Freelancing is a frontier career progression for many, something you can rely on for a decent income while working in the comfort of your home. So, whether you need to replace your income after losing your job to the pandemic or want to supplement your income with some outside sources, creating a successful freelance career is well within reach.
Freelancing has many possibilities, making it an excellent career for people who prefer working remotely or find themselves struggling to find a traditional job. From autonomy and flexibility to control and the ability to chart your own course, there are many reasons to turn to freelance as a career.
Creating a successful freelance career
Without a doubt, freelancing is a contributing sector to the economy; something that seems to grow more impactful every year. Coupled with the pandemic this is an exciting time to become a freelancer. However, taking this leap isn’t likely as straightforward as you may imagine. It requires a lot, and there is a steep learning curve. Here are things you should know before you start your freelance career:
Why become a freelancer?
First, ask yourself if becoming a freelance worker fits with your long and short-term goals. Everyone has a motivation; what is yours? Your answer is crucial in shaping your perspective and helping you keep going during the lonely days of freelancing when you may struggle to cover your bills.
Are you after the money? Do you want to be your own boss? Do you want to avoid commuting to work? Many people are motivated by the hostile work environment as freelancing offers an escape route. Once you find something about freelancing that inspires you, you have a reason to do whatever it takes to succeed in your freelancing career.
What do you have to offer?
Before you become a freelancer, you have to know what you can offer in the market. What can you do that others might pay for? Are you a great graphic designer? Can you write advertising or copy for blog posts? Do you have social media figured out and can share the management of their platforms with other businesses? Before you even consider freelancing, you should think about what you do well. You must focus on a niche and hone your skills and work toward constant improvement.
Freelancing is increasingly competitive, with many people offering the same services. Therefore, you have to make sure that you are unique. Before you start, look into the competition and figure out how to improve what exists or offer what is missing. Initiate Lift is a great site to get started on freelancing.
Are you patient enough?
Freelancing takes time before you can start making good money, so don’t expect to start earning straight away. In fact, you may find you’re spending more money than you make in the beginning. Be ready to send many proposals without success, create a network, manage your portfolio, and bide your time before you can start gaining traction needed to succeed with your target market and win business.
If you are not patient, you might give up within the first three months. During this period, you are most likely to work on building your brand without seeing the cash. If you start earning faster, that’s great. However, don’t expect it when you are just getting started.
Can you manage your money?
Before you delve into freelancing, you have to understand that you are responsible for all your resources. You have to learn how to track your finances, spend, and save because most of the projects you complete involve waiting for payment, sometimes for weeks. Plus, you may not gain businesses and must ration your resources until you turn revenue positive.
Keeping tabs on your cash inflows and outflows is very crucial to your freelance career. Therefore, you need to find a way to manage your money before you get started. If it helps, download an app to help you sort your finances.
How much will you charge?
This is a big question with a significant impact on your freelancing career. How much money should you charge for your work? Which criteria should you use to determine your prices?
With this in mind, you can charge per hour or project. The choice is often based on the projects you have and work inflow. Accordingly, you should remember that freelancing is a very competitive industry with many people sending proposals for the same project you want. Therefore, pay attention to the fees charged by your competition. Charging more than your competition might mean you don’t get much business but charging significantly less than others suggests to prospective customers that you’re not very good at what you do. BTW, I find customers willing to pay a high price are actually EASIER to work with than those who demand a significant discount.
Do you have a plan B?
Freelancing is often very inconsistent at times, with high and low periods. Your success as a freelancer depends on your network and workload. However, even the most successful freelancers experience slow periods.
You need a little cushion to survive through the low seasons. For this, you may need a plan B to help if you make it through slow seasons.
How will you attract clients?
Getting customers is one of the scariest parts of freelancing, especially for beginners. The whole idea of having the power to choose who to work with and when to work is thrilling. However, you must realize that sometimes getting someone to work with is another task that’s a serious challenge.
Finding a client when you are just getting started requires a lot of legwork. To succeed, you need a functional website or a blog where you can highlight your work. Additionally, you must focus on marketing your brand on various platforms.
Also, managing your time effectively is challenging, especially as you often work alone. You have to juggle finding more clients with meeting the needs of existing ones to ensure you deliver the highest quality work possible.
Are you disciplined?
Being the boss may be a good thing until you realize you make all the decisions and your job depends on making the right decisions. Before you become too picky and bossy, you need to know that there are millions of freelancers out there gunning for the same project you want. And some will go a long way to impress prospective clients.
To become a successful freelancer, you need the discipline to approach your work with structure and stability. It is okay to work in bed in your pajamas. However, you cannot afford to start working late and missing deadlines or delivering something less than your best quality work or you’ll lose clients and make it harder to attract new ones.
You are the brand
Whether you are a copywriter, a graphic designer, a musician, or a web developer, you are the brand and have to conduct yourself in a way that portrays the image you seek for your brand. Everything you do represents the business, even posts to social media from your personal accounts. You have to be very careful with what you do because a simple mistake can spell doom for the business.
The bottom line
Freelancing is one of the best ways to earn a living while maintaining flexibility and purpose. With so many people turning into this industry for a career, you need to stand out to achieve success. There are a lot of things you should know before you start your freelancing career. Research the market, improve your skills in your niche, market yourself, and above all, have a backup plan.
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