As a freelancer, I often get asked for my top tips on freelancing. What are the things that equal freelance success? What is the best way to freelance? So today, I’ll give you my top 10 tips for freelancing, starting with becoming a freelancer all the way through to achieving freelance success…
#1 Decide whether freelancing is for you. Freelancing doesn’t suit everyone, so the first tip is figure out whether it’s right for you. Does it suit your personality, goals, and lifestyle? Does it match your skills, personality, and traits? Try doing a few freelance jobs first to see whether you like it before committing fully. If you work in an employed job and enjoy getting your feet wet, switch to freelancing at a pace that suits you.
#2 Choose your area of work. The beauty of freelancing is being free to choose what freelance work you do, so don’t choose your area based on what’s in demand, pays the best, or isn’t too saturated. Choose something you love doing and are great at. It’s much easier to be a successful freelancer with these two key components nailed down.
#3 Work the hours you want. While some people will give you prescriptive advice on working time, remember this is your opportunity to build your freelance life the way you want it to be—not in a way that works for someone else. So figure out which working days and hours match your circadian rhythm, and what kind of working pattern works for you, be it a routine or random.
#4 Take a break. When you manage your own hours, it’s easy to work for hours without a break or go months without taking a day off. Don’t do it. Take time out for lunch every day, plan your days off, and take regular holidays. Downtime and relaxation are really important, so take advantage of the work-life balance that freelancing offers.
#5 Use a range of methods. Rather than committing to one way of finding clients or one freelancing platform, check out the options and find clients through a range of methods. This might include personal recommendations, LinkedIn, generalist freelancing platforms, niche sites, social media, your personal website, networking, cold-calling, etc. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
#6 Keep your clients happy. It sounds obvious, but the best way to achieve freelance success is to delight your customers and exceed their expectations. This leads to referrals, testimonials, great feedback, and return customers. If you want to build an amazing freelance reputation, you need amazing feedback, so keep those customers as happy as can be.
#7 Have a “rainy day” pot. As a freelancer, your income is likely to be unstable and irregular, so make sure you have a back-up savings pot that you can rely on if you don’t earn enough at any point. That way you can always pay the bills. You might even want a back-up for your back-up. And don’t forget to set aside an extra pot to pay your taxes at the end of the year. (Bonus tip: to manage your finances, you might want to hire an accountant.)
#8 Build a network. While networking might not be top of your agenda as a freelancer, having a network can be indispensable in providing support, referrals, outsourcing, ideas, inspiration, and more—as well as helping you avoid isolation. You can find networking groups in your area on meetup.com.
#9 Get out. Many freelancers work from home, which means little exercise and the possibility of becoming isolated. Neither of these are great for your health, so make sure you get out regularly to exercise and socialise. See friends and family regularly, and look after yourself—eat healthily and work outside when possible to get some fresh air.
#10 Keep improving. It’s easy to stagnate as a freelancer, especially when you don’t have an employer sending you on courses or giving you performance reviews. So, make sure you keep learning, studying, developing your skills, and improving your service offering. This not only keeps your skills fresh, but it keeps your job interesting.
Got any tips you’d like to share to ensure freelance success? Comment below or get in touch! Stay tuned for more freelance tips…