Freelancing can be a great way to supplement your income, especially when you’re starting out and don’t have much of it yet! However, it can also be incredibly stressful if you aren’t prepared – if you don’t know how to be successful as a freelancer, it can feel like the work will never end! Here are some tips on how to make sure that your freelance career thrives.
1) Build up your network
Building a strong network of like-minded freelancers can make all the difference in your career. Meetups and conferences are great ways to meet other freelancers, but your social circle isn’t limited to those in your professional niche. As an entrepreneur, you should constantly seek opportunities for growth and learning—that includes engaging with people outside of your industry. For example, if you’re a freelance writer, try attending events hosted by non-profits or local business associations. By expanding your social circles, you open yourself up to more potential clients and collaboration opportunities.
2) Identify your strengths
Figuring out what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing is half of the battle. If you can build your career around your natural talents, you’ll have a much better chance of success. Make sure that you know your strengths and weaknesses—and never forget to always play to your strengths. You don’t need to be great at everything; in fact, it’s much better if you focus on just one or two things and really hone those skills. For example, maybe you’re an excellent writer but not so hot with sales. In that case, it might make sense for you to take on clients who need help with writing (or editing) but who are fine handling their own sales.
3) Focus on doing one thing well
There are numerous freelance career paths for any given field. However, you’ll probably find it easier to succeed as a freelancer if you focus on doing one thing really well and branching out from there. Choose your focus area, then work hard at mastering it so that you can attract clients willing to pay top dollar for your services. For example, if you’re an accountant who also specializes in business-plan creation and tax preparation, you could offer Full Service Accounting packages to local businesses looking for an all-in-one solution. Or maybe you could offer bookkeeping services alongside personal finance coaching or financial planning advice. The possibilities are endless!
4) Deliver quality work in a timely manner
When you first start freelancing, it can be tempting to take on everything that comes your way. While it’s great for your bank account and allows you to build up a bit of a portfolio, taking on too much work means spending too much time without enough work in between—which can lead you down an unproductive path where nothing gets done. Instead, do what you can to deliver quality work within deadlines so clients will want to hire you again. And if they don’t? That might mean it’s time to find new clients who are more suited to your needs.
5) Invest in yourself
Investing in yourself by learning new skills and honing your existing ones is one of the most important things you can do when you’re starting out. Investing in software, tools, equipment, education—whatever it takes to make you better at what you do—will help you grow your freelance business and allow you to charge more for what you provide. Keep investing over time and your skills will keep growing with every passing year. This will make you much more attractive to clients who are looking for someone they can trust with their projects. It also means that you won’t have to lower your rates just because other freelancers around town are doing so. If anything, you’ll be able to raise them!
Freelancing is one of the most satisfying and flexible ways of working today. The challenge for many, however, lies in knowing how to get their business off on its feet. What should you do first? How do you find work? How much should you charge? This guide provides some answers—and gives freelancers what they need to succeed in business.