Welcome to the dynamic world of freelancing, where you are your own boss and you are ever more in control of your fate. As promising as this field is, you have to gear up for the unique challenges that come with it. Here are points worth pondering when you're about to start your journey:
Maximize Your Working Hours
Many seasoned freelancers would agree that when they started, they found it hard to manage their time. You can notice the stark difference between a regular 9-5 job and being a full-time freelancer with how much more work you can do and, in turn, how much you can earn. Freelancing means you have full control of your time and energy but, unless you wisely use this power to your advantage, you could be wasting lots of hours on counterproductive things and end up earning less than what you've initially aimed for.
A good place to start, therefore, is to pattern your working day just as you would when you worked exclusively for an employer, in other words, eight hours for every weekday. It is also important to come up with a timetable to standardize what needs to be done at a specific time in a day. You can start your day with a similar morning routine, and when the clock strikes 9 A.M. or whichever time you prefer to start working, getting to work would be much like muscle memory.
Once you get used to such a routine and have a newfound sense of efficiency, you will find that you can accomplish more than you initially set out for yourself. You feel empowered and more motivated to take in more work. Above all, you have adequate time to manage personal matters, therefore, promoting work-life balance.
Tools that Enhance Your Productivity
When you're fully booked, you can't afford mishaps in your schedule, correspondences, task, and file management. There are many tasks you can automate instead with the help of digital tools. There are countless you can access online for free including:
- Client Call Scheduler. Have interested clients schedule a call with you within your preferred hours through an online calendar.
- Invoicing Templates. Create ready-to-fill-in templates each with the prevailing rates of your offers.
- Email Templates. Create automatic replies as well as visually presentable email signatures to enhance your credibility.
- Cloud Storage. To keep your computer running at its optimum speed, you don't want to overload it with work-related documents and media. You can keep heavy files cloud backup storage instead.
- Password Manager. Safely manage your login credentials for multiple websites within one suite.
Don't Stop Learning
Work flexibility could have initially enticed you into freelancing and you're content with the creative and time freedom you have. But, you should also think about the long-term prospects of your career. At some point, you would want to differentiate your offerings for your clients and for yourself to break out of repetitive tasks.
Apart from the skill set you have now, you have overflowing potential to know more. The job market is increasingly leaning toward digital tech competencies and, unless you pivot along with this demand, you cannot stay competitive for long. To take things from a more realistic perspective, you can't approach retiring age earning the same income range and you can only raise your praises if you have more to offer.
More than the willingness to learn more, you should have a good grasp of what the market needs. If you don't, you would only set yourself up for outdated online courses. Learning new things could be intimidating, but investing your time and brainpower into it pays off.
Don't Sell Yourself Short
So many factors could lead you to charge clients the minimum for your services. You could be swamped by the competition in your field and you think charging cheap could help you stand out. You could also be in dire need of money.
It is tempting to short-sell your skills especially if you do not have much in your portfolio to boast about. But, you should consider the practicality of this in the long run. You spent so much on earning a degree and supplementary courses and you also invested money to establish your brand as a freelancer.
So, unless you charge what you are worth, you cannot possibly recover all the money you shelled out. Discounts aren't necessarily your enemy, either. You can offer discounts in exchange for a trial period for your services or referrals your clients can make to their network.
Freelancing, in part, takes having an entrepreneurial gut. You have to always present your best sides and you can do this by constantly striving to improve yourself. You should also be ever honest with your clients so you can gain their trust and maintain a good track record.
Meta title: Ultimate Freelancing Guide for Beginners
meta desc: As enticing freelancing is as a full-time job, this new world of being your own boss and client-hunting has its share of challenges. Find out how you can increase your chances of success.