A shift in the economy has seen more people move into and embrace the freelancing space and remote work. You can become your own business owner, set your own hours and manage your own clients and own projects.
It is worth noting though, that the freelance world requires working intelligently and implementing incredible productivity for success. Being your own boss and running your own business can be tough – heck it’s a full-time job for most freelancers!
Whether you are just dipping your toe in the waters of the freelance world or are a seasoned freelancer, there is always room for a few hacks. You can never have enough efficiency-improving tips and tricks to maximize your imprint in the gig economy. Here are some freelancing tips to take your freelance career to the next level!
Table of Contents
- Top Freelancer Tips to Advance Your Freelance Career
- 1. Keep an Open Mind
- 2. Set a Schedule and have Deadlines
- 3. Be part of Community Discussions
- 4. Leverage Free Tools
- 5. Invest in your Professional Growth
- 6. Define your Expertise
- 7. Charge a Price Somewhere in the Middle
- 8. Improve your Online/Digital Presence
- 9. Always Read your Contracts Carefully Before you Sign!
- 10. Create a Fabulous Freelancing Portfolio
- 11. Have the Courage to Turn Down Work
- Final Thoughts
Top Freelancer Tips to Advance Your Freelance Career
1. Keep an Open Mind
This tip is going to work like magic. You have to be a little more easygoing and a lot more open-minded when it comes to freelance work. You will have to be very flexible with your availability and be a lot keener to learning new stuff if you want to succeed as a freelancer.
If you are a beginner, understand that the whole world can be your playground. As you venture into different sectors, you will be able to find the category that you are most suitable for.
As you progress further, you will be able to narrow down your niches. And if nothing else, you’re picking up new skills you can fluff your resume with.
With time, and a curated portfolio of your freelance exploits, you will find it easier to charge a lot more than your peers in the industry are charging. This will lead you to better margins and a solid reputation in the freelance world. But it’s all for naught if you can’t keep an open mind and broaden your horizons.
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2. Set a Schedule and have Deadlines
One of the biggest perks of freelancing has to be the flexibility it affords. There isn’t a boss coming for your neck, but that is no reason to be lax with your tasks. If anything, you should put in extra effort and amplify your productivity levels! It’s not like there’s a shortage of freelancers out there!
One of the most effective ways to maintain productivity is by creating a schedule and blocking out specific business hours in your day. A robust schedule will help boost productivity. Also, set clear deadlines for yourself, even for projects where the client does not have a definitive deadline.
Assigning deadlines for yourself ensures that you squeeze in as much as possible. It will keep you on your toes and give you the needed momentum, as well as help to hold yourself accountable.
3. Be part of Community Discussions
Stay engaged in community discussions and communicate with people in your particular industry. This will give you an insight into new trends in your niche that you may not know about, leads on new job opportunities, word-of-mouth recommendations, plus a sense of camaraderie.
Be part of industry discussions on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook groups, and any other social media platforms. Attend networking events.
Position yourself as a thought leader in your field by initiating relevant talks on your industry. That alone will help build credibility for your brand.
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4. Leverage Free Tools
There is a myriad of free tools at your disposal to help your freelance business boom. Try to make the most of them to streamline your work processes. Identify tools you can use to market your business and increase visibility with your target audience.
For example, you should use tools to set up your email list and optimize your email newsletters to potential clients. Follow this link to explore the best free email services that will make a world of difference to your freelance work: https://setapp.com/how-to/best-free-email-service-for-mac
Aside from top email tools, and software to help with managing clients, track expenses, etc., there are many popular freelance job board platforms like Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and the like that you can employ to search for projects, spark conversations with potential clients looking to hire freelancers and grow your business.
5. Invest in your Professional Growth
As a self-employed freelancer, people will only line up for your freelancing services if you have incredible skills and knowledge. Expanding your knowledge and building your hard and soft skills introduces more opportunities, hence growth.
Put in hours devoted to your own professional development. Read about your industry and attend conferences and workshops. Invest in online courses to keep you at par with the current industry trends and standards.
Consider finding a mentor to help you navigate and expand your horizons. Investing in yourself goes a long way toward improving your freelance work.
6. Define your Expertise
You could do a lot better in your freelance business if you start by defining your expertise and skill sets to your prospective clients. Remember that a prospective client will always be looking for people who have defined their skills, experience, proficiency, and quality of work in clear and precise words. Maintaining an up-to-date resume and building a portfolio of completed work and the feedback of satisfied clients will help.
