What do you think when you hear that word?
Do you ponder what it would be like to be your own boss? Do you see the group of clients your company currently uses on a contract basis? Or do you think of your own business that you run from your apartment?
Freelance, by definition, means “working for different companies at different times rather than being permanently employed by one company”. Quite simply, being a freelancer means doing work that you want to do, when you want to do it, how you want it done, and for whom you want to do it for.
Traditionally, the freelance world is home to many creative types with a vast array of skills. I personally got involved with this line of work because of my ability to write compelling marketing pieces and talent when it comes to managing social media profiles.
While I fell into this self-employed route by accident, I think it is important to constantly be learning and growing as a freelancer. As my portfolio grows, so does my knowledge of this crazy business. Here are five basic facts that I have learned so far in my freelance career.
1. Connection is Vital
You set up a LinkedIn account a few years ago, but haven’t really done anything with it since. Well, it’s time to log back in because if you are working freelance, no tool is greater than this professional social networking site. LinkedIn allows for you to have a platform to showcase your current work, gain inspiration, and most importantly, reach out to potential clients. You never know who might be in need of your skills, so start putting yourself out there and watch your opportunities grow.
2. Less Turnaround Time Equals More Work
As a freelancer, you have the ability to tell people how long it takes for you to complete your work, and when they can expect the finished product. Yes, you can take two weeks to write one article, but if you continuously turn in posts quickly and ahead of schedule, chances are your clients will be impressed to the point of sending you more work, and even better, great recommendations.
3. Job Sites Are Not Your Friend
You can Google “freelance gigs” all you want, but wading through the results is the equivalent of searching for a needle in a haystack. Most freelance jobs posted online are either scams, or don’t pay nearly what you deserve. These jobs can be helpful in building a portfolio, but most worthwhile gigs will be found through networking and personal interactions.
4. Give Yourself Credit
The sad reality is that a lot of people are not willing to pay freelance artists and creators what they deserve. Many people find it acceptable to pay a few cents a word, or worse, expect all sorts of creative work to be done for free. Be confident in your ability as an independent business, and always charge what is fair for your product. This will help you to not only attract quality work, but also to gain the respect that you are worthy of.
5. No Days Off
When it comes to life as a freelancer, there are no days off. Yes, weekends exist, but in order to be successful, you need to be in the game and working hard every single chance that you get. Make a point of always publishing a new post on your personal blog each Sunday, or catching up with old colleagues Saturday before dinner. When people see that you are taking your work seriously, they will notice the effort and want to hire you.
Whether you are writing about which cat breed is the best, or creating graphics for a lawyer’s twitter account, remember to always be on the lookout for new opportunities to showcase your work, and take pride in what you create. Being a freelancer can be tough, but the limits of growing and being successful are endless.
Find my portfolio of freelance creative work here.