5 Tips to Get More From Your Freelance Career
Freelancing is one of the most rewarding and challenging roles you’ll ever take on in your life. Whether you work online, or you’re out pounding the pavement for clients, taking on freelance work or being a consultant has amazing rewards… and crushing drawbacks.
Here are some simple tips if you’re considering forging out into the world of freelance workers.
What Are You Worth?
One of the most fundamental errors that freelancers make is simply not knowing what their time and energy is worth. Some freelancers start with a simple “I need to make X dollars per hour”, without considering the realities of the market place.
To bring this down to basic economics, consider that you are only worth what demand will bear in relation to the market’s supply of your particular “unique” offering of skills and experience.
If the market is flooded with graphic designers who know Wordpress, and you’re a Wordpress template expert, you will need to either drop your prices or provide exceptional add-ons (in the form of quality, experience, or amazing service delivery) to put yourself at the top of the pack and win new clients.
By the same token, don’t undervalue yourself! If you happen to be at the forefront of Facebook marketing and you know there are precious few people with your experience, don’t charge bargain prices for your services.
The important thing is to do research on your area of expertise, and be informed as to what kind of supply and demand issues you’re facing.
Know Your Limit and Play Within It
Often freelancers are so caught up in the rush of finding their skills are in demand that they commit to more work than they can effectively or efficiently handle.
Effectiveness simply means “How much work can I do in the time frame allotted and keep the client happy?” Efficiency means “How many hours can I charge for and still make a reasonable profit relative to the hours I’ve invested in a project?”
Know how many hours you’re willing to put into your freelance career AND be realistic about how many hours each project will take you; never let the former exceed the latter.
Reduce Your Charity Cases
Every freelancer feels the need to give back at some point. Whether it’s taking on a job because the employer is an old friend, or it’s giving free advice because the potential client is really nice, or it’s simply accepting a job at cut-rate because you think it’s the right thing to do.
Philanthropy feels good and every business owner should engage in “actionable gratitude”, but don’t mix business with pleasure. Recognize that you’re effectively paying for the self-gratifying pleasure of working for reduced revenue, and work that cost into your profit margin.
Let Opportunities Pass You By
It’s a sickening feeling; waking up one morning and realizing that a proposal deadline that you weren’t even aware of at bedtime has passed you by in the night. Don’t stress about missed opportunities; create your own.
Freelancers are often caught up in the here-and-now of business; looking to see when the next big paycheck is going to come in, or the next high-profit customer is going to sign on. As a freelancer, look to the long term and be willing to let go of missed opportunities if the timing isn’t right for your business. Look to the future instead of wasting energy on worrying about the past.
Keep In Touch
Finally, the biggest tip for freelancers is simply to maximize your communication with clients. Hiring a freelancer is scary for employers; they’re putting all their eggs in your singular basket. Minimize that fear and build richer client relationships by having daily communication with your clients and giving regular, timely, and informational status reports on their projects.
Put these five simple principles into place for your business and watch your freelance career take off!