There are now millions of people working independently, as freelancers. If this is something that you’re interested in pursuing here are some handy tips to help you make it.
1. Have a Financial Cushion
Quite often if you’re moving into a freelance life it will take you some time to first be earning enough money and then to be earning well. That doesn’t happen to everybody but it certainly happens to many. You may need to buy yourself some time to get your business launched and it’s useful to have cash in reserve to give yourself that space.
2. Be Prepared to Be Resilient
You will need to be robust and resilient when you’re working as a freelancer. You’re working for yourself in the sense of looking after your earnings and your money, your accounting, your tax. At the same time you’re working for a customer or maybe multiple customers. You have to be resilient enough to deal with this new life.
3. Think It Through
You need to be pretty balanced as a human being to be a freelancer. How will you cope with feast and famine? What will it feel like when things aren’t going well? How supportive is your partner or spouse in this venture? All of these questions are fundamental to whether you have the right approach to your working life and whether you’re going to be OK with it.
4. Use Professional Advice
It is useful to pick good advisers. A key one will be an accountant, who will not just be looking after your bookkeeping and reporting but can also become a business mentor to you. That often happens with professionals in that field.
5. Invite Other Kinds of Advice
There may be other important advisors for you to consider embracing. They may be people known to you, who are not going to have a commercial relationship with you, but are important to turn to nonetheless. You can discuss how things are going with them.
6. Have a Clear Sales Message
To make it as freelancer you have to be really clear about what it is you’re selling. This is easier said than done for many. Some people go into freelance work selling a broad range of things, which is fine, but those who focus their attention on a smaller area may well find themselves more successful. There’s an old adage in selling that the narrower your focus the broader your appeal. Being clear about your service or product and its benefits and communicating that to your market in the right way for you is fundamental.
7. Continuously Improve Your Performance
How good are you at what it is you’re selling? If you are developing your business as a freelancer you may also spend the majority of your time as a deliverer. What do you do to make sure you’re better tomorrow than you were yesterday? What are the areas of your freelance activity that you need to invest in and nurture? It’s almost like a continuous professional development type of agenda that you work on.
8. Build Your Market Reputation
What about the market that you’re working in? How clear are you about building your market reputation in the areas that you believe are going to be most useful for you? The areas of the market you’re interested in should be clearly defined for you, so you can research that market, build your reputation, build your network and so on.
9. Plan Maturely
It is also useful for you to have a mature approach to planning. Whatever level of detail and sophistication you decide to give it, you want a plan. Having a plan is usually a good idea for the freelancer, whose life can be an uncertain one no matter how well things are going. For example, from a financial perspective you will want to carve out time to work out what your forward income looks like.
10. Choose Who to Partner Up With
Who are you going to work with? Will you be working in association or partnership with others and if so who are these people? Who are the associate groups you want to partner up with? In the modern age, to be a freelancer working completely independently is relatively unusual. Most times we work within groups and we have reciprocal arrangements for how we find and deliver work as freelancers.
11. Think About Who to Work Through
Quite often we find we are happy with the freelance life but we’re not particularly good at certain aspects, selling being an obvious one. We may want to build a relationship with an individual or organisation that can do for us the things we’re not so confident in doing, allowing us to focus on our strengths.
There are your tips for making it in the world of freelancing, a world where you have choice and control but you have to work to make it.