When reaching out to new clients, you need to come up with extensively well-written content and descriptions to explain to your potential client just what your expertise is and how you can make an impact on their business by providing them the services they are looking for. Use your portfolio to showcase the various projects that you have completed in the past so that they get a better idea of the level of professionalism and knowledge that you will be bringing to the table
See Related: Best Upwork Alternatives for Freelancing
7. Charge a Price Somewhere in the Middle
This is a very important step and you need to do a bit of research on it before you quote a price on your freelancing profile. Calculate the industry average that is currently prevalent in your sector. Then you should decide upon a price that is somewhere close to the median but a level or two lower than that.
You can always increase your average pricing as you progress further and gain more experience. As you find clients and rope in more projects, you will find it easier to increase your prices and make a better income. You may have to freelance full-time as your day job for a while, but once you get yourself established, you’ll be able to charge more for less work!
8. Improve your Online/Digital Presence
You’ve been focusing all your time and concentration on one platform. That is the one website or portal that has been your single point of contact with your potential clients or customers.
Do you feel the need to move out a little from that zone? Well, you should!
You should make your presence felt on your social media platforms, and any other job sites as well. Do a little bit of personal digital marketing and create professional profiles specifically for business purposes.
Broadcast a professional image of yourself, rather than one of you landing a prize catch or going on a rager at the club. That way it will be much easier for you to showcase your previous works and projects to your potential target market and get more links and work from newly found sources.
These days, many freelancers use multiple platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a lot of other job boards and third-party platforms as well to spread the word around and build a strong and returning clientele.
See Related: Best Freelance Courses to Learn Online
9. Always Read your Contracts Carefully Before you Sign!
Whether it is a freelance writer arrangement or a monthly retainer setup that you want to enter into, contracts and agreements should always be sorted out right in the beginning. The contract terms should include details concerning the conduct of both parties and how they are going to coordinate their activities and communicate with each other.
The terms and conditions regarding the work hours, pay, and extra hours, should also be defined in the contract. Make sure that the agreement/contract is revised by both parties before it is signed. And don’t sign it if you don’t think you can live up to it!
10. Create a Fabulous Freelancing Portfolio
I touched on it earlier, but I cannot over-stress the usefulness of a portfolio. Your clients and potential customers will always want to see your portfolio. It is the physical proof of your accomplishments and ability.
If you are at the very beginning of your freelance career, creating a work portfolio can be a little difficult because there will be a dearth of good offers at the start – especially if you don’t have ANY evidence of your accomplishments and ability. However, you can always find interesting yet less rewarding jobs in the beginning and include them in your portfolio as you move from one project to the next.
This can be a little time-consuming but it is going to pay off in the end – mostly because it shows you can do the undesirable jobs and legwork. The best part is that even if you do not have a highly impressive portfolio, there are a lot of clients out there who are willing to give newcomers a chance. Once they spot the effort that you have made to come up with a good portfolio, you might just get the job without even having to try too hard. Just one article could be enough to prove your worth!
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11. Have the Courage to Turn Down Work
Sounds crazy, but it’s a big one. Being a successful freelancer doesn’t mean that you take up every project that comes your way.
This is a very important rule that you must remember. It is always better to turn a few projects away if you know for sure that you will not be able to do justice to them. The following situations call for you to turn down a few offers:
- Lack of confidence in not meeting the deadline – There will be a few projects advertised by less-scrupulous companies that will require you to work on practically impossible deadlines. Those projects should be avoided if you know that you do not have enough bandwidth for them to begin with.
- The unsuitability of the project – If any project comes your way that doesn’t suit your skill set or looks like it doesn’t allow you the freedom to work at your full potential, you can turn it down. There are other freelancers who can take it.
- The price is just too low – This is a no-brainer. If the price doesn’t match your hourly rate or business expenses, there is no point in taking up that project.
- Feeling uncomfortable with the work hours – There are those out there who want to keep a tab on the freelancer, as though they are a full-time employee rather than a contracted expert. These companies may keep a track of freelancers’ work hours and badger them about it which makes it very uncomfortable. Many clients may want you to work late hours and expect you to log in and log out as per their company rules. It’s getting more common for companies to advertise jobs as WFH, remote, or hybrid, only to pull the rug out and claim that the job is in person for a probationary period. In such situations, it is better to avoid such companies and look for a new client.
Freelancing can be the best thing to ever happen to your professional life. More so if you have proper strategies and hacks to get the most out of it.
Adding the above tips to your catalog will take your freelance work notches higher. Work hard, set expectations and a regular schedule, stay motivated, and find the right tools to help you start freelancing.