How to be a good freelancer: 8 essential tips and tools to ensure success

If you want to be a good freelancer, then you need to read this guide featuring 8 key tips and tools to ensure success ahead.
How to be a good freelancer: 8 essential tips and tools to ensure success

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Living the freelance life takes blood, sweat, and tears, but you can make it happen with the right information. Whether you are a writer, web designer, coder, or any other professional, you stand a chance to earn a lot of money on your terms.

Starting the right way will prevent mistakes and make it easier for you to bring in significant revenue. Below, we'll dive into the ways that you can grow your freelance business so that you can have a long, successful career.

1. Plan out your work weeks and days in advance

Too many freelancers jump into their workweeks gung ho and without any rhyme or reason. Time is the greatest asset that you have. Scheduling allows you to use time effectively so that you can become more productive and profitable.

By knowing what goals you need to hit by the end of the week, you can then reverse engineer it to plan out objectives on a day-by-day basis. When you understand what you need to accomplish, you can also effectively cut out time waste that eats away at your profits.

2. Make use of calendars and scheduling apps

When you have a well-laid-out schedule, it's easier to start your work week with a bang. It's one thing to have a schedule, but you also need to use technology to your benefit.

There are mobile apps that will let you plan out every aspect of your week, down to specific appointments, scheduled breaks, and tagging other professionals with who you're planning to video chat with. The great thing about these software platforms is that they sync across all of your devices, so you are connected by the cloud and on task no matter where you go.

3. Have a neat and organized workplace

There is no substitute for having a neat and organized workplace. When your office is clean, you will go into each work shift ready to take on the day, rather than dealing with dread and anxiety.

Even if you work from home, make sure that you establish a home office that is separate from everywhere else. This prevents distractions and lets you mentally get into workflows.

Choose an office with plenty of light, and include some natural light when at all possible. Getting an influx of Vitamin D each day through sunshine will help your mental health and clarity, and will prevent you from dealing with brain fog as you go about your day.

Outfit your office with all of the equipment that you need, while setting up work stations for your printers, scanners, and any other equipment that you use. Set up a filing system that allows you to keep all of your important documents in one place, and make sure that you regularly dispose of trash.

4. Handle your contracts and invoices with professionalism

One mistake that freelancers make is failing to conduct business effectively. Many freelancers start out as creatives and let issues like contracts and invoices slip through the cracks.

Take the time to set up contracts for every piece of work that you decide to do, and keep copies in the cloud and in multiple locations. Set up invoices for your clients so that you add some context to any payments that they send your way.

5. Prioritize your marketing and branding efforts

It's important that you handle your marketing and branding with diligence as well. This will be the difference between a business that remains stagnant and one that grows by leaps and bounds.

For one, make sure that you are getting a handle on your search engine optimization (SEO) by researching keywords, using analytics, and incorporating your keywords effectively throughout your blog or website.

Take the time to use video marketing by setting up a YouTube channel and embedding video in your site whenever possible. Use sharp photos in all of your content as well, and make use of effectively-researched metatags.

Network with other professionals and take advantage of opportunities to appear as a guest on freelancer podcasts and other outlets.

Always take time out to manage your portfolio so that you can update it and draw in new business. This will be your calling card and will display what you are all about to prospective customers.

6. Put collaboration tools to use

It's also important that you make use of software tools that will let you collaborate with others. These cloud-based collaborative tools have intuitive graphical interfaces and will allow you to update work instantaneously.

You can find a software as a service (SaaS) that is suited for your industry, and that lets you distribute tasks and manage your workload as needed.

7. Regularly brainstorm and mindmap

It also makes sense to get your ideas out of your head in the form of a brain dump whenever possible. Decluttering your mind will allow you to prevent distractions and decision fatigue, while also helping to put some legs behind your ideas.

The more you brainstorm and mindmap, the easier it will be to grow your company and come up with products and services that help the market.

8. Always strike balance and take care of yourself

Finally, keep in mind that everything is up to you as a freelancer. As such, it's easy to get overloaded and burdened by stress.

Take care of yourself by allowing yourself plenty of breaks, and making sure that you know how to leave your work at work. Do your best to live a healthy life so that you always have energy and mental clarity.

This allows you to strike a balance with your work-life so that you can always show up at your best.

Learn how to be a good freelancer on your terms

Regardless of what industry you're in, it pays to manage your workflow and always strive to be more productive and effective.

Moxie is happy to help you when you'd like to learn more about freelance life.

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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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