In a report by Upwork and Freelancers Union, it was revealed that 35 percent of American workers have left the “9 – 5” life to become a freelancer. In fact, this number is increasing and is expected to almost double in the next 4 years. So, if you are considering a freelancing lifestyle or are a veteran, here are some tips to help you succeed:
1. Always use a contract
This is one of the most common mistakes that those new to freelancing make. Be sure to use a contract for every client project. However, don’t get caught up searching for the perfect contract. It’s okay, to begin with, a template and improve on it along the way.
Having basic terms in the contract helps to protect you, while also informing the client the way you work.
2. Get a down payment from every client
A big issue heard by freelancers is not getting paid on time or the client stiffing them. To ensure you receive payment, require a down payment upfront of perhaps 50 percent before starting any work. Be sure to make this clear in any preliminary discussions as well as your contract.
It should raise a red flag if a client has an issue with this requirement. While there is a possibility this is the first time, they’ve contracted freelance services, your guard should still be raised. If the potential client refuses again, move on.
3. Do not be scared to say “no”
It can be difficult to say no. This is especially true if you are like some people who are generous and want others you work with to feel happy. You offer to help in any possible way as to not disappoint anyone, but you don’t realize the strenuous load it’ll place on you.
Remember this – you will disappoint someone, no matter what you do.
Whether it be your family because of the long hours you’ve been working, the client as you’re unable to deliver 50 percent through the project, you’re extremely stressed from the extra work you took on.
So, learn to get comfortable with saying “no”.
4. Focus your freelance business
Many freelancers are unable to find enough work and have a difficult time getting their name out there.
Make everything easier on you by focusing on your brand identity and the type of projects you take. From charging higher rates to marketing to actually delivering the work. Choose one or two services only and be sure to only take work that falls in one of the two categories. Everything else, turn down.
After making you’re your decision on what services to specialize in, this needs to translate into your own brand. Everything on your website should be reworded to those phrases and keywords, only display that type of work in your portfolio, and begin producing content around those two services as a testimony to your expertise.
5. Write, Write, Write
This tip is the most important – write. It does not matter if you believe you’re not a good writer; by writing, your name gets out there, and the client finds you.
Good writing comes with practice.
Take a few minutes and watch this video by Sean McCabe to learn why writing is important to your freelancing:
I’m sure after reading this post and watching the video, you’ll understand why writing is so important to your freelance.