If you want a job that is flexible and satisfying, perhaps, a freelance
career is for you? Of course, the industry in which you work is wide open and completely up to you. I recommend focusing on services that you are gifted and skilled at. Additionally, your freelance work can be what you were doing for a mainstream career for someone else. For example, if you were a copy editor for a magazine, you could certainly go out on your own. Here are a few of my best tips to have a happy successful freelance career.
Happy Successful Freelance Career #1: Taking the Leap
Going from working full time with a steady paycheck to working for yourself can be a leap of faith, especially in your finances. So before you quit and become a freelancer, think about what you want to do first. Also, consider what your financial needs are and how you might bring in that revenue from freelance work.
It will serve you well to network and make contacts in your chosen industry before you actually need to rely on freelance income. Starting part-time to get your feet wet is a safer option. You can also do some practice work for friends and family to build a portfolio and some positive testimonials.
It’s crucial at this juncture to understand what you need in terms of your skills as well as your mindset and attitude to keep your head above water. Starting part-time is a good idea, but you also need to think about the relevant qualifications and attributes to stay competitive. For example, if you are looking at how to become a contractor, you can find numerous courses to expand your skillset.
As always with any new business, I recommend having a business plan in writing. It will help keep you on track and moving toward your goals. Additionally, it will come in handy when you want to expand your business later.
Happy Successful Freelance Career #2: Build a Brand
Going out on your own means you are responsible for your marketing as well as the service you provide. It’s more than just putting some ads up online, it’s time to think of yourself as a brand. This is primarily for the purpose of being recognized in your industry as a qualified expert. The other reason is so you stand out in a flooded market. Knowing your unique qualities and skills is necessary in order to reach your ideal clients. They will naturally be attracted to you when they recognize that you are what they need.
Stay consistent with all of your communication, marketing, and image throughout all of your social media and websites. I absolutely recommend that you have all of these things up and running before getting too far into your switch to freelance work.
Yes, I understand that you may not have the budget to build a fancy website. That said, you can have a style in mind and a theme to your marketing. Ask yourself “Who am I and what do I have that others will pay money for?” This will be the platform for your new brand.
Happy Successful Freelance Career #3: Build a Support Network
When you start your own business, it’s not the time to be shy or anti-social. You need help from your community. In fact, you will likely receive most of your work from word of mouth referrals. These may come from friends and actual clients. The network you build along the way will be your pipeline for future business.
Another thing you can do to network with others is to look for forums, social media or live groups, and industry events in your area. I’ve even known freelancers to use shared office space to avoid the isolation that can happen. Anything you can do to put yourself out there will help you get your freelance biz going strong.
Happy Successful Freelance Career #4: Planning Work
It’s important to know exactly how much work you need to survive financially as well as how much you can handle. If these two things don’t line up, you may find yourself in trouble. In other words, make a plan and stick to it.
If you get too much work (a nice problem, right?), you may need to put some people on a waiting list or even hire an assistant. Otherwise, you jeopardize losing clients. On the other hand, if you aren’t getting enough work, you will need to beef up your marketing efforts. You may also consider looking into some type of freelance agency.
It’s important to stay organized and always hit your deadlines. If you are having issues with this, analyze the problem and make the appropriate adjustments to your schedule. This one is really the most important one for creating a happy successful freelance career.