Being in work for yourself as a freelancer can mean you decide when to work and when to play. And that's something most people do not have; the freedom to decide not to work or to work.
However no matter how appealing freelancing might look it's most times real hard work and could even be harder work than a 9 to 5 job. If you however plot your strategy, do stellar work and build a reputation freelancing can become an enjoyable way to live your life as your own boss taking vacations when you wish.
Here are some tips to help you become good as a freelancer earning decent income.
Starting With the Right Idea
Freelancers always earn money doing something they are good at and possibly love doing. Almost any skill valuable enough for others to want to pay for it can be turned into freelance work; photography, writing, web and mobile development/programming, web design, editing, graphics design, public speaking etc. The list goes on with your imagination.
Starting a freelance gig must start with rendering a service in an area of strength in return for money. You will have to decide what exactly you are going to be freelancing on.
Think of the Market
Not everything you are good at or love doing has the right market to sell to. There has to be a problem you are solving with a big enough market of prospects willing to pay for the solution or services you offer.
Find out who your target market is and where. That way your promotional activities can be better focused.
Take Your Reputation Seriously
If you are going to do freelancing online you should know the growing importance of online reputation. How you are perceived will have a reasonable influence on your success as a freelancer.
Become an authority or a very good source of information on your freelance area. If for instance you are a freelance web marketer you really need to put in the effort to learn all you possibly can about web marketing and be ever ready to share your knowledge in online forums and platforms.
Answering questions from other people in relevant forums and producing useful content focused on important issues in your area of expertise will project you more and help you build the kind of reputation that will be easy to monetise. Build your reputation by sharing knowledge, helping out and providing valuable answers.
Discipline and Staying on Track
If you have ever worked for yourself you would know that one of the greatest challenges is that of discipline. It is much difficult to keep yourself on track and avoid non-work related distractions when you have no boss breathing down your neck and dictating your work time/schedule.
As a freelancer it falls on you to set your work timetable and keep to it. To succeed as a freelancer in anything you have to put in the hours and work hard enough. There is simply no short cut to successful freelancing; let nobody tell you otherwise.
When it comes to time management forget all you were told. Time management for a freelancer isn't different from time management for a CEO of a medium sized company. Effective time management is devoid of fancy, confusing strategies. Effective time management is kick-ass simple and unattractive and to become a good freelancer pulling in top dollar (or Naira if you wish) you have to manage time effectively and be highly productive.
Learn the Art of Self Promotion and Branding
As a freelancer you are your own brand and a bit of self promotion doesn't hurt. You must learn the art of promotion. Freelancers who have succeeded in setting themselves apart from others in their field earn top dollar.
Join relevant forums and contribute meaningfully. Team up with others in symbiotic joint ventures and enhance your profile.
Build and Expand Your Lead Funnel
To succeed as a freelancer you must have a way of constantly feeding your funnel of prospects. The more automated this funnel is the better. This means you must have channels where your work will attract potential customers/clients. From your lead funnel you convert a few to customers.
Keep Your Clients Happy and Coming Back
You need not be schooled on the importance of stellar, quality work as a freelancer. If you give people the best possible quality of work as a freelancer you can be sure to have enough referrals to grow your freelancing income.
If you can keep clients happy and satisfied as a freelancer and always actively request referrals you may not need to spend money on expensive marketing to get as much work as you can handle.