Freelancing is not what it’s cracked up to be. For the most part it’s hard work, it can be boring and it’s highly competitive. However, these drawbacks are more than compensated for by the freedom that working for yourself allows.
You need more than talent to be successful. You need a degree of determination, a belief in your own ability, a very thick skin and a strong work ethic. Without these you are doomed to fail.
The freelance world is packed with competitors some of whom will be more talented than you, some of whom will be prepared to work for less than you and some of whom will be prepared to besmirch your professional reputation. Get used to it. If you’re going to play the game you have to be prepared to take the slings and arrows that will inevitably come.
It can be soul destroying to win regular work only to find that your employer has found someone prepared to work for less. You can argue about quality, you can protest about loyalty but in the end when push comes to shove you just have to move on.
It can be nerve racking to spend hours pitching and bidding for work for no result. In fact that lack of success can be scary when you realise that your income has slowed to a trickle with no immediate solution evident.
With these pitfalls in mind, I have developed the following freelancing strategies to ensure regular work and a growing client list.
- Swallow your pride. Be prepared to take on any work within your niche that pays a reasonable rate. You simply can’t be fussy. If it were up to me I would write about politics, sport and music all day long. There isn’t the money in it that I’d like, so I’m prepared to write about anything. I’ve written product descriptions for toys, blog posts on travel, blog posts on science, alternative lifestyle articles, model train articles and even website content for women’s lingerie. Bread and butter work pays the bills. Vanity projects by and large don’t.
- The business relationship is everything. Always work to deliver specified work on time and if possible, with added value. I make it a point of always over delivering on word counts to give clients a little extra. It also helps to provide the business owner with relevant helpful suggestions that may help them to grow their business.
- It helps to have a working knowledge of related services such as, in my case, SEO, WordPress, email marketing and the like. In fact this knowledge has helped me to provide additional services and grow my business.
- You will never know it all. There’s always something to learn and every job will have its challenges. That said there are some jobs that are simply not within the scope of your expertise or knowledge and are better left alone unless you have a network of people that you can outsource to.
- The big buck gigs are few and far between. It’s far better to have 10 clients providing you regular work, then to put all your eggs in one basket and rely upon one customer for the bulk of your work. Sure, those big jobs are great and can make a big difference to your bank balance, but it is the bread and butter jobs that will keep your business ticking over.
- You simply can’t please everybody. It doesn’t matter how good you are or how reasonable you think you are, there will be some people who you simply cannot please. You will know them when you find them. It’s better to let them go and seek clients that you can work efficiently with.
- The day can slip away very easily. It is easy to lose an hour. Social media can be a killer in this regard. I have found that the best way to work is to allocate set allotments of time where I focus entirely on the task at hand. I usually allocate 40 minute blocks. That’s what works for me, you may find that a shorter or longer term is best for you.
- Be yourself. Life’s too short to try to be anyone else. If you want to Freelance you want to be the best version of you that you can be.
Freelancing has given me the freedom to work in a field that I love and while at times it is hard work. I highly recommend it to anybody who wants to escape the nine to five grind.
If you feel that the freelancing life might be your go it probably pays to trial it on a part-time basis before taking the plunge.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I am a full time writer with an interest in politics and where this world is headed. I also write articles on my experiences as a freelance writer.
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