Freelancing is a global trend now and about 55 million people in USA, 15 million people in India and 10 million people in Europe are freelancing. But is self-employment as glamorous as it looks? It gives you the freedom of choosing time and place to work, but it’s also stressful due to the factors like fluctuations in income, clients that are not nice and distractions during work. It becomes difficult to manage the work-life balance while working on projects with strict deadlines. You can't have support as you would get if you are employed in an organization. The need of finding new clients and keeping up with the existing clients and projects ends up into longer working hours and working weekends. Imagine the stressful and frustrating life due to not being able to manage the finances, routine and quality time with family.
So, are you already freelancing? Or planning to start? If so, what would you do to avoid the situations mentioned above? To help you out, I have researched the ways successful freelancers follow and have created a list given below.
1. Analyze yourself to know your skills and expertise
Though this seems very common thing every freelancer or aspiring freelancer would be knowing, but very few actually does serious analysis about their core skills and expertise. Instead, most of the people jump into the freelancing just because of its glamour and freedom and ends up with difficulties and struggle in career.
Analysing yourself will help you know which skills you are expert in and which skills you need to gain or improve. You can use online questionnaires, ask your colleagues and superiors to know where you need to improve. It's not just about your technical skills, but also about communicating and negotiating with client. You should also be knowing project management tools and techniques as you will be the only person who would be managing all these things. Of course you can use the services of other freelancers like virtual assistants, project managers and marketing experts, but that comes in next stage when you have grown your freelancing business to a level where you can't do everything with your limited time and capacity.
2. Name your business and make it a brand
Consider yourself being distinct and standing out in the market with fierce competition. Its crucial to have an identity before you start networking and making a portfolio.
Show yourself as a company, have a nice and attention getting site, make profiles on networking platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, have accounts on freelancing sites like Upwork, Freelancer and Guru. Distribute business cards within your local network. Contact potential clients and tell them about your business and services. Offer them a demo or ask for the business at discount prices. This will not only get more responses but will increase the chances they refer you to other people in their network.
In short, use every means to promote your business and brand. It will bring good results in long term if not instantly.
3. Learning and networking
Before you start freelancing, make sure you have all required skills. You can learn from an institute in your local area or online. Apart from that, you should start networking as it will help you get mentors and experts who will be helpful during your journey of a successful freelancing career. Don't hesitate learning new skills and asking for the help and advice when needed.
Keep learning and add new skills to your profile as it will increase your scope and number of potential clients. Add clients, managers and people from similar industry to your network as you can use it to promote your business and get references.
4. Learn the art of negotiation
The art of negotiation is the most important thing in any area of life and very crucial for freelancers. If you know how to negotiate, you will get what you want and will be able to avoid regret later. Initially it may seem difficult and out of your skill set, but as you grow and observe the benefits of negotiation, you will become better at it. Expert tips and willingness to focus on win-win situations will make you a good negotiator.
Negotiation ensures that mutual dreams are met. From defining expectations to conditions of sale and ambitions, being able to talk effortlessly will aid you supply a pretty good services. Being an excellent negotiator helps create long-term, sustainable results instead of short term benefits. These potent connections constructed on mutual trust will result in flourishing client relationships. Many negotiation training and lessons can assist you master this important skill.
5. Use time for learning when business is slow
To succeed as a freelancer, you need to predict the no-work times. And it’s important to use this time productively to gain new abilities and have advantage in the industry. One advantage of being self-employed is that you've the flexibility to try this and attend courses to learn new skills. It will help you avoid similar business slowdowns in future as you would be having more opportunities to get work.
6 Focus on quality not on quantity
This is a crucial point many freelancers fail to focus on in the rush of keeping the income level constant all the times. Only a small percentage of freelancers understand this and give customers 100% of what they want, and you have to be one of these freelancers. If you achieve this, clients will stay loyal and recommend you to others. The benefit of freelancing is that you can give your clients extra services. Going extra miles will win the hearts of your clients and that's how you keep your income stable at 6 figure and keep getting regular work.
If you can create a loyal and long term client base, you will be safe in self-employment, being able to live your dream lifestyle.
Please like and share with your friends if you find this article useful. Please share your comments in the comment box at the botttom.
Main image source: https://pixabay.com/en/sea-gull-bird-sky-nature-gull-sea-765490/