For students, graduates who are still searching for a job, part-time employees, or even full-time employees, there are always opportunities to work as a freelancer. The most important benefit of a freelance career is that you are able to work whenever or wherever suits you!
Freelancing is a great choice for those interested in working while studying to gain experience or those who practice their favorite hobby and would like to earn money for doing so.
In both cases, you are saving time and gaining money. This is a smart path that successful people follow to reach their goals in life. Moreover, freelance careers can teach you how to deal with a variety of people from different nationalities and cultural backgrounds. As you learn to manage different clients with different needs and expectations, you will drastically improve your skills and the quality of services being offered to your customers.
If you are thinking of starting your freelance career, here are some of the basics that you need to know before doing so:
1. Choose the Type of Services
Choose an area that interests you and focus on being the best at it. Make sure that what you are going to offer is something that has demand and people are willing to pay for. If not, you will have to convince them to buy it. This might be the case if you are offering a new service or an innovative idea that people don’t know about. Make sure you have the required skills for the type of service you are going to offer and be confident.
2. Know What Makes Your Work Special
Conduct a comparison between your work and your peers’ work to know how you can deliver better quality services and reach customer satisfaction. Find your competitor’s areas of weakness and strive to make that your strength so that you can capitalize on an underserved market. Anticipate any questions or concerns that might arise from the clients and address them upfront to add a sense of confidence and comfort.
3. Set Your Strategic Aim and Objectives
Take time to understand what you really want to achieve and make a plan to achieve it. It’s important to set measurable objectives so you can always monitor them and keep on improving. Anticipate all possible difficulties that you might face and have a ready-to-implement solution.
4. Identify Your Clients
Who are you going to be targeting? When you choose the type of service that you want to offer in a precise and clear way, you will know which type of clients you will be dealing with. Hence, you can plan to reach them and persuade them to partner with you by showing that you are the best person to do this kind of work. This is the best way to ensure you’re communicating genuine value to justify your price point. Over time, you will learn which clients are the best fit for you and tailor your communications accordingly.
5. Prepare a Portfolio
A high-quality sample of your work should be ready to share with your clients as it will be their first impression of you, and they will be able to make an educated decision whether you’re the best fit for their needs or not. Always update your portfolio and mention the variety of work that you did before accepting “trial work” for your prospective clients.
6. Promote Your Work
Creating amazing work is only half the battle. Now it’s time to promote yourself and your achievements. Publish your content on social media platforms that your clients are likely to visit. Draft a social media management strategy that ensures your work is being viewed by as many people as possible so that you can gain maximum exposure. Stay consistent so you can grow your network and, in turn, your circle of clients. Keep in mind that satisfied clients will likely refer you to others, so maintain a strong presence to build your client base and eventually find your path to becoming a full-time freelancer!
7. Maintain a Financial Log
Calculate the cost of your work to choose the right selling price. This should be done based on the value that you are delivering to customers. Your price should be relatively aligned with the marketing, the service you are offering and the experience and quality you bring to the table. Operating a freelance business is just like running any other business and it’s important that you keep track of your income as well as your expenses. Maintaining a log of expenses and revenue will allow you to determine your profitability based on your price points and choose your clients and services wisely.
8. Follow a Timeline for Each Project or Task
Planning is the key to success. Always plan and schedule your work and tasks. Postponing part of your task means postponing the “whole thing”, which will put you at risk of missing crucial deadlines and leaving your client unsatisfied. Be precise and stick to your timelines.
A freelance career can be much more rewarding and, sometimes, more lucrative than full-time, salaried employment.
Though this career option offers much more flexibility and autonomy than a traditional 9-5 job, it comes with the responsibility of managing your own time and income. By treating your freelance career like a business, but working it like a job, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of self-employment without the struggles of unemployment.