Freelancers work flexi-hours, call themselves boss, hopefully do a job they love every day and often have the freedom to pursue projects they’re passionate about.
However, independent working means you always have to be at the top of your game in order to beat off the competition and create new business opportunities. With freelancing also comes the necessity of perfect organisation in relation to things like income, savings and expenses.
Are you considering a move to freelancing? Here are a few tips to help you freelance effectively.
1. Connect and collaborate
Learning from the failures and successes of others, freelancers should seek out others in their industry that could help guide them, or perhaps even refer them to clients. Don’t view these fellow freelancers as competition in your field, but as your community.
There are numerous ways to get to know people in your profession, whether it’s online or out in the world.
Twitter, meet-ups and networking events are good places to start. Dive in, introduce yourself, establish rapport and see if you can offer any assistance if they’re busy with their workload. Who knows, it could be the start of a perfect partnership!
Another idea is to research companies or individuals that have hired freelancers with similar skills to you. Contact these companies to see if you can ask them for advice. While it would be nice, you’re not necessarily looking to get hired. By reaching out, you can try to learn why they hired that particular freelancer over others in their field.
It’s a small world, especially if you believe in the six-degrees-of-separation concept. So, don’t forget about people you might already know. Send personal emails to family members, former classmates or colleagues, informing them of the type of clients you’re looking for, your specialty and to keep you in mind if they hear of anyone looking to outsource work.
2. Brand building
You work for yourself, but you also work for a business. As a freelancer, marketing your services and building your personal and professional brand’s presence is essential.
Freelancers such as photographers, designers and journalists, to name a few, must have an online portfolio that showcases their best work. Professionals not working within a creative industry, like lawyers, consultants and accountants can also create a digital portfolio. These can be filled with things like projects, case studies, industry insights and testimonials.
Publishing your own online content, like blog posts, help to optimize your SEO rankings and direct new clients to your website, while exposing your work to new audiences.
Referring back to connecting, when it comes to brand building, is absolutely essential. Get out there at every opportunity and meet people. You might not be 100% comfortable networking but you can train yourself to overcome the awkwardness. The more your brand is visible, the more you will win jobs and build your career.
3. Financial planning
This might sound obvious, but it’s obviously very important. As your own boss, you’re going to be extremely busy. As well as your own workload, you will have to assume total responsibility for your finances.
Freelance work can be unpredictable so by setting spending and earning goals each month, you can ensure you won’t get caught off guard each month. You’ll also have to do your own taxes, so put together a solid plan and get familiar with the required accounting knowledge.
4. Don’t put it all on red
What if black comes up? Going all in on one client, when you’re starting up can be risky. To avoid dry spells, work on smaller projects with multiple clients.
The Huffington Post carried out a survey in 2016 and stated that “56 percent of the freelancers we surveyed worked in multiple marketplaces, while 92 percent had other sources of income — whether in the form of part-time or full-time work — providing them with a diversified, safety net of employment.”
5. Make time for ‘me’
Working as a freelancer, it can be easy to fall into working all hours of the day and night. While you might think that this is necessary to get your freelancing career off the ground or to keep a demanding client satisfied, it’s important to remember you can’t do everything at once.
Take a break when you need to and only work extra hours when you absolutely have to. Switch off at a regular time of the day and set sensible working hours.
Nobody, such as a company or a manager, is looking out for your well-being so it’s essential that you remember to look after yourself both mentally and physically.