Freelance Isn’t All Romance – Success Tips!
Freelance work is not for everyone. To be successful as a freelancer, one must possess a particular mindset with certain characteristics and skills. Prior to understanding the prerequisites for freelance success, it’s vital that people comprehend what the term entails. By definition, a freelancer is an artist, such as a writer or graphic designer, who sells services to different employers without a long-term contract with any of them. In essence, a freelancer is a self-employed person working in a profession, or trade, in which full-time employment is also common.
So what are the prerequisites for freelance success? First, you have to realize that you’ll be working with multiple clients simultaneously with some clients being more difficult than others. Therefore, the life of a freelancer is very demanding and you’ll need effective skills, such as leadership, mediator, and negotiation skills, for managing multiple clients. In addition, you’ll also be required to perform well under tight deadlines, along with possessing a “can do” attitude for projects. Please do not confuse a “can do” attitude for an attitude that accepts every job. Sometimes you’ll have to deny, or let go, certain jobs because the cons outweigh the pros. So make a list and write down the advantages and disadvantages of each job to determine if it’s worthwhile.
Speaking of advantages and disadvantages, let’s take a look at why someone would want to go through the hassle of becoming a freelancer. Although a variety of advantages exist for becoming a freelancer, probably the greatest advantage is becoming your own boss. No more being assigned projects that you don’t want; working for a boss you dislike; having to work with teammates who you don’t trust or respect; worrying about people looking over your shoulder. Further, you’ll also enjoy the flexibility and freedom of freelance work because you could work from home. No more commuting time and expenses, along with requiring the need for work clothes, sharing cubicles, and inane chats during work breaks. Plus, you’ll also get to continually hone your skills because you’ll be wearing many hats as a freelancer similar to that of any entrepreneur.
Like anything in life, with the good comes the bad. Therefore, it’s crucial that people also understand the disadvantages associated with freelancing. For instance, because you’re able to work from home, being a freelancer is very isolated work and it’s quite easy to be alone at home for hours, or even days, working on projects. Although majority of your communication will be through emails, phone calls, and faxes, you must ensure that you make it a point to leave the house every once in awhile in an effort to see other people.
As we’re aware, becoming your own boss could also be a nightmare for those who lack the entrepreneurial spirit and talents, such as following up on projects, completing them by their deadlines, along with managing invoices and collecting payments, etc. Freelancing is also nerve-wracking for many people because not only is it difficult to predict profits but also anticipate when payments will actually arrive, thus making it quite an unstable profession, especially if you’re just starting out with limited jobs in the pipeline.
With this in mind, freelancing is not for the faint of heart. So if you’re organized, work well under pressure, along with enjoying diverse tasks and projects, then freelancing may be for you. Remember, unless you have the resources to hire others, you’ll have to take on all the responsibilities relating to your freelance business yourself.
So how do you improve on your odds for success? As a successful freelance writer myself, I recommend the following:
- Treat your freelancing as a business.
- Read books pertaining to your freelance business and incorporate lessons learned.
- Start part-time prior to determining if it’s worthwhile to go full-time based on your data and results.
- Accept projects that’ll help you build your client-base.
- Find someone in your area that’s successful as a freelancer in your niche to become your mentor.
- Determine your target audience and market your services using: websites; online portfolio; eBooks; gifts; partnerships, business cards, Internet and social media, such as LinkedIn, Fiverr, and Elance.
- Continually work on finding new clients: advertising and marketing efforts; referrals and recommendations from contacts, such as clients, family, friends, etc.
In the end, freelancing is a serious business. Not only must you invest time and money but also develop high-quality marketing materials capable of reaching target audiences. Before you decide to take the plunge, I highly recommend starting part-time in an effort to learn as much as possible while testing your marketing strategies. Once you have a few steady clients, along with some steady income, then you can determine if it’s time to take the plunge and go full-time as a freelancer.
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