Freelancing is not for the weak at heart. The freedom of self-employment can easily be overtaken by expenses, taxes, lack of incoming clients, and much more. However, to the right person, these challenges could be much more fulfilling than clocking in at a regular 9-to-5. This is coming from a person who does both.
Creative Bloq posted a list of 12 tips for success in freelancing that is pretty spot-on. I’ve listed my favorites below and my reasons why, yet I encourage you to check out the full post.
A good reputation travels further than your work
I did a bit of freelance graphic and web design in Chicago while finishing up my degree in music business. I produced quality work by the predetermined deadlines and my prices were reasonable. Seven years after moving across the country, I still get referrals from people in Illinois.
It is a sentiment to my work reputation, not because I’m the best at graphics or web design (because frankly I’m not). I consistently get freelance work today because of my efficiency: my clients know I will deliver exactly what I promised (sometimes more) in the time frame promised (sometimes sooner). Reliability wins over talent any day of the week.
Don’t shout about a project too early
Your client may not appreciate you sharing the details of their commission before its completion, or before they are ready to announce it. This could affect the effectiveness of the entire project, not to mention your working relationship with the client.
In another example: setting an unrealistic launch date for an incomplete project and announcing it to the world is a recipe for disaster. Delays caused by life could force you to rush the project to meet this due date, which will affect the overall quality.
Look after your health
You are of no use to anyone if you aren’t operating at capacity. If you go down, your client can find a replacement. Your friends and family cannot replace you.
Eat right. Exercise. Get plenty of rest. Do all the things we know to do yet sometimes ignore out of laziness or inconvenience. These rules don’t exist just to torture you; they actually work.
Be Ready To Evolve… Fast.
It’s great to be the best at one thing, but just like the world is constantly changing and evolving, you should too. In this era, you need to have several skills mastered to increase your chances of securing the gig.
Once you master a skill, maintain its sharpness while picking up additional ones to diversify your arsenal. This also opens up additional revenue streams, so there’s that incentive.
A buddy of mine submitted a proposal to redesign the website of a major corporation. Several web development agencies much bigger and more established were in the running for the gig, but my buddy’s proposal was accepted. He later found out that he didn’t get the job because his proposal was better, but rather that he turned it in on time.
In an age where we allow fears of inadequacy stop us from pursuing our desires, we must realize that you don’t necessarily have to be the best; you just have to take the leap. Like Norman Vincent Peale said: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”