So, you are reading this post because you want to become a freelancer. You have given a thought on what you want to freelance in, have acquired couple of important email contacts and even bought yourself some cool shorts that look great with your slippers.
So, you are all set to dump your 9-to-5 job and get cracking on your first freelance project? “Wrong!!!” One of the biggest myth about freelancing is that you sit at home and freelance projects come to you but the truth is that you have to fight hard for it.
According to Upwork and the Freelancers Union’s Freelancing in America: 2016 report, more than one-third of US citizens( approximately 55 million people) are freelancing and the number is anticipated to multiply by a great factor in the next few years. With so many freelancers out there for every job, succeeding as a freelancer is not a cakewalk. The global freelance economy is evolving at a rapid pace as increasing number of employees opt to leave full-time jobs and pursue freelancing because of the flexibility, freedom, and financial independence. With the continuously fluctuating job market, youngsters have started making the best out of the global job market and the internet economy. Many people today prefer to work from home, work remotely or become freelancers, job possibilities that only the earlier generation could dream about. The autonomous lifestyle of a freelancer is fascinating and adventurous, but it is not without its challenges.
Here are some tips that might appear as common sense but will definitely help you on your freelancing journey by giving you a gentle reminder on how to refine your work process. I hope these tips will help you pick up some great value, regardless of, where you are at with your freelance career.
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1) Every Freelancer Must Have a Contract and Statement of Work
As a freelancer, it is extremely important for you to understand how essential it is to have a contract for the project place along with another document “Statement of Work” which mentions what exactly you are going to do for the client. Having a contract will protect you and also give you guidelines on how to do the job. On the other hand, the statement of work will set expectations with the client so that they know what they are going to get, the time’s scales of the deliverables, the resources needed, and any other additional information. A contract will help set out the terms and conditions between the freelancer and the clients (It’s the “How”) while a statement of work will actually help the freelancer set out the tasks that they are going to complete as a part of the contract (It’s the “What”).
2) Always ask for a Down Payment
Freelancers often complain about not getting paid on time or getting stiffed by the client. To ensure that you are successful and never experience this, it is always suggested that you ask for upfront payment before starting the project. Make it very clear to the client in your contract agreement and also during your initial discussions that you would not officially get started with the project unless 50% or whatsoever amount agreed in the agreed has been paid. If the client has an issue with this, he would show his concern by raising a red flag. Asking for a down payment will ensure that your money is not at risk. You can even mention that you would send the deliverables to the client after the final 50% payment is made, this guarantees that you will never be ripped off by any client.
3) Create a Personal Website/Blog to Build Your Brand
As a freelancer, YOU ARE YOUR BRAND. Regardless of whether you are a UX designer, Content Writer, Web Developer, SEO Consultant or a marketer, you need to sell yourself and your services. It is impossible to market yourself without first building an attractive and user-friendly blog or website. Creating a website or blog of your own will help you market yourself to more clients and also serves as the public face of your freelance business. Put up your work portfolios on there (in particular the projects you are specialized in) and establish yourself as an expert in the field of your choice.
4) Always Look for Multiple Income Sources
It is a known fact that freelance work has ups and downs. To maintain steady income flow as a freelancer, it is important that you broaden your client base. Work with multiple clients of diverse sizes, so that you can protect your pocketbook in case of revenue from one or the other client dries up. Moreover, connecting with multiple clients across diverse domains will help you gain expertise in the novel and potentially rewarding business domains. This is extremely important if you wish to grow your freelance business in the long run.
5) The Secret to Success as a Freelancer – Follow the CSD Mantra (Contacts, Skills, and Dedication)
Contacts: Having good contacts helps a lot to grow and nurture your freelance business. It is often advisable to maintain good relationships with previous clients as they can help you build a robust contact list for your future freelance projects.
Skills: With cut-throat competition among the freelancers, one needs to be best out of the rest as clients have ample of freelancers to choose from. Always upgrade your skills through various means by enrolling for new courses, reading latest happening in the concerned industry, attending industry related seminars/events and remain active on relevant groups on social media and other related forums.
Dedication: Dedicate specific timing for work and deliver it to the client as promised. Going out for a movie leaving our work incomplete is a sign that you are not a dedicated freelancer. Having submitted a project, always be open to feedback and make changes to it if the client wants something different. This shows that you are committed and dedicated towards your work and not just out for making money.
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“The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself. – Peter Diamandis”
Wishing you sheer success as a freelancer.
This article is written by Khushbu Shah. She has been working as a Technical Content Writer with DeZyre, an e-learning company that offers following technology courses- Hadoop Training, Apache Spark Training, NoSQL Training, Data Science Training, and Machine Learning Training. Her content is always packed with data and real-life examples that one can put straight into action.