In today’s unstable economy, freelancing is on the rise. In the U.S. alone, one in three workers are now doing freelance work. That’s 42 million Americans going without employer health insurance, 401(k) plans and flexible spending accounts.
But it’s not all thick and thin — freelancing is often very fulfilling (for those who know). A lot of people choose to freelance while some do it to supplement their current income, and others do it because full-time work is simply hard to come by. Creatives often choose this professional option because freelancing offers flexibility and the opportunity to showcase work in a variety of avenues. Freelancers can be anyone — artists, writers, graphic designers, programmers, business consultants, accountants, journalists — you name it!
If you’re looking to start freelancing, then these 5 proven ways to be successful in your freelance career would come in handy!
- Promote Yourself
It can sometimes be helpful to be a jack-of-all-trades in the freelance industry, but you may find it easier marketing yourself if you choose a niche within your industry. Personal branding is compulsory for anyone looking for freelance work. Showcase your worth: Start a personal website, build up your social media presence and start a blog to discuss pressing industry issues and offer new perspectives.
Freelancing is a business, and this means there may be times when the well runs dry. Regular networking is a must any freelancer who desires a regular stream of work. Make networking a habit — use the Web, attend industry events, send out e-newsletters or make cold calls to get new clients.
- Secure A Contract
This may be the most important rule of successful freelancing: Always write and sign a contract with your clients before completing any work. Too often, freelancers get taken advantage of and end up working for free. A contract ensures your client is legally bound to pay you, so don’t skip this step!
- Be Organized
Freelancers often handle multiple projects at once. Determine how long a project will take to complete, to properly block out your time, or set up appointments with clients in your home office or even a local café. Use spreadsheets to track your progress and follow up on payments. Freelancers work without the oversight of a boss to keep them on schedule — that means it’s up to you to ensure you’re staying on track.
- Stay Flexible
As a freelancer you may not have creative control of your projects most of the time. You’re working at the mercy of clients — you know, the people who are paying you — and you have to be flexible to clients’ needs if you want to succeed. If you want to succeed then you need to refine the art of flexibility, offering your expertise and guidance to clients while also taking into account the specific needs of your client.
Freelancing can be a great way to supplement your existing income or create a new career. Use the skills you already have, and you’ll l be well on your way to creating a thriving personal business.
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