There seem to be quite a lot of misconceptions in people’s minds about being a freelancer. One-half think they will spend all their time working on projects they enjoy, turning down work that doesn’t suit their taste. And the other half believes that being a freelancer can be a side hustle but not a career.
Both are wrong. Being a freelancer isn’t a cakewalk, as many seem to believe. Indeed, if you want to be successful, you have to tread carefully and be highly cautious about the quality of work you produce. And if you do it right, it can definitely be a profitable career.
Becoming a Great Freelancer: What You Must Do
Why do some people make so much money freelancing while others struggle to make ends meet? A lot of people claim that freelancing isn’t a steady source of income. More often than not, it’s the approach that’s the problem.
Before we share what you need to know to have a successful freelancing career, we feel it’s prudent to mention something. You have to be yourself! No, this isn’t a piece of advice for your personal development. This will be highly beneficial for your professional growth too.
To become a freelancer, you have to learn to be confident in who you are. If your creative work has a personal approach, it will draw potential clients your way. Adding a personal touch to your work sets you apart and entices potential clients to give you a chance.
1. Recognize Your Key Audience
You must know who your target audience is before you pitch to get new work. For instance, if your specialty is designing for software companies, it wouldn’t do you much good if you spent time pitching home interior websites.
Having a clear audience will make it easier for you to understand who your clients are. As a freelancer, you must decide your niche and stick to it. Of course, you can expand eventually but focus on mastering your particular niche first. This will not only increase your experience but also help you establish yourself as an authority in the field.
2. Prioritize Content More Than Anything Else
No matter what niche you select, remember that nothing is more vital than content. Even if you are a designer who is really good at creating a beautiful website, if your content is subpar, you won’t get too far.
Yes, there will be times when you won’t have much control over your client’s content. However, if you feel the final outcome won’t match your vision because of the content, don’t take up the project. It will only reflect poorly on your portfolio.
If you are the one creating content, make sure that you present it such that it entices the reader. You have to keep the readers hooked on what you have to say. At the same time, it’s advisable to keep things simple and to the point.
Additionally, your content and services should always add value to your client. Remember, the freelancing world is oversaturated. Your client will probably find many freelancers vying for his project. Why then should they give you a chance? Because you have what others don’t! Your services can make a difference to this project. This is what you have to convince your clients.
This will not only help you get more clients but also retain them long-term. And if there’s one thing that makes you a successful freelancer, it’s the retention of clients.
3. Learn To Build Relationships
If you want to be the freelancer everyone looks up to, you have to build relationships and networks. Your goal shouldn’t be only to attract clients but also to collaborate with other freelancers. It will always work in your favor if you have a relationship with people related to your niche.
You can refer work their way and vice versa. By networking with your fellow peers, you can ensure you have people to turn to for guidance. For instance, when you have a particularly challenging project, you can look for their assistance and work together to produce quality work. This will help you go far.
However, in your earnest to build relationships, you have to ensure you don’t forget one thing. It’s perfectly alright, in fact, beneficial, to say no at times.
Of course, it’s not going to be easy. Whenever you think about turning down a project, your mind will wander to your expenses. It’s tempting to say to whatever comes your way. However, this can be a disastrous approach for your career. Don’t ignore the warning signs. And only work for those clients who you think will be a good fit.
The Challenging Road to Becoming a Successful Freelancer
Yes, it’s definitely not easy to become a well-paid freelancer. There will be times when you will be tempted to give up. However, if you pursue your field with determination and zeal, things will eventually fall into place.
The important thing to ensure is that you never stop learning. Of course, you have to focus on your work. But at the same time, take some time out to polish your skill or learn something new. This will expand your knowledge base and also have a positive impact on the quality of work you produce.
Another noteworthy tip is to ensure that you don’t remain confined to a particular zone as a freelancer. You have to master a particular niche, but this does not imply that you make it your comfort zone. Your focus should be on making sure that your journey does not become stagnant. After all, you became a freelancer to avoid living the typical mundane office life. Don’t let the monotony set in during your freelancing, either.