As a freelancer, you don’t have the benefits that come with working as an employee for an organization. You don’t get paid vacation days or sick leave, and you won’t receive a retirement fund from your work as a freelancer. But, being a freelancer does come with its own set of pros and cons.
As a freelancer, you are your own boss and are responsible for keeping track of your finances and scheduling your time wisely in order to meet deadlines and bill clients accordingly.
Because of the many challenges that freelancers face on a daily basis, not all succeed in this field. However, with the right strategies in place, it is possible to thrive as a freelancer rather than simply survive.
10 Strategies to Succeed as a Freelancer
Today, more people than ever are choosing independent work as a primary source of income. In fact, freelancing is now a booming industry with over 53 million Americans working as freelancers and contractors. If you’re interested in becoming a freelancer, here are the top 10 strategies to help you succeed. As a freelancer, you have the freedom to pick and choose projects that excite you. However, this also comes with challenges that require an abundance of perseverance and courage. The scope for failure is much wider because there’s no traditional support system or HR department to fall back on should things go awry. Working independently requires new skills and habits that some struggle to adopt from day one. However, it’s these moments of vulnerability that push us toward growth and success.
Know your worth
When you’re starting out, it can be tempting to work for free or extremely low rates. You might even be desperate for work, but the true value of your skills and experience should be reflected in your rates. If employers are only willing to pay peanuts, then they aren’t the right people for you to be working with. Being consistent in your rates will help you to weed out clients who aren’t committed to your success and are simply taking advantage of your eagerness to earn a living. Your rates also show clients that you’re serious about your work and that you know what your work is worth. When you’re confident in your rates, it shows clients that you’re serious about your work and that you know what your work is worth.
Networking should be a priority for all freelancers. Freelancers rely on a variety of people to help them earn their livelihood. This could be from a mix of existing clients, referrals, recruiters and representatives. If you want to establish these crucial relationships, you need to be present and visible in your chosen industry. Join local meet-ups, online communities, and groups that are relevant to your industry. You can also use social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn to network. Reach out to people in your industry who you’d like to meet. Ask questions, share your experiences, and let people know you’re there. Nurture these relationships and be present in your industry. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to help someone who genuinely wants to learn and succeed.
Set boundaries and stick to them
Freelancers are often expected to work longer hours, with fewer breaks, and can sometimes be given excessive workloads. If you’re in a traditional employment situation, you can set boundaries around your working hours and set a precedent with your employer. However, if you’re working remotely, you need to stand your ground and set boundaries from the outset. Your clients will respect you more if you set boundaries up front. This sends a clear message that you’re reliable and dependable, but also has your best interests in mind. You don’t want to fall into the trap of promising more than you can deliver, because this may result in undervaluing your worth and becoming overstressed. Having clear boundaries will help you to prioritise your work and enjoy freelance work more.
Be proud of who you are and what you do
Freelancers are often forced to promote themselves and their work in order to attract new clients and customers. This can lead to feelings of self-doubt and self-consciousness. However, you’ll have a more successful freelance career if you’re proud of what you do and the services you provide. This will also help you to promote yourself more confidently, leading to more potential clients. Being proud of what you do will help you to network better and build strong relationships with your clients. If you promote yourself with confidence, potential clients will be more likely to trust you and your work.
Take care of yourself physically and mentally
Freelancing is a stressful way of earning a living. You may have no sick leave or paid vacation time, so there’s no respite from the constant stress of earning a living. This can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. You should look after your physical health as much as possible by exercising, eating healthily, and getting enough sleep. However, your mental health is just as important. Make time for hobbies and interests that you enjoy. Find a support network of friends and family that you can talk to. You can also find support online in various communities and forums. Having a support network will help you to remain positive and avoid letting work stress consume you.
Know your niche and its limitations
Freelancing can be exciting and lucrative, but it’s not for everyone. Not all services and products are in demand, so you may need to pivot and try something new. You may also be skilled in a particular area that has few customers. For example, there may be very few clients who require your skills. This may be due to finding your niche or that your niche is too narrow for the market you want to work in. Regardless, you may need to try something new to succeed as a freelance worker. If you’re finding it difficult to succeed, look for ways to expand your niche or try something new. This may be as simple as trying a new marketing strategy, refining your pitch, or diversifying your services with a side hustle.
Don’t be afraid to pivot or try new things
Freelancing is a fluid and ever-changing industry. You may need to pivot and try new things to stay ahead of the curve and succeed in your chosen niche. This could be adapting your services to meet new client requirements, changing your marketing strategy, or diversifying your income with a side hustle. If you’re finding it difficult to succeed, don’t be afraid to make a change. You can learn from your mistakes, but you can also learn from the mistakes of others. Seek out mentors and online resources to help you make informed decisions about new strategies and techniques that are relevant to the industry you work in.
Learn from mistakes and failures
Freelancing is all about overcoming obstacles, learning from mistakes, and failing in order to succeed. You may make some costly mistakes, but this is how you learn and grow. If you fail, learn from it and don’t repeat the same mistake. Your past failures don’t need to define who you are as a freelancer. They are only indicators of what you’ve learned and how far you’ve come. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or lacking in confidence, don’t be afraid to seek out support. You may need to seek therapy to address any issues that are holding you back. You may also need to seek out mentors who have experience in the area you’re struggling in.
Freelancing is a great way to earn a living, but it is also a risky venture. You may not always be able to predict how busy you will be, and you may not always be able to find enough work. Additionally, you may be able to find work quickly, but you may not always be able to find work that pays well. To succeed as a freelancer, you will need to be persistent, patient and willing to work hard. You will also need to be able to manage your finances, find new clients and diversify your income. When the going gets tough, you will need to be able to stick to a budget, and you will need to be able to push forward in the face of challenges.