely to forget to do something important and miss a deadline. And even they don’t forget, it’s likely that they will have underestimated the amount of time one or more projects actually takes to complete. Even one wrong estimate can cause a domino effect that makes all of a freelancer’s projects late.
  5. Stress. Last, but not least, is that trying to get too much done in too little time is really stressful for most freelancers. And we all know that stress is usually not a good thing. So, why make your life more stressful than it has to be? Slow down and take the time to do your projects at a comfortable pace.

The bottom line is that placing too much emphasis on working quickly is bad for both freelancers and clients. But, is it really possible to slow down?

I think it is.

How You Can Slow Your Freelancing Business Down

Many freelancers think that they have to work at a break-neck pace in order to make a living. But the only time that is really true is if you are marketing yourself as the cheapest alternative in your field.

If you sit and wait for clients to come to you or if you find your clients mainly on bidding sites, then your unique selling proposition for your freelancing business is probably having the lowest price (even if you don’t realize it).

You can shift your selling proposition by changing your marketing strategy. Target a different breed of client (one that is willing to pay you to spend more time on your projects) by:

  • Networking with company decision-makers. Ideally, you should do this online and face-to-face. Make an effort to follow and interact with high-quality potential clients on social media. Be a part of any relevant professional organizations or conferences that meet in your town.
  • Contacting select companies directly. Many freelancers are afraid to contact companies directly. They are afraid of rejection, but direct marketing (through cold calling or targeted mailings) can actually be quite effective if you have something of value to offer.

Your Turn

Do you think it’s time for freelancers to slow down? Do you think it’s possible?

Why, or why not?

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