What goes around comes around. That's supposed to be the simplest and the best known Karma definition ever. For freelancers, Karma has a much deeper meaning and higher importance. Why?
Why Is Karma Every Freelancer's Best Friend?
Young and enthusiastic freelancers like to use the word freedom as a single term that describes freelancing the best. Older, a bit more experienced, and not necessarily wiser freelancers, such as myself, prefer a different word. If I'm to describe freelancing in just one word that would definitely be - helplessness.
You don't and can't control many things working as a freelancer. Your money, reviews, and professional career are in your clients' hands more than any profession in the world. Being a more or less helpless freelancer, you appreciate any help you could possibly get. Even if it is nothing more than a principle, such as Karma both Good and Bad.
After a few hundred projects, give it or take, I realized that there's no point in worrying about payments and arguing with bad clients. I come up with a sentence that had a magical and calming effect on me. Karma will take care of you, this way or another, sooner or later. Don't get me wrong. That wasn't a curse, but rather my freelance mantra. Something that helps me not lose my mind and fall apart.
Ah, one more very important thing. Karma works both ways. I'm under a constant self-imposed pressure to deliver the best work I can. Make no mistake about it. That's not because I'm afraid I won't get paid or I will get a bad review otherwise. I honestly believe that Karma will punish me for not being truthful. I remember a client from Denmark, I think, who wasn't happy with my work. We spend more time arguing than working. I got paid nevertheless. I got "Karma served" as well. I wanted to refund the client, but he told me that Karma would take care of it. You know what? It did a few weeks later.
I got burned by another client. Maybe that was Karma in action or just bad lack. I don't know and I don't care. My first Karma lesson learned. Now, I understand you can ask me this question. Does Karma work the other way for you? Do all those clients who have rubbed me the wrong way eventually got what they deserved? Honestly, I don't know. I didn't bother to check. This may sound a bit strange, but Karma has never been a weapon of retribution for me. I discovered it can be a surprisingly effective monetizing tool. How?
Karma Ain't A Bitch, It Can Make You Rich!
Both clients and freelancers experience something called the dubble-bubble-negative-effect when the other party plays an unfair game. In my freelance case, it means that I lose time and nerves with a bad client. That's the first trouble. The second one is that I'm very likely to miss a good client and money-making opportunity because I'm stuck, nervous or simply exhausted. The same applies to the clients. This is what happens when you try to prove you're right.
Instead, I just say Karma will take care of it and I'm relieved. I feel like the heavy burden is lift off my chest. I feel good. No negative thoughts and emotions to cloud my judgment and actions. I welcome a new client as if nothing happened. I let bygones be bygones with a client who did me wrong. I let the Karma ball ends up in a client's court. I would rather be hurt by a client than hurt someone as a freelancer!
Do you know how many projects has Karma helped me save this way? More than I can count. Do you know how many new clients I have won thanks to Karma? More than I can remember. A bitter freelancer is never a good nor successful freelancer. I don't know what Karma does to the other people, but it keeps me sane. That's good enough for me. Call it stupid. Call it childish, but I believe in Karma with every fiber of my freelance being. You should too!