Historically freelancing often referred to the work of journalists, writers and performers. But all of this is changing. More and more professionals are offering their services on a freelance basis and embracing the flexibility that freelancing offers. Today, graphic designers, translators, web developers, bloggers, social media experts, SEO and SEM professionals and so forth are selling their skills by the hour of by the job. Learn now, the must know, 10 commandments of how to build your freelance career.
So for all of you who are considering starting freelancing or for those that are already in it and want to learn how to build your freelance career, here are some tips on how to make life as a freelancer a little easier.
Sell, sell, sell…
You are very good at what you do but you must have customers to deliver. All freelancers require developing their selling skills and make them as important as their technical expertise because it is what will give you a living, after all.
Learn to manage your time.
If time management is important in any job, in the case of freelancing it is vital. Time is limited and you must distribute it in a rational and effective way, prioritizing those activities that generate business and dismiss or reduce those of dubious utility. Here are some tips to be effective with your time.
Watch your finances closely.
It is always best to move slowly into the freelance world. Take on a few projects while holding down a more stable job. As you move into the freelance world, you will see that the economic security derived from a fixed salary at the end of the month is over. Now your income is based on what you deliver. Get used to planning ahead and when you have an extraordinary good month, put some money aside to save for rainy days.
Get out of your comfort zone.
Perhaps you are used to feeling like a fish swimming in the comfortable waters of your professional career, simply doing what you have studied for so many years and you have gotten quite good at it. But technical expertise is not enough to succeed as a freelancer. It is necessary but not sufficient. The freelance life forces you to play many other roles in which you might not feel so comfortable. You now have to take care of selling, administration, accounting, managing people and many other roles. Don’t be afraid of embracing these new roles.
Manage the fear and failure.
Fear is a normal companion in adventure travel and let’s face it, embarking on a freelance career is full of adventure and unpredictable. Do not let the fear control you or prevent you from moving forward. Understand that there will be times of disappointment and failure, but, remember that failure is not the end of the world but rather a learning experience that can drive you and help improve your next venture.
Get your house in order.
Before you can become an effective freelancer and take on other peoples’ projects, you have to be clear about your own project! You should be able to answer questions like: What are your goals? How will you reach them? What material and resources do you need? … In short, you have to be clear about what is exactly the product that you will be offering. And all of it seasoned with a great desire to succeed.
Network and keep in touch.
Not having colleagues or bosses to ask questions or to interact with may be hard. Participate in professional forums to share knowledge and insight with other professional colleagues, and to keep up with all the innovations related to your profession.
Make sure to reinvent yourself.
You cannot afford to stagnate. If you had a good first idea that allowed you to start do not make the mistake of thinking that it will last forever. We must move forward, research, retrain … Do not stop from evolving or you run the risk of being left behind. There are many easy options today to stay up to date with your skills. Here are some interesting freelancing courses that can help you.
Take advantage of periods without work.
Depending on your expertise, certain times of the year may result in a diminished level of the amount of work you receive. Think about Christmas time or the summer. During these slow times you cannot afford to stay idle. Enjoy the slow pace of activity to begin developing new skills, or if you can afford it, take your vacation while your customers are away.
Team up with technology.
As a freelancer, you are a business owner with you as your single employee. Only technology can offset the lack of resources. Social networking software, online business applications, online resources … There are many tools on the market, some of them with free versions, which can help you better develop your work. Workhoppers will help you sell your skills or hire freelancers when you need extra help, Grasshopper will answer your calls, Salesforce will manage your client relationships, Freshbooks will maintain your books, Constant Contact will send your marketing campaigns, and Canva will help you design your ads.
Once you are ready to start, find freelance platforms where you can easily market your skills and find new projects.