There are lots of great things about having a freelance career and not being tied down to one job or employer
Are you thinking of taking the plunge and starting a freelance career? It’s certainly a very brave step to take. There are so many things that can go wrong, and you don’t always have the security that you would get from another job. It’s not that you can’t do well as a freelancer, but it’s certainly true that it often seems like the cards are stacked against you. However, you shouldn’t let that put you off. There are lots of great things about being your own boss and not being tied down to one job or employer.
If you’re going to do this, you need to make sure that you do it properly. There is no room for cutting corners or half measures. You need to make sure that you get off on the right foot. A poor start to your freelance career could hamper your ability to find success in the long-term, and that’s the last thing you want. So, here are 10 ways to make sure that your personal freelance journey starts in the right way. Read on now to start learning what you need to know.
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Start with a Solid Plan
First of all, you need to put a solid plan in place. Starting a freelance career without first having a plan for how you want it all to go is pretty reckless, and it’s not something that you should do. When you have a plan, you can use it to guide you once things are underway. They can get hectic pretty quickly, so having the right guidance can matter a lot. You don’t want to put what you’re doping at risk before you have even got started. That would be a massive mistake, so don’t make it.
Know Where to Find Your First Clients
Clients don’t just emerge out of thin air. You have to know when to find them. Networking will be discussed further down because that’s a good way to find clients. But you will also need to think about how to get work from day one. There are lots of sites that match up people who need work completing with people who can do it.
It could be a good idea to start using these sites if you want to grow your freelance empire early on. This gets some jobs under your belt early on, and that’s what matters more than anything else. When people can see that you are active and producing work for other people, they will be more likely to use your services.
Build Up Your Portfolio and Testimonials
You need to start building your portfolio as soon as you start doing work in your freelance career. This is something that is very important indeed. If people are not able to see what you can do and what your talents are able to produce, you will struggle to clinch clients early on. You want that early momentum, so get that portfolio growing fast.
Another thing that you should think about are testimonials. These can be reviews that are posted on your website. They should be from people who have used your services. They can see that you can produce the work, and you want other people who haven’t used your services to know that too.
Find Your Worth
Your worth as a freelancer is not always easy to measure. When you’re new, it’s best to keep your rate relatively low. People don’t know what you have to offer, and you can’t charge top dollar for your services if people don’t trust you yet. It takes time to find your space in the market, but you should be aware of this issue.
You will gradually get to know what the going rate is for the services that you offer. And once you are happy with the rate you charge, keep it consistent. Everyone should be charged the same sum. If you offer less to others, you will get in trouble with your other clients. Don’t feel pressured into working for nothing either.
Make Sure Your Website is Killer From Day One
Your website is always going to be important when it comes working as a freelancer. This is where people first hear about you and become more familiar with your services. So, if your website is not made to impress from the very start, you could begin slowly, which is not what you want.
If you don’t know anything at all about creating an impressive website, just make sure that you can contact somewhere who understands what goes into website design. They will be able to take care of this for you. An SEO firm might also be able to help you. You’re going to need traffic flowing to your website continually.
Learn the Art of Networking
Networking is important, and it’s something that now happens in the real world and online. You can’t just pay attention to one over the other. You have to be able to do both. If you can’t, you will struggle to meet the people who are able to open new doors to you in your industry. So, don’t just assume that work will land with you and keep flowing.
You have to be prepared to go out there and find work. It doesn’t just magically appear. Networking can get your foot on the ladder, as well as getting your face out there. When people know who you are and what kind of services you provide within your industry, it helps you a lot. Make sure you get on this from the start.
Get a Grip of Time Management
This is one of the things that people find most difficult about transitioning from a normal job to a freelance arrangement. You have to manage your own time and your own workload. There is no boss pushing you on and telling you when you need to have the work done by. In a way, this can be great and liberating. But it also puts pressure on you.
You will get to know how long it takes you to carry out the job that you do. And you will then be able to shape your schedule correctly and not overburden yourself with too much work. That in itself is a pretty big deal, and it can make your life so much easier as a freelancer, so keep that in mind going forward.
Find the Time to Market Yourself
You need to be able to market yourself if you want succeed as a freelancer. When you don’t have the people behind you to back you, you need to do that work yourself. You have no boss or company who is going to be able to do that work for you, so it’s up to you to make sure that you market yourself and get your name out there.
The better you’re able to market yourself, the more people will know that you’re there and ready to offer your services. There are sites like LinkedIn that can help with this. And you should also set up your own website where you can promote your work and provide people with contact details.
Keep Improving Your Skills in Your Chosen Field
It doesn’t matter what kind of freelance career you are setting up; it will require you to have certain skills. If you want your freelance career to progress well, your skills will need to be gradually improving and heading in the right direction. So, never stop learning new things and seeking out new ways to uncover knowledge.
The more you know and the more skills you have in your chosen field, the more in demand you will become. Everyone wants to hire people who clearly know what they’re doing because they are the people who can be trusted. Go on courses, make an effort to find out more about your niche and how you can do what you do better. It will certainly be rewarded.
Set Long-Term Goals
You need to have goals for where you think that your career is going to go. Otherwise, you could become one of those freelancers that end up treading water and going nowhere fast. I’m sure that’s not what you want to happen. Goals keep you on track and give you something real and tangible to aim for. That’s why you should definitely set them.
Setting them is not always as easy as it sounds, though. But don’t over complicate it. Think about where you’re starting and where you want to be in a year, 2 years, 5 years, a decade. We all have career aims, and when you’re starting a freelance career, it makes sense for them to be in place from the very beginning.
Starting a freelance career is always going to be daunting. You can’t get ahead and find success as a freelancer if you don’t have the right skills backing you up. But as the points above make clear, it takes much more than raw talent to succeed.