Freelancing can be hard, but it also can have many benefits including giving you freedom and allowing you to become your own boss. If you interested in striking out on your own here are 7 freelancing tips everyone can learn from.
1. Show off your experience
The importance of experience (and lack thereof) is key for freelancers. Create an online profile and portfolio that shows past projects and referrals from clients, and offer a link to this in your email signature. Spend the time to fill out your online profile across all the recommendation engines you can find. In conversations, cite past experiences that show off your expertise with specific challenges. This is the best way to build trust with potential business partners. Take on as many projects as you can handle and give your best effort, because trust correlates with experience.
2. Find your niche
If you’re freelancing in a broad category like web design, don’t simply say “Web Designer” — be the best in one particular subset of that broad category. Be a “responsive designer” or “web designer fluent in JQuery”. Think about how many other profiles your potential business partner will see. You need to hit a particular niche to stand out.
3. Leverage the power of mobile invoicing
It’s important to keep track of your finances. Use apps like Invoice2go, Waveapps, QuickBooks or FreshBooks to create and send professional estimates and invoices right from the job. Looking professional will help you establish credibility with your clients and win jobs, and creating the estimate in real time when the project is still fresh in your client’s mind will help you communicate the project details and costs in a clear and transparent way from the beginning. It also allows you to collect receipts and to keep your expenses organized for easy presentation to your clients.
4. Over communicate every step of the way
Home projects carry an extra requirement for a personal touch, so you can never communicate with your clients too much. If you expect changes to the timeline or the materials required, communicate it to them as soon as you know. Don’t leave room for any surprises. One of the things clients are wary of in terms of hiring remote freelancers is this inability to keep in touch regularly, so if you prove that you are very communicative and accessible while working remotely you will develop stellar reviews that you can use to get new work.
5. Write a blog to showcase your expertise
One of the best ways to build your individual brand is to create a blog. It will allow people contracting your work to understand the person behind the profile better, which will definitely make it more likely that they’ll hire you. It will also allow you to be a thought leader in your space. Best of all, having a blog with good content will allow you to generate business leads on its own. So it really helps you in multiple ways.
6. Never underestimate the smallest of details
If you want a 5-star review, you’re going to have to produce 5-star work, and that means thoroughly completing all of the client’s goals. Even missing something like an editing mistake or failing to respond to an email in a timely manner can be enough for the client to consider other options the next time. Additionally, often clients will send a large set of instructions/goals for their project. If you don’t read every line of this document you’re setting yourself up for failure. Even if it’s tedious, make sure to thoroughly cover this document and clarify any parts you’re confused about, because it will be the framework for your success or failure on the project.
7. Raise Your Freelance Rates
Often, new freelancers will be shy about charging what they consider to be “too much,” even if they have great reviews and a stellar portfolio. Your rate should be based on your knowledge, expertise, and reviews rather than how long you’ve been actively working in the field.