Freelancer by profession is one who has decided not to be stereotyped in any fashion and will work on his own accord, which is universally known but the question is how many of them actually make it in the market. There comes your decision making in every aspect of your work.
Be ready to dive in and sell your best skill to your best client, while learning throughout. Freelancing demands constant evolution of skill while having expertise in an area but be on the hunt’.
We have tried to incorporate exhaustively the things a freelancer must keep in mind and functionally practice in order to get ahead and not end up in a rat race. Don’t just read them but start following them and share your experience.
A freelancer, freelance worker, or freelance is somebody who is self-employed and is not committed to a particular employer longterm. Fields where freelancing is common to include journalism, book publishing, journal publishing, and other forms of writing, editing, copyediting, proofreading, indexing, copywriting, computer programming and graphic design, consulting and translating.
Freelance practice varies greatly. Some require clients to sign written contracts, while others may perform work based on verbal agreements, perhaps enforceable through the very nature of the work. Some freelancers may provide written estimates of work and request deposits from clients.
Principles of Successful Freelancers
Freelancers however expert they are, must be very open to new ideas and ways of evolving businesses and working towards achieving greater market share, here are some of the essentials that must be kept in mind for successful freelancing.
01. Client Satisfaction Reverts Back
Satisfied clients talk’ about the service and quality of work, in a manner, they spread the name of your company by word of mouth -the best advertisement. People whom you serve should talk about your work, this thing really gets you in the market especially when you are new and are looking to establish yourself as a freelancer.
Clients who are referred to you treat your work better than those who stumble on your portfolio on the internet and then approach you, the conversion rate of referrals is highest. But clients refer only when you do quality work and satisfaction is guaranteed.
02. You are More Liable to be Wiped Out if Price is Your Only Strategy
Since there is an ample number of freelancers, most depend on pricing strategy for getting work which is not a sustainable approach. Lower prices may get Work but then down the line potential employers might start considering the work as cheap and they would be loathed for a price rise since they always have a cheap substitute. So price strategy is not a sustainable long term strategy and rather expertise in a field is more likely to get freelancers the desired market, basically, it’s the differentiation in work that matters and will get freelancers there due in the long run. When you define yourself as an expert in one aspect says logo design or e-commerce then potential employers are more likely to hire you for that rather than for the whole project.
03. Open Communication and Thorough Knowledge
As a rule, thorough communication between the client and developer is a must at every stage of the project since at the initial meetings the client may not be very clear in telling all his requirements and the developer may comprehend it differently so he must study the needs before starting on with the project to avoid Redoing of work at later stages and even once started they should discuss all details while the project is on.
A freelancer can communicate with his far off clients over the internet and constant open communication about the expectations of the client is sure to pay, as the project completes on time and requirements of clients are well met.
04. Create Your Network
Start making your presence felt on top blogs, get registered on Social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Get registered with job portals and participate in forums where your potential clients might be active. Make contacts and keep yourself updated in the market. Keep yourself open to everyone but stick to your repeat clients who might well bring more contact than your other networks. Below are some further resources which can give you an idea about how social networking help freelancers.
- How Social Networking Helps Freelance Writers
- How to Use Social Networks to Find Gigs
- Why is Social Interaction Important For a Website
05. Spend Money on Productive Resources
Although freelancers make less money in the beginning money has to be spent on certain resources that enhance efficiency and productivity of his work and pays off in the long run as he can then save time by using tools(financial tools) and be more productive. Constantly efficiency has to be improved so a lookout for such resources is a must.
06. Treat Freelancing Seriously and Manage Time
Most freelancers start as a part-time basis and those of whom who treat their work with dignity and seriousness can only make it a successful business, people who treat this as a hobby are less likely to manage enough time for their work and consequently, lack of motivation makes them fail. To manage time effectively and treat freelancing with dignity.
07. Get the Tools Necessary for Your Work.
Freelancers need to work mostly by themselves so whatever help you may get in Accounting, managing finance, getting invoices or even in the designing would be enhancing your efficiency and giving you more time. You may go for cross-browser testing tools, designing applications or just the simple editors which might increase your speed many folds. For one reason or another, a lot of freelancers use Web-based Applications. As a full-time freelancer and part-time geek, I really like to manage my activities with applications on the web too. Web-based applications have many advantages over software that you have to download and install it on your computer. First, you don’t need to install or update anything on your PC. Also, you can use the application from any PC or mobile device. You don’t need to worry about backups because your data is safely stored on a server. Below are some further resources to know about essential tools for freelancers.
- 60+ Essential Web Apps for Freelancer Web Designers
- 101 Essential Freelancing Resources
- 20 Tools For The Freelance Designer On A Shoestring Budget
- 50+ Useful Mac Applications for Freelancers and Professional Designers
Focuses on Things to Keep You Motivated
Motivation is really important for doing any work. Broadly speaking we may categorize motivation as extrinsic and intrinsic.
Extrinsic motivation would be the happiness achieved by the award which you receive after completing the work, it may be the money or some bonus or a holiday pack. All this makes one happy and certainly energizes one for the job in hand.
