Most independent contractors fail because of a lack of a support system when something does not follow the plan. This impacts not only their clients, but their outside relationships as well.
If you are a "confederacy of one" and rely on no one and no one relies on you, you need to get a backup plan. Illnesses, accidents, delays in a project, or other personal emergencies can make you look ridiculous in front of your client without a solid support system that allows you to weather the unexpected. You need to find a group of professional associates who can step in and finish the job without disadvantaging your client if you are to maintain credibility with them. Otherwise, when it all falls apart in your life....and it will from time to time....you are going to lose clients.
You also have to set expectations and get agreement with the significant personal relationships in your life. Nothing will create more stress that diverts your mental energies from the job at hand than chronically disappointing people who are important to you. Make sure they know when they can count on you and when they will have to cope on their own. It beats trying to work those issues out on the fly. Make sure that they know that having a client is not like having an employer. Clients do not have to understand.
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