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The freelance industry is poised for growth, with more and more people opting to live the freelancer life. And why wouldn’t they? The freelance industry has a lot of perks for solopreneurs. There’s a lot of flexibility in the number of hours you want to put in being a freelancer. You don’t have to punch in a 9 to 5 clock. Freelancing is on your terms. If done right, freelancing might even give you more in terms of salary, when compared with full-time employees.
You get to pick projects based on an employer you’d like to work for. You can also choose to take on new work depending on how much time you have to dedicate to it, if you have to go into an office (or not), and how many hours a day/week/month you can devote to your freelance gig.
But, like everything, there are tricks to this trade, and there are a few best practices to follow as a freelancer, which will help you hit the ground running.
This is step 1 of the program. There’s so much to explore, and there are so many industries out there looking for freelancers that it might be confusing to select your niche, but doing this early on will save you time and money. You need to specialize in a certain niche and build your reputation within it. This will help you cement your credibility and get better and better jobs.
It takes a lot of time to build your reputation and ask for the salary you deserve. So, don’t feel disheartened if you can’t earn as much from the get-go. Gradually, as you start going through the motions, your asking rate will go up as well. The longer you stick around, the better it is when it comes to deciding your fees. Ensure you thoroughly go through the freelance platform (eg, Fiverr) you choose and see how high or low the rates are for the services you offer. And then, you can adjust your rates accordingly to stay competitive.
As a newbie to freelancing, you might not have a portfolio in place, but it’s necessary to one have if you want to grow as a freelancer. Nobody will give you work and pay you a steep amount unless you have a proven track record of delivering on time. Experience is key. So, showcase your work and keep building your portfolio as you go from gig to gig.
As a freelancer, you’ll seldom have the opportunity to introduce yourself as you do when you’re at a job interview. As a freelancer, you’ll have to build a rapport in as little time as possible. To do that, creating an online social media presence is crucial. Yes, this also entails creating a website of your own. You need to build yourself as a brand and advertise yourself online. So, don’t shy away from displaying your expertise for the online world to see.
Response time matters. That’s doubly true if you’re a freelancer, because it’s the time you take to respond to someone who has reached out to you that cements your first impression. Since the world of freelancers relies on the world wide web, which is to say freelancers mostly work online, it becomes crucial to keep a tab on all channels of communication—your next gig could come from anywhere.
After every gig, every job, ask your client for feedback so that you can keep improving as a freelancer. It is this feedback that can help you gauge what customers liked and disliked about your work. Testimonials on the other hand stand testament to the fact that you’ve successfully completed projects and delivered customer satisfaction. Seeing is believing. So, gather as many testimonials as you can to attract and gain the trust of new customers.
This may seem more like an etiquette rather than a best practice. But it’s always a good sign when you deliver a project well before it’s past deadline. Also, keep a schedule handy before picking up gigs left right and center. It’s important to organize yourself properly if you want to meet the deadlines, so keep this in mind before you take up multiple gigs without a breather in between.
As a freelancer, you’re on your own. You’re your own brand. That’s why networking becomes crucial in growing your network and finding your next gig. What you need to do is connect with people on social media, forums, and email. You can also attend networking events if you want that human touch. The ultimate goal is to get the word out about you and how your freelancing services can solve others' problems.
Since you’re on your own, the legal paperwork must be done by you too. It’s a good idea to request contracts for each job you do, as proof that the work will be done at the decided price, at the agreed upon timeline. This is the only way to guarantee that your work will be paid for. Having an ironclad contract is therefore imperative if you wish to earn a steady living as a freelancer.
Just how not being paid on time evokes the ire of freelancers, it is equally irksome for clients when freelancers invoice incorrectly. Ensure you send invoices that are correct and have detailed information on the services you have provided. Clients want to be in the know about services they are paying for. And most importantly, make haste while invoicing! You don’t want to wait weeks or months to invoice a client. That might lead them to forget all the work you did for them.
CREEK is a one-stop solution for budding entrepreneurs and freelancers alike. The platform is meant for freelancers and other entrepreneurs to connect with each other to make meaningful connections. So, if you’re looking for a gig, look no further than the network of founders to help you find one. At CREEK, your next gig is just a connection away.
With all these best practices in mind, you can launch yourself as a full-fledged freelancer, equipped with all the knowledge necessary to survive and thrive as a freelancing professional.