6 ways highly successful freelancers start and grow their business

If you're just starting or looking to grow your business, try these 6 habits.
6 ways highly successful freelancers start and grow their business

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Freelancing is not for the faint of heart because it requires a lot of time, emotional resolve, and determined effort to persevere. 

Freelancers need to develop certain habits that will help them become successful, such as regularly attending networking events, setting short-term goals, and practicing self discipline. 

If you are just starting off in the freelancing world, here’s some habits that will surely help you become successful. 

Starting your career

There are two ways to approach freelancing. You can either build a business around what you like doing best, or you can do a little bit of everything, hoping that it all adds up to something. The former approach is much more likely to be successful when hoping to make it in the long run. 

By focusing on your strengths, you can develop expertise in a particular area, which will make you more valuable to your work and future clients. This eventually translates into higher rates for your services and a more consistent stream of income. 

Set Goals

You need to get in the habit of setting short-term goals if you want to stay productive. It is hard for people to get motivated without goals. A goal is something you want to achieve in the future, but short-term goals help you stay on track. If you set goals for yourself, you will focus on your work and make sure that everything you do is aimed at that specific goal. 

Simply put, without goals, there is no motivation. If you don't have anything that motivates you or keeps you going, it would be challenging to be productive. When freelancers set goals, they can prioritize their actions, schedule, and efforts around meeting that goal. You can see which tasks can be set aside and which ones need attention right away, allowing you to work faster and more efficiently.

Concentrate on what you do best

One of the most common mistakes freelancers make is doing everything themselves. They try to be writers, designers, marketers, and administrators all at once. They're in over their heads, so they end up taking shortcuts, which they then have to fix later. This is a recipe for failure. 

If you try to do everything yourself, there will be far too many holes in your work and too little time to fix them. Instead of trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, focus on your strengths and outsource the rest. You can even subcontract some of these tasks under a fixed fee rather than pay an hourly rate. This way, you know exactly what you're getting for the price: nothing more and nothing less.

The most successful freelancers can find work that allows them to focus on their specialties, whether it be programming, writing, photography, or something else. For example, an effective programmer may choose to specialize in mobile platforms, while a great writer may choose to focus on blogging or copywriting. Freelancers who can hone in on what they do best are more likely to find work and ultimately succeed in the end. 

Network with others

You may have heard of the phrase "it's not what you know, it's who you know." In today's economy, networking is essential for a freelancer. Be sure that you attend networking events or join groups for your industry to meet new people. Having contacts within your industry is crucial for finding new clients or jobs. 

In addition to networking with other freelancers, you should also join organizations related to your field of work and attend conferences and seminars for networking purposes. Choose one skill set that is the foundation of your business. Once you've created your list, pick one skill set that underlies all of your other skills and abilities. 

For example, if web graphic design is your primary skill set, then this would be where your business begins, but it wouldn't end there since graphic design is only part of what you can do. maybe you also do graphic designs for apps. With time, you can connect with other freelancing opportunities that could also be a great fit for you. 

Practice discipline and self-control 

As a freelancer, you will be working from home, which can often make you feel lonely at times; therefore, you are more likely to spend time on non-work related activities. To prevent this from happening, you should practice discipline and self-control by setting your work schedule. 

Many people worry that if they work from home, they'll lose control over the quality of their work or their schedule. That's not how things always turn out, though; as long as you maintain self-control and don’t let distractions like TV or social media rule over you, you’ll be fine. 

Set a schedule for yourself

Regardless of the type of freelancing you do, it is essential to set a schedule for yourself. Planning your day will make things easier for you, especially if you have deadlines to meet or need to complete a specific project by a certain date. 

Make sure that your schedule leaves room for breaks since this enables you to refresh yourself before getting back to work again. Always remember that you do your best work at your own individual working capacity.

Invest in quality business tools

Freelancers should invest in the best technology possible to help them be more productive throughout the day. Invest in a quality laptop or tablet so you can access what you need, when you need it. 

Keeping a good-working mobile device will allow you to work from multiple locations without Wi-Fi. Remember that freelancers who aren't constantly marketing themselves miss out on much potential business. This means more than just putting up a few ads online or hanging up a sign in front of the office; it means putting yourself out there in ways that prospective clients can easily find you.


Hopefully, these six habits will help you out. If you can incorporate them into your existing freelancing routine, then you'll be well on your way to success as a freelancer. Not only will your clients benefit from your higher level of expertise, but you'll also start to feel like a real professional. The result? You'll feel better about your work and yourself, and that's always a good thing.

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Our team of career freelancers writes about best invoice practices, what makes a great client, and repeats the mantra, "never work without a contract." We're opinionated about the future of work and will always be on the side of freelancers.
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