Learn the key to becoming a successful full-time freelancer in today's economy and use them to plan your path to freedom and fulfillment.
Dreaming of being able to work at home, decide your own hours, and be your own boss? It seems like such an ideal scenario that it’s easy to miss the challenges behind taking on this style of working. Read these seven keys to becoming a successful freelancer and get started today!
1. Find Your Stepping Stones
Of course, finding a few long-term clients who appreciate your work and pays you high rates for it is ideal, but few freelancers find they can achieve this at the outset. One way to fill the gap can be freelancing websites such as Conyac. If you approach them in the right way, the skills you’ll gain and the money earned can be quite worthwhile.
You may need to take on some other measures to bolster your income until everything comes together. These stepping stones will hopefully give you the time to gain clarity over how to approach your endeavors strategically.
Working part-time at the job you’re at already.
Moving back in with your parents.
Being creative in finding ways to minimize costs.
2. Brand Yourself
If you want to be treated as a professional, you need to present yourself as one. Perception is reality for most people.
Here are a few items to consider:
Setup a custom email address and website/blog.
Set up two or three social media accounts on platforms where your target clients are likely to be spending time. You’ll want to post daily to get in front of them.
Print business cards via a service such as Moo.
Clean up your wardrobe and have at least one outfit that you can wear to networking events so that you make the right impression.
3. Cultivate Relationships
We humans are social animals. Our growth can be greatly accelerated by forging quality bonds with like-minded people. Building the right relationships can also help generate introductions that lead to a pipeline of new gigs and also provide you with expertise when you need it.
While relationships take time to cultivate before it is possible to reap the benefits, some things can accelerate the process.
If you are a natural introvert, you may need to work on your posture, tone of voice, and making just the right degree of eye contact.
Ask deeper questions and show genuine interest in others.
Focus on what you can do for people and work towards becoming the go-to person for your specialty.
Rather than networking with people who do exactly what you do, go to places and events where you’ll meet people with complementary expertise.
4. Contact Your Target Clients Directly
In addition to networking, it is worthwhile directly contacting the people and businesses you want to serve. This can seem intimidating, but as long as you make the right approach and are tactfully persistent, it can pay off greatly.
Be sure to personalize each approach after checking out their company blog, website, and social media. Tell them that you are available for freelancing and provide links to examples of your work.
If you don’t get a response, it doesn’t necessarily mean rejection. It could just be that the person missed your message or meant to follow-up with you but got distracted and forgot. Keep a list and try contacting them again later.
Many companies prefer to work with freelancers rather than take on the risk of hiring full-time staff, so as long as you are offering value for money and taking the right approach, you’ll start to win gigs eventually.
5. Treat it Like a Business
Thinking of freelancing as your own business is empowering and motivates you to provide the best service possible. It will change the way you network to sell your services, communicate with clients, and deal with unexpected client requests.
You also need to know your worth through being aware that you are competing in a market against other service providers with similar or better capabilities. Once you are on top of this aspect, you can begin to position yourself as being unique to avoid being commoditized and having to only compete on price.
When starting out, you are likely going to have to work for a drastically reduced rate to build up your clientele and portfolio. Regard this as a learning experience and investment.
Part of operating as a business is also keeping track of your finances and paperwork properly. If this isn’t your strong point, look into online services or complementary service providers who can help cover your weak points.
6. Establish Multiple Income Streams
When freelancers and solopreneur get sick or injured, it often brings their fledgling business to a complete halt. The same if you feel like taking a break or traveling.
Of course, it’s critical to be involved in your business as you build it. However, it is essential to cultivate multiple income streams. So-called “passive income” streams will continue working even when you can’t. These include online products such as courses, a blog that generates advertising income from visitors, and investments.
Eventually, you want these to become the pillars of your business so that you have the freedom to come and go as you need.
If after reading all of the above, you’re feeling overwhelmed and intimidated by the prospects of becoming a full-time freelancer, consider starting out with it as a side-hustle. Register with a marketplace such as Conyac and take it step-by-step.
Whether you go full or part-time, freelancing is competitive. The key is to have the mindset of being a service provider and aiming to satisfy your clients by making their lives easier.
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Written by DLKR