Intrinsic motivation is the happiness one gets after completing the set target on time or once and for all after the completion of the entire project. This happiness boosts your morale and you higher up your standards for your next project and you grow.
Make yourself happy and motivated:
- Make money the motivation behind your work and give yourself a reward on achievements, in the form of some luxury.
- Family planning –sending children to private schools, getting a big car and holidays on cruise work as motivation.
Are You Ready for Taking Risks?
Freelancers are risk-takers by nature as they are freelancing but to what degree that’s critical.
Some may be crazy for new technologies and just too reckless from a business point of view but then it pays also when you have the first-come advantage.
Advantages of Risk-Taking:
- Early adopters of technology or process always are a step ahead of others and can lead in that particular technology as experts.
- They face minimum competition as very few people want to be pioneers of any technology for most go after tried and tested ways.
- Huge gains may be made by a successful technology and uniqueness as very few would be using that.
Disadvantages of Risky Behavior:
- Technology that might be in the test phase may be a failure and all the time invested may just throw you back.
- Since there are no experts in the technology all the research has to be done by the freelancer himself and in case of a scam, he may look really an idiot to his clients which would consequently result in loss of contracts.
Possible Ways to Avoid Falling’ in Risk:
- Analyze the need for technology.
- Check how tough the implementation is, and the money needed to get it in place.
- What company/people are behind?
- Match your capability and decision.
Break from Work is Necessary. But When?
01. Don’t Neglect Your Injury
In case of an injury of any kind, maybe back pain or just a cramp in your wrist which is increasing by the hour or your neck is paining and you can’t even turn it to receive your call. Then is the time to take a day off and relax, let your injury heal.
But most of us wouldn’t do that and would push oneself to the brink and rather underperform which is even worse, Give yourself time and understand when you want to sit back and rest, heal and then get back with full energy and strength.
02. Are You Sick or Stressed?
When regular office goers fall sick or are stressed, their colleagues take over and he gets help, even leave from office for a week. But a freelancer is his own boss and he must then get in the actuality of the situation and let his clients know of his condition and ask some more time.
If you do work in illness or when you are stressed then the creativity is lost and you will land up in a situation where you will embarrass yourself, you tried to work hard but the outcome was bad and when you expect appreciation you will be canceled off your contract.
03. To Get New Ideas
You need to go out, maybe take a plunge in the river or go for scuba diving and if you feel more relaxed while lying back just lay back in your armchair. Laziness or adventure whatever your stuff is will recharge you and when you return you will be doing your work a lot more efficiently. And the best part is your imagination as a creative guy just boosts.
No surprise to see some of the great designers to hang out at coffee shops or at the resort for inspiration. You should give yourself time off from regular work to wear your Thinking cap and this does not happen at the workplace. Below are some further resources which help you identify why you need to break from work.
- 10 Reasons Freelancers Need to Take a Break Once in a While
- 5 reasons why freelancers need to take vacations
What to Do Next in Freelancing Career?
People have different aims in life, and they shape their life accordingly. A freelancer likewise can shape his career the way he wants to:
01. Plan to Start a Small Company
Some freelancers eventually hire a few professionals or professional level applications (when he gets huge work) who provide payroll solutions and he turns the freelance venture into a small business.
02. Get the Dream “Day” job
For some guys landing to some elite position in a reputed firm is the target where they could have all the benefits of working in the firm as well as be in limited control of their decisions. That makes them free of the uncertainties surrounding freelancing and live slightly secured.
03. Freelancer Loves Freelancing’
End of day everyone wants to return back to what they love doing and that’s what freelancers love – their freedom. You would rise in your career while increasing rates and probably making yourself an expert on an area. And get into full-time freelancing and explore new areas.
Things Which Needs to Avoid
01. Show your Accountability
A freelancer who can’t meet deadlines will not exist in the market as he will be wiped off all his contacts. Make sure you never miss a deadline and if it happens, give a reason for the same and compensate for lost time, talk to the clients and let them know that you are in command and will not let them down.
02. Don’t Get Bugged
Nobody will pay a freelancer with no experience much but as you gain experience, know the market rates and charge what you think your services are worth. Otherwise, you will always be underpaid
03. Research Well Before Any Business
There are times when you start working on some project, you don’t understand the client’s business completely and this lands you in a really awkward situation where at a later stage you discover that you are not equipped enough for the particular project. You should enquire well in advance about the client’s requirements and expectations.
There are even times when you have to choose your client, some people may be right for you some may be a disaster, for their ways of business might be totally different from you’re and then you just can’t cope up with them, So choose well before business.
04. Manage Relationships Professionally
You must know that how you manage relationships depends on how much business you are doing with your clients, conventionally you have to be friendly but a mix of friendliness and formalism can take you a long way.
Your relationship also decides your future projects with the company; especially in case after completion of your part, you may want to advise the client to add functionality or advance with the project then their response is greatly decided by your professionalism and attitude as well.
05. Don’t be Tight Handed
Freelancers need to keep different ways of income and not just sit for one way OR they might be in the big problem at times. If you don’t just want to pay your bills but have luxury at times as well you must have money coming from different ways, it could be your other hobbies like an advertisement, or anything.
