According to research, more than 56 million Americans now work as freelancers. This is around 3.7 million more people than five years ago.
Are you ready to shed the 9-to-5 and work on your own, from any location you choose?
Joining the ranks of successful freelancers can open the doors to freedom and possibilities that might have seemed out of reach until now. However, this job isn't without its challenges.
Today, we're taking a look at a few of the qualities you'll need if you want to stake your claim in this market. Read on to discover the insider tips you need to get started on the right foot!
Sure, completing your work assignments without interruptions from colleagues and managers might sound like a dream. This is definitely one perk of setting off on your own!
However, it's all too easy to let duties slide or push them off until later when there's no one to report to and no one holding you accountable. Working from home can be as incredible as you imagine, but it can also be distracting. Between your pets, the fridge, and the television, there are plenty of other things tugging at your attention all day long.
That's why the most successful professionals in this space are those who can set their own schedule and stick to it. Ideally, you should create a space in your home dedicated strictly to your work. Once you have your hours established, minimize distractions by using these focus apps.
Especially when you're just starting out, you'll need to contact prospective clients to find work. As you do so, you'll need to be ready to promote your skills, knowledge, and industry expertise.
What sets you apart and what can you bring to the table? You should feel comfortable talking about yourself and promoting your skills. This is also a great time to polish your resume and work on a cover letter that you can easily tweak.
As you reach out, you'll encounter other opportunities to meet more professionals in your niche. The ability to comfortably network is a quality that will take you far, regardless of the industry you work in.
When you're a freelancer, there is rarely a "typical" day. Monday and Tuesday might look vastly different in terms of your assignments and schedule, and that's OK! The ability to adapt to meet your clients' needs is critical, as this is far from your typical office environment.
Of course, this also means taking the drawbacks with the advantages.
Keep in mind that you may also be called to work a little later one evening, or you may have a job that requires the occasional weekend work. While you can usually design your schedule to avoid these interferences, the reality is that the unexpected will happen. Staying flexible and dependable can help you establish the kind of long-term client relationships you need to stay profitable.
Speaking of profits, you should also be financially-savvy and smart with the money you make. Remember: You're more in control now of your payment schedule. Depending on your setup, you may choose to invoice your clients weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly.
As you arrange this, your normal cash flow will understandably change. Make sure you have enough money coming in to sustain your business and don't forget to set up an emergency fund in the event that work temporarily dries up and you're left without a consistent source of income.
It might take some time to get an accurate gauge of how quickly you can complete an assignment as a freelancer. Yet, as you mature in this realm, you'll soon discover approximate averages that you can use to submit client estimates.
For instance, if you're a freelance writer, you might learn that you can write 1,000 words in about one hour. Knowing this, you can set a rate that will help ensure you're compensated fairly for your time.
Of course, time management also means finding a way to balance your workday. Do you work best in the morning? Are the afternoons busier because your partner is around or the kids are home from school? Knowing how to approach and manage your time wisely is a skill that can help you earn more in the long run.
No, you don't have to be a digital wizard to succeed as a freelancer. However, you should be comfortable using online tools meant to make your life easier, like Hectic, a freelance management software that can help you with everything from finding new clients to invoicing.
Start by creating a website that serves as a virtual portfolio, where potential clients can view your past work and learn more about your work history and experience. While there are many different website builders that take the guesswork (and coding!) out of this process, you may still feel more comfortable letting a professional web designer take the reins. This expense is well worth the investment, as a sleek and accessible website can help others find and hire you much more easily.
You can also expand your online presence by setting up profiles on key social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Then, as you interact with clients, you can use online communication tools such as Hectic to share project details. All of these steps will require at least a basic knowledge of how modern technology works, so take the time to refresh your skills if you've been out of this space for a while.
All successful freelancers have to start somewhere. As you prepare to branch out and start a career on your own, it helps to know what qualities can put you at the top.
Along the way, there are plenty of resources that can help you get there. Hectic one of them.
Here, you'll find all the tips and advice you need to navigate these new waters. We'll also help you set up a custom dashboard to take control of every aspect of your new business. Learn more about Hectic today and let's take this new step together.