Simple Tips: How to Become a Successful Freelancer
I have been working in the field of graphic design and freelance for about five years. I said “about” because I didn’t have a definite start date, just things went their own way. Probably, the decisive factor that influenced my decision to become a freelancer was the prospect of stopping working for someone else. And I never regretted the decision then made to be at the helm myself.
I would like to share what was useful to me and what can help you start your career as a freelancer. This is suitable for web designers, computer graphic artists, photographers and anyone who runs their own business.
Plan your days
We perceive time as something infinite. We entertain ourselves with the thought that there will always be more hours, more days, more months, more years. On the road to success in freelance, let me give you one piece of advice: never underestimate the importance of an action plan.
To be a successful freelancer means that you yourself are in control of everything, and therefore it depends only on you whether you will follow the intended course or not. When more work appears, the schedule and planning of your days becomes even more important. We all know this feeling when an approaching deadline with a Damocle sword hangs overhead. You understand exactly what I mean. This can easily be avoided if you systematically build your work: know what and when work is going on. Find time in the week to make your task list outlining your goals for the next few days, and stick to it!
It is very important to know which way your career or business should move, and not to go astray. There is no point in aimless work for the sake of the work itself. In order to follow the intended path and be focused on your goals, develop a business plan. Understand what services you can offer your customers, what is your circle of potential customers and how best to get them. Remember to include goals, financial requirements and how you plan to achieve these goals in your business plan.
Thomas Ingrassia, a former higher education official who has switched to freelance and is currently working as an entertainment manager, said:
“I know that now I am doing the work that is important to me. And I am the one who is responsible for my work, I am the one who keeps everything under control and makes decisions. And this is what helps me to be focused and motivates me to continue my business. ”
Build your website or blog
Want to look more professional? Create your own blog or website. It should serve as a bridge between you and your clients, as many are looking for freelancers on the Internet. But do not forget to regularly update your blog. It is important to show your potential customers that you are an active freelancer so that they do not go to competitors.
Create your brand
Together with the development of the site, create your own brand. If you want your business to stand out from the sea of others for potential customers and employees, then you need to look professional. Creating a brand should follow an understanding and a clear vision of what you want to achieve in your work, and therefore it is important not to forget about the level of quality that will suit your customers. During the creation and development of your brand, do not be afraid of minor failures, look for new markets.
“I always felt weird working online and selling myself, but I found that it was necessary. When I first started in this business, the rule was: "Let your work speak for itself." This is still relevant. “You just need to advertise yourself and your experience,” said Tim Geoghegan, a former executive director of the online agency, now the digital nomad.
Having a brand is very important for you as a freelancer, because you are your brand. But don't be discouraged if customers don’t knock on your door immediately after launching the brand. Be focused, continue to work to attract customers and remember that the main thing is quality, not quantity.
As a freelancer, you will quickly realize that a salary does not come to you every month as scheduled. Regardless of the size of your business, it is very important to be able to manage your finances. It would be a good idea to install some kind of accounting software for this. Start saving some of your profits, as one thing is certain: when you get a good fee from one profitable client, the temptation is to waste everything up to a penny. But do not be fooled: there is a high probability that your profit over the next month will rapidly fall. So save your money!
Try to find a job that can give you a steady income. It’s worth the effort to find customers who will provide you with ongoing projects, even if you will take less payment from them. At the same time, art director Sheena Matheiken looks strategically at the pay rate, arguing:
“Always settle for projects that you really like, even if they don’t meet your standard rate. If you are wise to the choice, then in the end, working for less money will give you more options. I lead to the fact that you can agree that by doing work for a lower fee you reserve the right to be more flexible and to carry out the project longer. Almost always, it suits the customer. Customers appreciate the fact that you are ready to lower your bid for them because you like their business, product, etc. And in the end, this leads to more work at your standard rate. "
Social media is your assistant
For the prosperity of your business, it is vital to get in touch. In recent years, the online world has become a place where you can get to know a huge number of people and get useful connections. No matter where you are, sites like Twitter can help you find customers all over the world. Creating your own name will take time, but having Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts can help speed this process up. Constantly look for contacts with those people who can ask you the desired motion vector or bring them to potential customers.
Artist Moose Allain said: “I started tweeting experimentally. I tried to be original and witty and from time to time I published photos of my works. The number of my subscribers increased when two people with many subscribers recommended me. And soon, people began to ask if they could buy the work that I post online. Twitter is an incredibly useful tool for communicating your ideas and products to people. For me, he has become not only a social network, but also a creative intermediary. ”
Along with promoting your brand and maintaining social media accounts, do not forget to create your offline portfolio. It is very important to have an impressive tangible portfolio if a potential employer wants to see firsthand your work. After creating your own brand, develop for yourself business cards, letterheads with your logo - anything you want. So you will simultaneously develop your portfolio.
Your freelance portfolio should include the kind of work you would like to focus on. It can contain both the work that you did for clients, and your personal projects. Self-created samples are often better than nothing.
You must also look professional. Just because you are your own boss doesn’t mean you can afford to talk to your customers as you please and then expect them to continue to work with you. You should look presentable: do not forget about respectful respect for clients and elementary politeness.
Collaborate with your competitors
Competition cannot be avoided. Therefore, it is better to know your competitors. Successful freelancer Leif Kendall argues that you should strive for "the kind of work that would be the best thing your competitors do." Make you stand out among them thanks to your active presence in the digital information space and attractive individual character traits.
Make contact with those who are in the same conditions as you. They can help you cope with projects that are too large for you alone and may give you work that they don’t have time for. Bonus: working with those who work with your potential customers might be a good idea. For example, photographers can collaborate with wedding planners, computer graphic artists can collaborate with marketing consultants.
As a freelancer, you most likely work mainly at home alone, and therefore it is also important to maintain partnerships. This is a good way to avoid isolation for your own health, because loneliness can exhaust you. Perhaps you should even consider renting a workspace at a local coworking center to work among people for at least a short period of time. Many of the people you can meet there are freelancers like you, and they are more than happy to be able to chat with someone they like, and even share knowledge and experience.
Don’t be afraid to say no!
You should never suffer from your work. Learn the simple truth: another client - sometimes it's too much. Look at the volume of your work and realistically evaluate the situation. If you take another client, will this not affect the quality of your work? Your priority should always be that for the client or the employer to perform their work at the highest level.
If your intuition tells you that you will not be able to work with a particular client, do not be afraid to believe your instincts and refuse. I guarantee that you will not regret it.
Aware - means armed
This is very important for everyone in a creative environment. Keep your eyes open. This world is your inspiration. You never know what you see on your freelance road. No matter how battered it may sound, carry a pen and notebook with you. Write notes on how and why some kind of advertising poster or building looks great, what you feel when you look at them. Pay attention to changes in trends and even collect brochures or business cards from restaurants, coffee shops for example - everywhere, collect everything that seems successful and innovative to you.
To become a successful freelancer means to seek creative inspiration in everything and everywhere.
Do what you love
In the realm of deadlines and long periods of unpaid work, it is easy to lose your love of traveling into the world of freelancing. Regardless of type of activity, whether it be writing or design, freelancers choose this path because they want to do what they love. Do not forget why you first decided on this. Even if you come across clients who have not paid for your work, continue to improve in your field and pursue your passion daily.
You are all that you need to create your own prosperous business. So do not be afraid to rush into the pool with your head and start a freelancer career. However, first think carefully over everything, develop your own action plan and conduct at least simple research!