So you want to join the ranks of freelancers, do you? Before you make this fateful decision, it would be a good idea to understand what you’re getting yourself into, though. Too many would-be freelancers have decided to take the freelancing plunge only to discover that it was too much for them to handle. Don’t be one of those!
That’s why we’ve put together this handy and helpful blog post. Curious, budding freelancers need to have at least some idea of what they’re getting themselves into…before they find themselves unprepared to succeed once they take the plunge.
Here are the five things to know prior to becoming a freelancer.
1. Pick Your Niche
In freelancing, your niche is in what you specialize. If you’re a writer, it may be copywriting, which is writing ads and marketing materials for companies. If you’re a web designer, maybe your niche is parallax scrolling or designing sites optimally to have the highest conversion rate possible.
Whatever you decide your niche is, that’s how you’re going to make yourself stand out from the rest of the pack of freelancers against whom you’re competing. That’s how you’re going to be able to market yourself to your prospective clients as better than everyone else. And that’s going to be your strong selling point.
2. You’ll Have to Like Working Alone
See, the thing about freelancing is that…you’ll have no coworkers at all. You’re going to be by yourself and working independently all of the time, right from your own home. If you enjoy the quiet and solitude of this environment that can really focus your thoughts and direct you to more efficiency, then you’ll adapt easily.
If you’d rather have coworkers with whom you can talk during the day, then this arrangement may not be the best for you by any means. But hey—cheer up. You can always beat the loneliness that may arise from working alone!
3. Being Diplomatic When Dealing With Clients
Your clients are going to be your bread and butter during your freelance years, meaning you’ll have to learn exactly how to treat them. You’re going to have to rely on the finer points of superb customer service to keep them coming back to you.
You have to bring your A game when you deal with your clients because there’s no room for error. Even when they’re being difficult or unreasonable to you, it’s no excuse to tear into them! That’s the best way to become a pariah. Instead, look at your clients as your source of income, so always treat them with tolerance and patience.
4. Negotiations Are a Must
Mastering the finer points of successful negotiations is also something for which you’ll have to aim. Negotiations are necessary when you want to ask for things like raises or project terms that are more favorable to you. You see, if you have a regular job, then you’d get yearly raises (assuming you do a good job), but in the freelancing world, that’s not a certainty.
That’s why you have to learn to negotiate for your raises. It’s fine to start with low rates from clients, yet as you get a better reputation and a more impressive portfolio, understand that you have the right to ask for raises to reflect your increasing abilities.
5. Your Busyness Will Ebb and Flow
How busy you are will go up and down during your freelance career, as your workload will depend on how many clients you have and how well you’ve engaged them. Know this: You’ll always have to work on maintaining relationships with your clients, so that they keep throwing you more projects and work.
While it’s easy for hungry freelancers to do this at the beginning, at a certain point, complacency will set in, making you less likely to keep nurturing those relationships. Fight the temptation to stop communicating with your clients, even when you’re busy with new projects!
The Five Golden Rules of Freelancing
Know that you know these extremely important things, you have a much better idea of whether to take the freelancing plunge or not. To become a successful freelancer, you’ll have to make sure that you can handle all of these five realities, even though some of them may be hard to swallow, at first.
By realizing that freelancing is quite like nothing you’ve ever tried before, career-wise, you’ll be more open to adopting these changes in your work life. The sooner you get really good at these things, the faster you’ll enjoy freelancing and net a bigger and growing client base.