Freelancing sounds like a pretty sweet gig to most people. At the same time, while many people try to make it as freelancers, a surprisingly large number of them don’t actually make it. Largely, that’s down to a misunderstanding of what freelancing is.
Yes, freelancing does allow you to make your own schedule, but only up to a point. While you can choose when you want to work, the work still needs to get done.
For that reason, to be successful you have to develop a certain number of habits that you’ve got to perform daily, or at least weekly, in order to get ahead. Here we’ll look at some of the most important ones.
The biggest headache for most people who start freelancing is getting the marketing done right. In fact, a lot of the freelancers I know aren’t particularly good at marketing. And that’s a problem, because unless you get your name out there regularly or you’re really lucky and you have a well-connected client who sings your praises to everyone and everybody, it’s going to be a struggle.
The truth is, marketing is possibly the most important skill that you’ll need as a freelancer. Obviously, you’ll also need to be able to deliver on what you’ve promised (no amount of marketing will make up for you not doing that) but if we put that by the wayside, the way to climb up the ladder is through successfully marketing yourself.
The best way to do this is to set aside a little bit of time every day to market. This can be anything from replying to job ads, to letting former colleagues know about what you’re up to now. Twenty to thirty minutes should suffice.
To oversimplify, there are three things that are important for a company when working with a freelancer. These are:
Obviously, you’ll want to make sure you’re good at all of those. If you’re going to prioritize, however, it’s best make sure that you meet people’s deadlines. Especially after you’ve got a bit of experience, this is relatively easy to do. You just need to track how long a job normally takes you and then put aside that many hours plus change in your schedule ahead of time.
If you get in the habit of regularly writing these things out, you’ll know how much work you’ll have at a given moment. Even better, the pressure will start to mount earlier than it otherwise would, which means you’ll start putting in the necessary hours before the deadline is mere days away.
Even if you have a lot of knowledge and experience in various areas, it’s still a good idea to specialize. The reason is that if you find a niche and you’re really good at that, then you’re going to be exposed to far less competition. And that means that you’ll be able to ask for a higher price for your services.
So, don’t just become a writer. Instead, become a freelance ghostwriter with a focus on career or finance or a university essay writer or a technical writer with a focus on medicine and biotechnology .
Of course, to become specialized, you have to make sure that you’re constantly honing your skills. This means, reading the right articles, talking to the right people and following courses to really know the everything you can about the area that you’re specialized in.
Because only when you really know your field well are you going to be able to win those customers. Then, when you’ve got a good roster of clients who rely on you, you can always broaden our skillset by opening up another area. But wait with that until you’ve got a reputation, so that the expansion of your client list in your initial field will take care of itself.
Yes, freelancing does mean that you can make your own schedule. But it works a lot better if you get into the habit of keeping to the same schedule, as self discipline will allow you to get more done in less time. If you make sure that you get to work at the same time every day, you’ll be at peak performance then. And that means you can get far more done in the same amount of time. That’s the power of routines.
Of course, you can break routine every so often. Don’t become a slave to it. Nonetheless, you want to have a well-formed schedule, so that you have it to fall back on when the work load gets high.
While you’re scheduling out your routine, make sure that you also leave time that you’re not working. You have to have time to do the things that you care about outside of work as well. Why? Because our productivity drops when we work too much.
For that reason, give yourself days off. Go on the occasional holiday. Get outdoors. Hang out with friends. Go have a few drinks so loosen up if you have to and then spend a day doing nothing as you recover. However you choose to relax, give yourself time for it. Because in the long run, when you do that, you’re going to be far more productive. And how could you argue against something like that?
Natalie Andersen, professional writer, author of the book “Conquer Essay Phobia: Perfect Formula for a Good Grade!”. Once and forever, I decided for myself, that my life will never be the result of the circumstances, but of my own actions. I am fancy creating the things I am good at and make them useful for the others.