So what are the prerequisites for a successful freelancer? First, you need to realize that you will be working with multiple clients at the same time, some of which are more difficult than others. So, life as a freelancer is tough and you need effective skills like leadership, mediator and negotiation skills to manage multiple clients. You must also perform well under tight deadlines while having a “can do” attitude towards the project. Please do not confuse a “can do” attitude with an attitude of accepting any job. Sometimes you have to turn down or give up certain jobs because the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. So make a list and write down the pros and cons of each job to determine if it’s worth it.
Speaking of pros and cons, let’s see why anyone would bother being a freelancer. While there are many benefits to being a freelancer, perhaps the biggest is being your own boss. Stop assigning projects you don’t want; work for a boss you don’t like; must work with teammates you do not trust or respect; worry about people watching you. Plus, you enjoy the flexibility and freedom of freelance work because you can work from home. No more time and expense for commuting and the need for work clothes, shared cubicles and boring chats during work breaks. Moreover, you keep improving your skills, because as a freelancer you put on a lot of hats, just like any entrepreneur.
As with everything in life, good things come with them. Therefore, one should also be aware of the drawbacks associated with freelancing. For example, because you can work from home, being a freelancer is a very isolating job and it’s easy to be home alone for hours or even days working on projects. While most of your communication will be via email, phone, and fax, make sure you leave your home regularly to meet other people.
As we know, being your own boss can also be a nightmare for those who lack entrepreneurial spirit and talent, such as following up on projects, completing on time and managing invoices and collections. Freelancing is also nerve-wracking for many as it is not only difficult to predict profits, but also when the payments will actually come in, making it a rather volatile profession, especially if you are just starting out with limited jobs.
With that in mind, freelancing is not for the faint of heart. So if you are organized, work well under pressure and enjoy different tasks and projects, freelancing might be for you. Remember, unless you have the resources to hire someone else, you will have to take on all of the responsibilities related to freelancing.
So how can you increase your chances of success? As a successful freelance writer, I recommend the following:
- See your freelancer as a business.
- Read books about your freelance work and learn from your experience.
- Start part-time before deciding, based on your data and results, whether it’s worth working full-time.
- Take on projects that can help you build a customer base.
- Find someone who has been successful as a freelancer in your area to be your mentor.
- Identify your target audience and market your services using: website; online portfolio; ebooks; gifts; partnerships, business cards, internet and social media such as LinkedIn, Fiverr and Elance.
Constant efforts to find new customers: advertising and marketing efforts; referrals and referrals from contacts such as customers, family, friends, etc.
Finally, freelancing is serious business. Not only do you need to invest time and money, but you also need to develop quality marketing materials that reach your target audience. Before you decide to take the plunge, I highly recommend getting a part-time job to learn as much as you can while testing your marketing strategy. Once you have regular clients and a steady income, you can decide if it’s time to take the plunge and start working as a full-time freelancer.