06. Know Yourself
You should know what makes you happy and where you suck, freelancer can always choose to take up what he loves doing, but the paucity of money should not force him to enter domains where he will not perform optimally and get a bad name for himself in the market.
How To Increase Productivity?
Everyone cannot perform under his own constraints but if you want to be a successful freelancer you need to enhance productivity and follow your own constraints.
01. Make a Routine
To make Routine means you must get up in time, dress professionally and work for a defined number of hours unless you create accountability and support with a routine you are very unlikely to enhance your productivity.
Make sure the routine has defined a number of working hours as well as there is time for relaxation Because unless the routine is feasible it is very unlikely to be followed and unless you define the time for everything (includes time for lunch as well) the productivity will not increase.
02. Plan Out in Advance
You need to define what you are set out for, be sure with your goals and figure out how you must approach to get into line. This means what you must achieve in a day and where you land up in a month or maybe a year.
Get the list of today’s work and prioritize, get this done with paper or pen or any online application but make sure your list of work has all the things and that too in a manner that can be achieved in the given time.
Self-evaluation and assessment helps in understanding how the time has been spent, which can then be optimized.
03. Avoid Multitasking & Manage Surfing.
Guys you need to focus the task at hand rather than trying to be in multiple positions because the efficiency can only be enhanced by concentrating on one problem at a time.
Then you need to know how much time is to be spent on surfing The Web as well as being on social networks. RSS reader provides a way out where you don’t have to visit the webpage for updates, seems like a way out, isn’t it!!
Don’t check your emails all day long as you would be wasting much of your time on it, do that in bulk at a specified time.
04. Organize Your Stuff
Having multiple emails is a waste of time, the best practice would be to have one email Id and get everything up there. But then you need to use labels for differentiation of your mails, for example, web-client, home, friend, urgent, etc.
Social networking takes away a huge time from us these days owing to the number of social networks, you can go for the applications which aggregate those into one would be so much of a time saver.
05. Your Work Place is Really Important
Make sure you have a complete desk and a comfortable chair where you can work comfortably and freely for long hours. The workplace is really important when you have to produce constantly and efficiently, having that said you are always free to sit in various Wi-Fi zones or maybe in a silent coffee shop with your laptop.
In the case of freelancers need help there is an ample number of communities and forums where they can drop in their problem and get some decent help. Below are a few more resources that explain how you can increase your productivity by organizing your workspace.
- Organize Your Workspace for Maximum Productivity
- How to organize freelancer workspace – home office
How to keep Successful Relations with Clients?
01. Investigate about Business and Customer
It’s really important to investigate well about the business you intend to work for and make sure you going to the right client so that you end up being a winner.
When you get business get each and every detail about the profile of the company, philosophy, and demands and expectations. Talk with the client and try to know exactly what they are looking for and engage them in the whole process so that they may also get a feel of participation in the development process which in a way will give you an authority in decision making, with the client being around.
Don’t take up just anything which comes by and try to wait for the right job matching your expertise where you could make a reputation and possibly grow in the domain.
02. Communication is the Key
Developers can approach the clients in a manner how a child enquires about a problem at hand with straight direct questions so that he may know exactly what the client thinks and get a clearer picture of the requirement of the client. Beginners’ approach helps a lot when supplemented by smart thinking and analyzing so that you can understand what the client is trying to convey.
Stick to the contract but be flexible as well, there can be times when the client needs some extra work to be done then comes in your negotiation skill. An equally beneficial decision should be worked on so no differences may arise and both you and the client may accept it with a smile, in case of deadlocks try to get equal playing ground and work your way by letting them know as they are really valuable to him and how much he wants to help them out but it’s the time which he can’t get from his schedule unless of course the money is matched.
Being relatively straight is good for business. Below are some further resources for effective communication with clients.
- Tips for Effective Communication with Your Clients
- 13 Tips for Effective Communication with Clients
- Effective Communication With The Non-Creative and Non-Technical Folks
03. Try to be Honest
Be True about your work, even if you make a mistake, admit is much better than to hide and try to cover up for that. Honestly is always rewarded and is really necessary for making a good name in the business.
What to do for a Successful Freelancing? — Straight Tips!!
- Research all constraints and introspect well before getting into freelancing.
- Branding is really important for any business, so the freelancer needs to define himself and associate with a brand and logo to give a corporate look to his work.
- Make a schedule and abide by it sincerely.
- Bank on numerous social networks, do blogging for market & advertisement and try to look different from others.
- Take the work you are passionate about, then you will grow.
- Make a strong portfolio and try to get yourself hired, don’t think about the money initially.
- When money starts rolling get yourself all the help (tools) needed by a freelancer.
- Gradually specialize in an area and always have a learner’s attitude.
Further References for Successful Freelancing!
- 50+ Ways to Improve Your Productivity as a Freelancer
- The Roadmap To Becoming A Professional Freelance Web Designer
- 40 resources to become a successful freelance Graphic/Web Designer
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