Being a successful freelancer takes a bit of finesse, a dash of know-how and a whole lotta faith, in yourself, in your skills and in your ability to find and connect with the right clients.
It’s enough to stop a newbie freelancer from taking the first step and simply starting their side hustle.
If you’re in this position, simply take a deep breath, grab a coffee and sit back and read the next few words and then take action!
5 Strategies to Ensure Freelancing Success
This is something that I personally struggled with when I first started — marketing myself. It can be difficult to talk yourself up and let people know what you’re doing, but if you don’t, how will people find out about you? The saying “build it and they will come” does not ensure your success as a freelancer!
If you want to kick things off with a bang, show your worth. Start your own personal website that showcases your work, increase your social media presence and write on your blog about your industry, offering your own insights and perspectives… the less mainstream you are, the better.
#2: Networking 101
If you want to ensure that your coffers are always full, then you need to network like your life depends on it. Freelancers might often feel like they are working alone, but if you are prepared to make some connections in the beginning, you’ll never feel alone again.
Networking in the beginning is a great way to find new clients and to connect with other freelancers who have been ‘in the game’ a little longer and who might have an spill over of work that they can send your way. Make relevant relationships early on and you’ll always have someone you can turn too.
Check out your local www.meetup.com groups as a place to start.
If you want to be both taken seriously as a freelancer and ensure your clients always pay you, implementing contracts early on in your freelancer business is the only way to go. You need to ensure that you’ve got a signed contract back from the client before you start ANY work. Failure to do this one thing can see your success as a freelancer trickle down the drain.
I’ve even written an entire book on the importance of implementing contracts — get it signed or you don’t do the work. It’s that simple…
#4: Get Organized
If you want to be successful, then you need to ensure that your client deadlines are met. The only way that’s going to happen is if you’ve got a system for keeping on top of your deadlines. This means scheduling things into your calendar!
You can have a lot of balls in the air all at once, the only way to track them is to have a way to keep track of them. I personally use a combination of my Google Calendar, with different colours for different clients and projects, Freedcamp for keeping track of client requirements and documents and Todoist for my day-to-day to list. Find what works for you and stick with it.
#5: Be Flexible
And I don’t mean in the literal sense either! You will learn very quickly that the client doesn’t always agree with what you provide them, and that’s ok. Be open to giving up creative control and you’ll find you’ll have a far better day-to-day relationship with your clients than if you try to force them to do as you say, no matter what.
While you might be the expert at what you do, ultimately the client is right… they are the ones who are paying you after all. If you don’t agree with their decisions regarding the project you’re working on together, let them know, but if they don’t choose to take on board what you recommend, you have to suck it up and move forward — if you want to get paid that is!