In this era where everyone wants to lead, nobody wants to follow. Most of the young minds wish to be the boss rather than a subordinate. This is how choosing to become a freelancer has become a more popular option. It’s an opportunity for a professional to be self-employed, to be their own boss. From this trend of freelancing, there emerges another important aspect of self-employment, known as the gig economy: a term used to describe brief, short-term jobs or projects. The road is not easy but so many of us prefer it over the monotony of office working hours, so there has to be something great about freelancing or there wouldn’t be freelancers out there. So don’t worry if you strive towards becoming a happy survivor in the world of freelancing, here are a few helpful tips for freelancers:
1. Be the master of your own niche
A freelancer can succeed when they are experts in their field: a Jack of all and master of none is never welcomed. Work at perfecting your expert skill to avoid being average.
- Always choose to work at what you love: choose to specialise in what you love so that even in the times of heavy workloads, you do not cease to enjoy your work. If you enjoy your work, you will produce top results.
- Sharpen your skills: In today’s business, things move faster than ever before. Markets, trends, economies, customer preferences keep changing at an ever-increasing rate. So you need to stay updated with the ongoing trends to fetch new clients. Adhering to the term ‘old is gold’, could make you a victim of obsolescence. Attend regular workshops, classes and talks and keep yourself in the loop. sign up to an online course related to your niche as much as possible. Try to enrol into some certificate courses of short durations for extra expertise. The more certificates you possess, the more trustworthy you become in the eyes of employers or clients.
- Never settle for less: here, by less, I don’t mean in terms of money, rather in terms of quality of your own work. There is a scope of improvement even in 99.99% Look for mending that 0.01%. Never submit your work until you are sure that you have given your best performance. Publicity for the future is earned by the efforts you put in the present.
- Self-assess: It’s important to continue growing to improve yourself and your professional skills. On a regular basis, take the time to assess yourself: take up online assessments or short exams, testing and rectifying your own blemishes.
2. Get legal documentation
Make sure you are working white and fair. If you turn to your country’s government website and search ‘self-employment’ you will find helpful information on how to become a freelancer.
Furthermore, make sure the clients you choose to work for are also ethical. If it is possible for a more formal and legitimate work agreement by putting together a contract. As a freelancer, you should have a list of terms and conditions that protect you from any mishaps that may arise.
Working under contracts also ensure adherence to the norms and deadlines on both ends.
3. Schedule your days
We are all pretty used to hearing advice like ‘plan your days, schedule your work, manage your time’. However, you will realise as a freelancer, how essential planning really is.
There may be some days when you have heaps of work and have no time to even take a tea break, while there are other days where you have such little work on, you can stare out the window for hours. Freelancing is all about creating a balance between being as busy as a bee and as idle as a mouse.
A good way to balance your schedule is to prioritise work and to set deadlines. Balance your work equally over the course of the week. Ensure you take regular breaks and avoid working overtime each day. When there are quiet moments in your schedule, use them to polish up on your skills.
Learn more on how to balance your schedule: 5 reasons why time management is important for a freelancer.
4. A dollar saved is worth 2 dollars spent
Avoid becoming over-excited during the days of high-earning. Although you may be earning a lot for one project, that doesn’t mean the money will continue rolling in – this is one of the downsides to the gig economy.
Set aside a percentage of your earnings and save it for a rainy day. This way, the periods between one job and the next won’t seem so daunting.
5. You are your own brand
The task of a freelancer is to stand out from the crowd. You may be the most skilled and talented freelancer in your field, but that doesn’t mean much if you’re impossible to find.
- In the era of modernisation, there can be no bigger tool than social media to reach the masses. Use social media platforms to promote your work, get in touch with potential clients, connect with other freelancers in your field and generally maintain an online presence. It’s pretty much mandatory for all freelancers and businesses to have at least one social media profile, so if you don’t have one, start putting one together today.
- Market Yourself. this doesn’t technically mean praising yourself or boasting your work but simply creating awareness of your services. Discuss your work in general terms: what experience do you have? What have you learnt? What qualifications do you have? All of these questions exhibit a more positive impression. Your past projects should exhibit the quality of your work. Testimonials should exemplify the type of freelancer you are.
- Network: Finding clients to work with is a crucial task. There is no set procedure for freelancers to connect with potential clients. However, a good suggestion is to be present. So, go out, hang out, talk and meet new people. Build up social connections that may lead to professional contacts.
6. Have work lined up before a project ends
That ideal chronological order requires you to find new work before bidding adieu to your current client. This may mean you being faced with the task of searching for jobs online, reaching out to businesses, old clients, new clients. However, it has to be done.
7. Optimism and confidence
Though the road is long and at times arduous, you should avoid sinking into pessimism during times of little work. It is important to stay motivated and in turn, you will attract work.
Having confidence in yourself is key to success. So, if you have finally decided to hand in your notice, retire the nine-to-five office job and choose to work in your pyjamas on your comfortable couch in the lounge, build up your self-confidence and begin the journey to becoming your own boss.
Rushin is a finance geek and a small business owner. He started FranchiseKaro.in where he blogs about starting and running franchise businesses. It’s an initiative to help people with starting up and running a business.