As a growing number of businesses encourage remote working, the freelance industry is fast becoming a viable career path for those people who find they work better at their own pace and in their own space. But anyone who has done it will know becoming a successful freelancer is easier said than done. While freelancing can often lead to a better work-life balance and the flexibility to pick and choose exactly what projects you want to work on, it requires a lot of self-discipline.
Whether you’re in the process of browsing the web for freelance writing jobs, you’re hoping to expand your list of clients as a freelance designer, or you’re still in the process of brainstorming business ideas, the trick is to do your research before jumping in head-first. In this post, we discuss some of the ways in which you can make your freelance career a successful one.
You can be the most organised person in the world with a great work ethic, but without good clients, your success as a freelancer is limited. Growing your network is essential, especially when you’re just starting out. It’s something you can do online through career sites and social media groups or face-to-face in your local area. As well as finding work from your connections directly, they may also refer you to their contacts. Joining networking groups is also a great way of meeting people within your industry – a healthy step if you’re working solo. You’ll likely hear about workshops, events, and co-working spaces through these connections too.
There’s no doubt that word-of-mouth presence goes a long way, but in an ever-evolving digital landscape, having a solid online presence and being able to market yourself has become increasingly important. Having a professional-looking website can act as a virtual sales pitch to your prospective clients. You should also try to be active on social media where possible. It will help you to stay in touch with industry experts whilst allowing you to continue to network from home.
Even if you’re already freelancing, it’s worth dedicating some time to create a business plan. It’s a good way to gain a better understanding of your goals and will help you to feel motivated to take action. Business plans come in all shapes and sizes, but as a basic outline, you should aim to include a section about your freelance business, answering questions such as ‘What does my business specialise in?’ and ‘Who are my clients?’; a marketing section, outlining how you will find new clients and what kind of results you’re hoping to achieve; and a financial section, where you’ll decide things like how much you charge when you will work, and when your expenses are.
Just as you showcase your work on your website and across your social media channels, it’s a good idea to also share client testimonials. Client testimonials are essentially product reviews, except the ‘product’ is you or your services. If a prospective client was browsing your business and notices you have worked with a brand they love, or that you’ve received some particularly positive feedback, they are more likely to hire you for their project. When you ask clients for testimonials, some of the questions you might ask could include ‘Why did you choose me for this project?’ ‘Did my work on this project meet your expectations?’ and ‘What types of projects or businesses would benefit from working with me?’
You may have left your full-time job to work at your leisure, but to stay on top of your workload while also maintaining a healthy work-life balance, it’s important that you have a schedule. Keeping a planner with your deadlines is a good starting point, but you should try to plot out more than just your working week if you can. By setting aside a clear block of time to do things like cooking, exercising, and even just taking a break, you can avoid working so hard that you burn out (something which happens a lot in the freelance world).
Our team of freelance experts have over 25 years of experience and can help your business become more successful. We offer a variety of online courses depending on your specialisation, as well as face-to-face tuition for small groups in our London centre.
by Emma Gibbins | 08 Jan 21
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