How to Make Freelancing Less of a Struggle

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain “affiliate” links to products and services I recommend. I’ll receive a small commission if you decide to purchase one of these products or services. I only recommend products I genuinely believe will help you in running your freelance business.

A young freelance padawan asks:

“…One of my ‘anchor’ clients, that has consistently sent me 1,500-1,700 work/month for the past year has inexplicably dropped off the radar and is now ghosting me.

I’m worried that this is the latest account that has decided to stop working with me and found someone for half the price on Upwork instead. There’s a definite pattern there.

I would say that this is an unusual week except that it isn’t. There always seems to be some form of instability or another. I’ve managed to get through my first year of full time freelancing relatively financially unscathed but it hasn’t been kind on my blood pressure.

So …. what’s the secret to making this journey less of a roller-coaster?”

First off, if you’re losing work to “low-ballers” on Upwork, that’s a you problem. You’re not providing a high enough quality of work or something unique enough to beat out freelancers you should easily beat.

Said another way…

If I go to your gourmet burger joint, pay 13 buqs for your burger and it’s not better than a cheeseburger I can get off the McDonald’s dollar menu… whose fault is that really? The client? I don’t think so.

But, to the larger point of instability…

Look man… at a certain level, that’s just part of the deal. You’re trading the monotony of cubicle-slavery, ka-clunking a time clock and pretend laughing at your boss’ jokes for a little instability.

So, decide what you want.

That said, it also doesn’t have to feel like you’re riding the Kingda Ka at Six Flags. Save your damn money! I know you got bills to pay, mouths to feed… all that. You can trim somewhere.

Start a savings account.

Work on getting 3-6 months of fu-money built up. That way, if you hit a lull, you’re not immediately in panic mode. Or, if a client starts being a jack-wad, you can tell them to hit the bricks.

This one thing alone can change your entire life.

Beyond that, again… I will beat this horse until I pound a hole through the center of the Earth… build out an online system for bringing new clients to YOU. Inbound marketing not outbound.

To the point you have a backlog and you’re turning people away.

Social media, blogging, YouTube, Facebook, even… blek… Twitter. Build an email list and market your pants off (though, not literally). I’ve said this for years… freelancing does NOT have to be inconsistent.

It’s simply a matter of doing these things…

Or not.

Those who don’t will swear up and down that “it’s just the way freelancing is” and “there’s nothing you can do”. But, those of us who HAVE built out this system… we know better.

In fact, it takes me about an hour a day to keep mine running.

One hour to eliminate income inconsistency.

In any case, take that for what it’s worth. I know most will just roll their eyes and mumble, “Yeah, yeah, yeah”. But, the few who DO implement will come to realize it’s less about “genius insights”…

And more about IMPLEMENTING boring fundamentals.

Speaking of… these are the kinds of things I cover in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance. The boring fundamentals that actually work. Including the fundamental parts of a proper client-getting system.

Nope. It won’t leave you wet in your nether regions…

But, it just might fatten that wallet of yours a bit.

In any case, you can enroll in the course on Udemy here:



P.S. Or, if you prefer Skillshare, you can learn how to get FREE access to all my courses, including this one, here:

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John Morris


I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

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