Freelancing is a viable option for those who desire more freedom or feel their creative abilities are limited in the typical work environment. If you have decided to take absolute control of your life in 2019, this is good news.
However, the freelance life is pretty grueling. You’d be letting a relatively stable monthly pay check go when you quit your job, leaving you with a potentially unreliable source of income in freelance. While there might be surplus of requests for your skill in a month, the period that follows could be very quiet, and this can lead to uncertainty.
The UK now has an estimated 5 million self-employed people. 35% of the U.S. workforce is made up of freelancers. In addition to the control the freelance life offers, the lure of its flexibility – being able to create a work schedule or work in your preferred clothes – is especially appealing. The nature of the freelance work makes it particularly appealing to parents who are keen to spend quality time with their family – a likely reason there has been a 79% increase in the number of freelance mums over the past decade.
If you are already a freelancer with little success or you are looking to launch a freelance career, her are four tips that can help you kick off the New Year in the right way:
- Get Yourself Known
While this may sound obvious, you need to let the industry know about your qualities and abilities, and that you are available for hire. If you are yet to do so, the first step is to get a web presence for yourself so you can showcase your portfolio. If you do not have many projects to display on your profile, get creative by crafting a few self-initiated projects. This way, your target audience will be convinced you are the real deal in your niche.
Once your portfolio is set up, promoting yourself is the next step. Rashdah who is now the Managing Director of Hidden Pearls a UK based company that supply chiffon hijabs but started off as a freelancer herself five years ago tells us that if you are keen to secure new and repeat clients, you need to do effective networking. If you are yet to set up social media channels (Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Facebook) for your marketing, now is the right time to do so. Social networking is a great way to connect with people and build relationships. If you already have some presence on social media platforms, engage more by replying to people’s posts, starting conversations, and sharing valuable posts.
- Focus on a Niche
Two groups of people exist in the freelance world: the specialists and the generalists. A specialist is a freelancer who has experience in a specific industry – like legal writing – for a number of years or one who has knowledge of a specific skill set.
On the other hand, a generalist is one who typically takes on all sub-categories of a particular service. For instance, while article writing as a service includes legal writing, sales copy writing, website content writing, and a host of other sub-categories, a generalist, rather than focus on a particular niche, may want to take on all sub-categories under the article writing service.
Focusing on a specific niche as a specialist means you can set higher rates on your services because of the value you can offer your clients. It is up to you to determine the in-demand skills, and focus on brushing up your offering under that skill-set for you to perform at your best. The more satisfied your clients are, the more likely they will return, and even refer your service to similar businesses.
- Know Your Target Audience
The most successful freelancers know exactly what service their ideal clientele needs. In order to achieve success in the freelance field, you would need to understand the demographics of your target audience, and this may include age, gender, job description, industry, and location. Once you are certain of the unique attributes of your ideal audience, the services you provide will be streamlined to their needs. The idea is to connect your audience with your services. Knowing them is a great way to prepare yourself.
- Make Your Pricing Clear
Before pitching your service to your clientele, you need to be sure of your rates so your clients know off the bat how much you’d likely charge. No matter how much you need a job, it is ideal that you are realistic with your client on what it will take to carry out the required task, so you do not end up dealing with an unhappy client.
Freelancing requires work that includes social media management, invoicing, marketing, and quality service delivery. Most freelancers set their own work schedule, pick clients, and build relationships from the comfort of their homes. While the path to becoming a successful freelancer is not the easiest, it is beyond rewarding for those who are committed to put in the required effort.