Are you getting bored with your day job and want to venture into the world of freelancing? The number of people who freelance has been rising steadily over the years with the US alone having nearly 54 million freelancers in 2017. Who doesn’t wish to have flexible working hours, or be free to choose what jobs to take on and determine their own pay? Becoming a full-time freelancer is scary at first, but you soon reap the benefits. It is highly rewarding and also provides an opportunity for you to grow. Do not only start working in freelance because you do not like your day job, begin because you want to earn an income from something that you love. Continue reading to find out how you can build a successful freelance career and maintain your sanity.
Decide what you want to do
When starting a freelance business, deciding what services to offer is exciting. There are many types of jobs and choosing the one that best suits your skills, is easy to learn, and is profitable can prove to be tricky. Choose a niche that has competition because that’s a good thing. It shows that that particular service is in high demand and therefore has many clients. Even as you choose something that is profitable, remember your happiness must come first and thus do not be stuck doing something you don’t like. Choose a job that you enjoy. Some common freelance ideas include; tutoring, editing, writing, becoming a virtual assistant, or graphic designer.
Set goals and plan of action
As an office employee, you probably have set targets you need to achieve, either monthly or quarterly for you to get that promotion. As a freelancer, you have to set the targets for yourself too. Decide on what you want to achieve and then develop a plan on how to get there. For instance, if you quit your day job to start freelance work, then you need to aim to make enough money to support yourself. With this in mind, create a plan of action to determine how much to charge and how many jobs to take per month. Know what you want, the reason you want it and how to get it. Setting personal goals keeps you motivated.
Work on your personal brand
Just like in online marketing, you will need an online presence to get the right customers. Build a website to help you market your brand. Your site will serve as proof to help back your work. You might be the best freelancer, but if you do not put your brand out there, nobody will ever know of your existence. Create an impressive portfolio. Talk about yourself, the skills you have and what makes you different from the competition. Having a strong online presence makes it easier for new clients to discover you. Your portfolio must outline what you specialize in, have examples of your work and your contact details. Having a profile photo is an added advantage.
Price your services based on the quality of work
To be a successful freelancer, you compete on value and not on the price. There will always be someone who will ask for lower rates than you do. Many clients are not very trusting of someone they haven’t worked with before and will pause on the price if its high. However, once you deliver quality work, the price will not be an issue anymore because they can trust your work. Know who to pitch the services you offer to. There is not a thing such as too high prices. Higher prices target clients with bigger budgets who are willing to get their money back through quality work while low prices will target those with not much money to spend in the first place.
Identify target clients
You have established your website and portfolio now all you need is to land your first client. Every contact counts when you are trying to find clients. The more specific you are, the better the results will be. Ask yourself such questions as who could find what I offer useful? What types of businesses can pay the asking price? How can I connect with them? When you get offers, be picky about the jobs you pick and realize that every project you take on reduces your chances of taking another one.
A lot of people have the misconception that freelancers sit at home waiting for work to find them. Getting work is not easy, and you can’t sit back and assume that clients will come to you, you have to fight hard to get them. Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to market your services. Even though you are a solopreneur, you don’t have to work in isolation. Attend networking events and sell your business by advertising using word of mouth. People are more likely to trust someone they know, so get yourself out there.
Have it in writing
The moment you put your offer out there and a client comes knocking; you have started being in business. Do not take only the client’s word that they will pay you. Draft a contract that clearly outlines your rates and what tasks are covered. Not only does the document make clients take you more seriously but you can also refer to it whenever the client wants you to do more than what was previously agreed. So next time the customer comes to you saying, ‘ Oh, can you add links to the sources on the article,’ you can politely say that it wasn’t included in the contract but will gladly add it on.
Ask for Testimonials
To increase your credibility request satisfied clients to write testimonials about your work. Build a great relationship with them to make it easy for them to write testimonials about your work and recommend your work to others. Testimonials are proof that what you offer is good and also that you aren’t the only one who thinks you are good at what you do.
Manage your time
Your freelance career has started to pick up, and you have got a steady stream of clients. You would think that being self-employed makes it easier for you to manage yourself, but that’s not always the case. It’s easy to get too caught up accepting all incoming projects that you get swamped. Learn to be picky about which projects you take on. Organize yourself by setting specific working hours, such as 9 am to 5 pm, and giving priority to the most critical jobs to avoid being overwhelmed. Overworking will lead to you being unproductive. Also, stick to the deadlines you agreed on with the client because that will show your reliability and earn you more referrals and repeat customers.
Freelancing is not as difficult as many people think it is. You are your own boss, and you are entirely responsible for making your small business successful. It is an excellent way for you to grow, both your skills and mentally. When you become a successful freelancer and the workload becomes too much, get yourself a team and delegate duties to them. If you have been thinking about starting a freelance career, you are making the right decision. Have fun while getting an income from doing what you love.
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