First and foremost, congratulations on your decision to step into the liberating, refreshing, and revitalizing world of freelancing. If you’ve chosen this field, it’s more likely that you can change and learn new things.
Most people don’t realize their true potential until they’ve become stagnant in the undisturbed pool of nine to five routines. Most people have way more potential than their ordinary jobs require of them. Freelancing is a great field for those people to leverage their potential in its true form.
If you’re starting as a first-time freelancer, things can sometimes be chaotic, confusing, and frustrating for you. Working as a freelancer has potential benefits, like being able to be your own boss, set your working hours, manage your freelance rates, and the freedom of working from anywhere.
If you’ve read up to this, you probably must be thinking about how to get started in the right way to make your freelance career a success. Don’t worry, we have pinpointed some tips that will help you stay ahead of the game.
Here are our top tips that will set you apart from the rest and prevent you from being lost in the digital noise. These are the best practices that will benefit you in the long run. Don’t panic, you don’t need to wait too much before you welcome success.
1. Always have a Safety Net
It’s unwise to put all of your eggs in the same basket. Similarly, you should never test the depth of a river with both of your feet.
If you’re jumping headfirst into your freelance career, you should always make sure you have some backup available. A successful freelance career requires you to be selective about your gig, so it’s advisable to have some savings on the side before you go on the lookout for the right gig.
If you can pay the bills for at least five months without worrying about clients and projects, you’re more likely to succeed. It will boost your confidence and give you time to upscale your abilities and services.
No one can guarantee that you’ll start seeing astonishing results right from the beginning. It’s wiser to give yourself a chance to make mistakes and learn. If you cannot afford to make mistakes, how on earth can you learn something? So, if you want to be confident about what you do, you should try things without the fear of risking anything.
2. Learn to Say “No”
In the beginning, more freelancers have an irresistible desire to work on every project they can lay their hands on. No matter how tempting, every project is not for you. You must know that some projects will not be easy for you to do, resulting in a huge disappointment on both sides. If I get involved in some sophistication, I’d say that there are always some projects that will not be a good match for you.
If you don’t have the skillset to accomplish a project or the project offers zero or little value to you, you’ll truly need to learn to say no to such projects.
Instead of accepting every project, you should work on finding projects that suit you best. This way, you can build a high-end clientele.
By saying this, I don’t mean that you should always remain in your comfort zone. If you don’t scale up your expertise, you’ll end up being imprisoned in the ultimate pitfall of freelancing and may become outdated. You have to keep a balance between what kind of offers you reject or accept.
If you receive an offer that is relevant to what you already do, you should accept that offer as well. However, if an offer comes from a far-off niche, you should stay away from it. You can reject any offer that provides no value to you, either in terms of money or learning.
3. Know when to Raise Your Rate
With time, you’ll come to know that your workload has increased. The same is true for your experience and portfolio. We recommend that you gradually increase your prices as you accumulate more expertise in your field.
While it makes sense that a newbie can’t keep on increasing their rates, the same is not true for them when they have gained experience. However, if you’re a beginner but provide quality work, your clients will not mind paying higher than before to receive a masterpiece from you. It’s also true when you have established good relationships with your clients.
Don’t shy away from coming up with a price quote you think you deserve. If you gradually level up your skills, you should gradually increase your rates too.
4. Define Your Niche
Defining your niche is the most important thing as a beginner in the freelance market. You must remember that the freelance world is overflowing with a plethora of competent freelancers. And you cannot dominate the entire market place and there is no reason to try that. You can claim a small white place in your niche, and it will be more than what you need to earn hefty amounts of money.
First of all, you should start with defining your target audience and understand its needs. Secondly, you should concentrate on your efforts and leverage your potential to serve the needs of your target audience.
Whatever you specialize in, you should reach out to your potential buyers and tell them how you differ from the rest of the others.
5. Evaluate the Price Based on Value
“Price is what you pay, value is what you get.”
First, avoid charging flat rates. You should also avoid charging per hour. So what you are left with is that you should evaluate the nature of the project and charge accordingly. You should focus on the deliverables, how much time went into the project, and your buyer’s needs. After evaluating all these things, you should demand a reasonable amount for your work.
