Freelancing as an employment trend is on the rise, and it is easy to see why. Having the freedom to work from home and mold your work schedule around your life is highly appealing. However, being successful as a freelancer requires you to do your research, to ensure you are prepared for the rollercoaster ride ahead.
Input Affects Output
As a freelancer, how hard you work will affect your ability to achieve and succeed. Generally, working from home is far less structured than working in an office. Not only are you slouching in loungewear instead of khakis and taking more coffee and social media breaks than you would in the workplace, as a freelancer you don’t have coworkers nearby to motivate you. Working solo requires a level of discipline to be genuinely successful. Making a work schedule and sticking to it will go a long way toward ensuring your success. Sure, as a freelancer you do have the flexibility to customize your hours, but that doesn’t mean waking up each morning without a plan. Make a plan, and make sure you are giving every hour of your work day your all.
Freelancers Are Professionals
As previously mentioned, wearing comfy clothes and setting up your work station on the couch may make it hard for you to view yourself as a professional. However, your clients on the other end of your freelancing contract expect professionalism, and it is your responsibility to deliver. Deadlines matter, and delivering on time, or even early, makes an impression. Check, double check, and triple check your work before submittal to ensure you are presenting the highest quality product. Respond to inquiries promptly, and keep the excuses to a minimum. Being a reliable source for clients provides repeat business.
Keep Track of Your Income
As a freelancer, you have to keep on top of the money coming in, and the money that needs to go out. Keep a schedule of jobs completed and how much you are owed. Just as you are expected to adhere to deadlines, you have the right to expect your clients to be equally as professional when it comes to compensation. Also, as a freelancer, you will need to deduct your taxes and plan throughout the year to ensure you have set aside enough money. Preparation is vital in the freelancing world.
You Are Your Best Advocate
While freelancers have portfolios and perhaps references willing to speak on their behalf, you have to be willing to promote yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you believe your work is worth, and don’t be afraid to promote your experience to secure the job. Your resume and work samples will speak for you, but you also have to be comfortable speaking for yourself. You know your worth, make sure everyone else does, as well.
As a freelancer, you may have a field of specialty. Don’t get comfortable in your knowledge. Be a lifelong learner, and don’t be afraid to educate yourself in new areas to ensure a broader base of potential jobs. The more you know, the more you can offer. Consider education a key component to your workload. When setting aside your work schedule each week, build in time for research and learning. Scheduling it will ensure you are keeping up with it. The bottom line is you need to believe in yourself, promote yourself, and make each job your number one priority. With discipline, you can make your freelancing dreams a reality, but knowing what you are up against will help you prepare for the specific challenges freelance employment presents.
About the Author:
Carol Kerber is a married mom with four kids who lives at a horse stable in Ballwin, Missouri. She pursued her undergraduate degree in English at the University of Missouri, and went on to get her teaching certification. She worked in both publishing and education before staying home to raise her kids.