Deciding How Often to Look for Projects
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The Downside of High-Frequency Job Searches
The benefits of looking for new projects frequently should now be clear. However, there are some drawbacks to doing this as well.
The first is that it takes more time. Even though the total number of projects you’re scanning through will be roughly the same—not identical, because you’ll catch more projects that would be listed and filled before you saw them, if you looked less often—there is overhead time associated with looking through site search engines or project feeds. It’s not a lot more time, but it is more.
The second is that it can be disruptive. Some freelancers really need large blocks of uninterrupted time to do their work, and don’t want to stop often to change gears. Remember that you won’t be just searching, but also pausing to submit proposals (since if you don’t do that, you lose the advantages associated with searching frequently in the first place.)
In the end, you need to decide for yourself how often you look for projects, balancing the benefits and costs and tailoring the frequency of the project search to your own situation. I think there’s a personality factor involved here as well. Some freelancers really enjoy the “thrill of the hunt” that’s associated with looking for work: I know that I fall into this category. I actually get a bit of a kick out of seeing a new listing that could mean a new client contact or project. People like me can and should look through the listings frequently.
Others really hate this aspect of freelancing, and searching for new projects very often would burn them out. Or, they already have so much work that they don’t need to take on many new projects. Some work disciplines are also more prone to rush jobs or “satisficing” clients than others.
As always, do what you feel works best for you.
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Last Site Update: February 1, 2012
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