Instead of focusing on price, focus on providing value to your buyers. If they get the promised value, they are more likely to come back. Remember, those repeat buyers are the bread and butter of a freelance career. The more value you add to your deliverables, the better the chance for you to offer a steep price. However, at the beginning of a freelance career, it’s wiser to keep prices as low as possible.
6. Create a Comfortable Place of Work
Switching from a nine-to-five office environment to freelancing seems easy but it’s not always the case. In the office, you’re working with your teammates in collaboration. If you’re an introvert, switching should not be a problem. If you’re an extroverted person, confining yourself in a quiet place may seem like a nightmare to you. Creating a comfortable workplace is necessary if you want to work as a full-time freelancer.
Whether it’s your bedroom or a coworking space, find a place where you can be more productive and stay away from distractions. A simple desk with an ergonomic arrangement will do.
Whether your setup is ergonomic or not is the most important thing to determine your freelance career success. If your chair and desk are not ergonomic and come at improper heights, you’re more likely to fidget than do some productive work. Various websites on the internet allow you to calculate the custom height of your chair and desk, depending upon how tall you are. If you have to create a workplace, it’s better to build one that is customized for you, instead of buying generic things.
When you’re freelancing, you have the choice to bring about changes in your environment, something that’s not possible when you’re on a job. You can change your work environment daily, or even several times a day, depending upon what suits you best. You can meet a friend and cheer up before writing, or you can have a swim if you live near a water canal to recharge for a difficult task.
7. Build Networks
While so many freelancers are competing for the same jobs online, is there any opportunity for you to stand out and set yourself apart from the rest? Yes, there is. If you’re new to the scene, you should focus on building business relationships with your contacts and potential clients.
You must know that most freelancers earn hefty amounts of money due to word of mouth. Once their friends and contacts know about their services, they are more likely to get to them for a piece of work before going to a marketplace. It’s also likely that either they become repeat buyers or refer their contacts to you.
You can also use internet forums and social media to build a network. If you get enough referrals, you even don’t need to go to a freelance marketplace to find work.
I don’t believe in the law of attraction but it holds when it comes to freelancing. It’s difficult only when you’re new to the field. Once you’ve some contacts and repeat buyers, you’ll find little time to accomplish your existing tasks. In most cases, you turn away the low-paying or less-rewarding work.
8. Stay Active
If you’re present on a web-based freelancing platform, you have to stay active. Believe it or not, most clients use the “online” filter when they’re looking for a professional on a freelancing platform. This is because clients need responsive buyers. Clients don’t prefer to hire unresponsive freelancers.
If you’re still not clear about this, let me ask you a question. If you are a buyer and you come across two profiles of the same caliber, one of them was active 18 hours ago and the other guy is currently online, which one would you prefer to contact?
9. Update your clients regarding their projects
You must update your clients about the progress of their projects. You must let them know if you’ve reached an important milestone in the project. And must inform them about the key updates to their projects. Most clients are keen to know the details of their projects.
If you need to change something about the project, let your clients know about it. Sometimes you can’t meet deadlines for various possible reasons. On these occasions, you should try to inform them about the circumstances soon. If you want to reevaluate the offer you previously proposed, you should share the reasoning behind the change, and what’s your plan to manage it for them.
You should sound professional in your communication. Being apologetic for no apparent reason is not a good way to deal with clients. On the other hand, talking authoritatively is also a bad gesture. Professionalism is the single word to remediate both.
10. Request referrals
If you continue to acquire satisfied clients, you should not shy away from requesting referrals upon completion of a project. Because you’re requesting a referral from your admirers, their recommendations will carry weight.
Since your clients have business relationships, they can be very valuable to you. You can leverage their business relationships to grow your freelance career. Even if your first clients don’t have much work for you to do, they can introduce you to some potential clients.
Remember to ask for referrals from those who have demonstrated that they appreciate your work. If you do it the other way around, you’ll end up doing more harm than good.
A Word from Us (company name)
We conclude that if you’re committed to your niche and enjoy doing your work, freelancing allows you to thrive upon it. Freelancing is not only flexible, it’s more lucrative than you had probably thought.
Freelancing is like a business and it’s up to you whether you grow it or let it fail. It’s okay to make mistakes, but it’s certainly not okay to repeat those mistakes. In the end, the success of your freelance career depends upon which mindset you adopt.
If you use these tips and tricks, the chances of your success will become manifold. If you don’t see any results in a day or so, rest assured that these tips and tricks will help you in the long run.