Being your own boss and working from home are both perks of being a freelancer, but they’re also two huge challenges that take a lot of hard work to pull off successfully. The key to being successful as a freelancer is knowing how to market yourself as well as you do your work, which means it’s time to learn how to freelance like a pro! With these 10 tips, you’ll learn the skills needed to grow an audience and land more clients.
1) Admit it, being a freelancer is awesome
Freelancing is great because it gives you more control over your schedule and your income. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Freelancers can be their own bosses, but they’re also self-employed, which means they have a lot of administrative responsibilities. It can be overwhelming at first, but most freelancers find it’s not as hard as they thought once they get used to being on their own.
2) Create your own strategy for success
Like any other field, you have a few options for how you can go about becoming a freelancer. You can take classes or read books and websites that teach you about freelance writing; or you can connect with established writers who will teach you what they know. Once you’ve learned everything there is to know, it’s time to create your own strategy for success. Figure out where your niche is, what works best for you and then jump right in!
3) Build your network online and offline
An essential skill of freelancing is networking, which is why you want to build your network online and offline. There are forums and communities where you can connect with other freelancers and get advice from those who have already learned some tricks of the trade. These connections can give you an edge when it comes time for projects, so don’t underestimate their value.
4) Keep an eye on legal aspects
The beauty of freelancing is that you can do it just about anywhere—at home, in your pajamas, as long as you have internet access. But there are legal considerations to freelance work that are important. First, make sure you understand your local laws regarding being an independent contractor. For example, if you’re working with a client out of your home country, it may not be wise to say you live in that country when you actually live in different country.
5) Work on making yourself indispensable
In order to be successful as a freelancer, you’ll need to make yourself indispensable in your field. Freelancers who have mastered their craft—and have made themselves invaluable—can charge top dollar and command higher wages. How do you become irreplaceable? Focus on constantly growing your skills and network. The more proficient you are at what you do, and the more contacts you cultivate in your industry, the better off you’ll be when it comes time for negotiation.
6) Check out the best tools available to you.
If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, it can be difficult to tell which tools are right for you. Luckily, there are many sites that specialize in providing information on freelance-relevant software. For example, TryMyUI helps freelancers identify and rate user-interface design software, including wireframing and prototyping apps; it also lets users share their own experiences with specific programs. In addition, TopTenReviews lists several software suites under its Best Freelance Software section.
7) Beware of burnout
If you’re going to be freelancing, then you’ll have to learn how to pace yourself. Clients have deadlines; if you don’t meet them, they’ll move on and hire someone else. It’s not uncommon for freelancers to take on multiple projects at once, which can lead to burnout. To freelance like a pro, make sure that you account for both your long-term and short-term project needs by giving yourself ample downtime.
8) Don’t ignore taxes and accounting
The majority of freelancers operate as sole proprietors, meaning they’re responsible for paying all their own taxes. While tax season might be something you dread, don’t ignore your responsibilities here—taxes and accounting are an essential part of being a freelancer.
9) When things go wrong, ask for help
Whether you’re having trouble with a client, or you’re frustrated by something that isn’t going right, don’t take it personally. If you truly want to succeed as a freelancer, part of your responsibility is being able to admit when things aren’t working and asking for help. Good relationships are built on trust, so sometimes it can be difficult to ask for help.
10) Pat yourself on the back when you do well!
Even as we push ourselves harder and move towards our goals, it’s important to stop for a second and give yourself credit when you’ve accomplished something. Whether it’s getting your business up and running or landing your first freelance gig, pat yourself on the back! You deserve it. Even if all you do is simply acknowledge that accomplishment, that recognition can be rewarding in itself.