If you have chosen the freelance career you most likely have asked yourself many times this question: How do I succeed as a freelancer? Is it possible to make a nice living from a freelancing career? Here are 6 tips / strategies to help you make it happen and gain a competitive advantage on other professionals.
The main challenges are to align your talents with your customers’ needs, create a permanent customer base and be productive all while managing your business and personal finances.
Align your talents and skills with market needs
Undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges for freelancers is to align their skills, experience and specific knowledge to the needs of companies or organizations in order to provide a service or a product that is high in demand.
The way to start is to list all your skills and knowledge. Identify the ones you feel highly capable of and connect with people and companies that would strongly benefit from that specific knowledge. Research, draw up lists, question and inquire around your community; you will find many subjects for innovation and improvement that can address specific corporate needs and ultimately represent a business opportunity for you.
Manage your time efficiently
“Time is money”. Managing your own time can be a great opportunity but it can also become a major threat. Hours, days, weeks, and even months can pass by without you realizing you have not been managing your time effectively.
Your home might be very comfortable to work from but it might also have many distractions. Focus, organize your time, schedule work and put in 100% of your concentration when you are on task.
Consider the following points to make better use of your time:
– Use a calendar, schedule all your daily activities: rest, exercise, maintenance activities, cooking, purchasing, others.
– Assign an effective work schedule and stick to it.
– Assign a schedule to connect on your social networks.
– Turn off your Whatsapp or other personal messaging during working time.
– It is very common to lose time on the Internet, so stick a post-it indicating the purpose of the search. This will help you concentrate and remind you to avoid wasting time in browsing.
– It is important to establish small goals to accomplish each day. Concentrate from 45 minutes to two hours before taking short breaks.
– Save time by learning to cook and eat simply and healthily. A Crockpot is a good option.
Time management is especially important for freelancers as hours is what you sell. Here are some tips on how to achieve it.
Properly calculate your rate
Another one of the biggest challenges for a freelancer is finding the right price for their services. A balance between not giving away his/her work and not to over-estimate the work putting you out of the market. So it is crucial to properly calculate your tariff for a specific project, including your time, expenses and related costs such as marketing and others.
Once you have established a selling price for your product or service it is then very important to consider price competition before submitting.
Develop a working plan
Planning takes work; most people concentrate in executing the project and forget about the importance of planning. A working plan is a key tool for a freelancer; one that has clear objectives, appropriate strategies, deadlines and resources.
Effective planning means working to achieve the stated objectives on time and on budget.
Once the “what” (goal) is defined, develop the “how” (strategies and tasks), then the “when” (time), “where” (place); and “with what” (money, people, materials, etc.). Find a project management tool online to facilitate this step.
Use social networks and marketplaces to promote your skills
There are three key aspects for freelancers in the use of social networks: sharing, creating and building trust and more trust.
The main goal is for you to become an influencer in your domain and an agent of change for you to exercise influence on a target audience through your opinions. You can achieve this goal through groups where participants will identify with your expertise.
Build attractive content, share and become a leader in your community.
To actively participate in social networks requires a great capacity to learn, innovate, adjust and continuously change and adapt. It requires awareness to everything happening in your surroundings.
One effective way to market your services is to register on freelance sites such as Upwork . Guru or Workhoppers
Organize your finances
Undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges for those who operate as a freelancer is related to the sound management of its finances. We suggest the following freelance tips for you:
– Prepare an annual budget of revenues and expenditures and identify the months where your expenses are higher than usual.
– Properly handle your credit cards, avoid unnecessary debt.
– Save when you have surplus income.
– Control your expenses.
– Create a contingency fund for unforeseen expenses.
The above freelance tips should be kept in mind at all times. But most importantly, having passion and loving what you do is the key to continued success.
Looking for more tips on how to start your career as a freelancer? Check out The Beginners Guide to remote work and Freelancing: Q&A from the experts.