5 Skills Freelancers Need to Be Successful
Freelancing is becoming more and more popular, but you'll need to learn a few tips to be successful!
Remote work has been all the rage these days when even people originally not interested in it have been forced to give it a try. Some of them have realized its benefits, hoping to resume the practice once the lockdown has been abolished for good.
The majority of issues people unused to this lifestyle had since been addressed efficiently, given that the great majority of them deal with physical space.
But, here’s a question: do you think you could turn freelance and never look back?
Freelancing Is Here to Stay
Actually, the gig economy has been thriving and is predicted to resume growing for a long time to come. The main reason for this is that freelancing is sustainable for both the workers and the employers. Just think about the costs of renting space, and you need no additional costs to get the bigger picture.
It’s true that freelancers need to make additional investments in the devices they use, but these are not really considerably more expensive than what these people would normally do - even if it wasn’t job-related.
The main feature of a good freelancer is - continual improvement. The same can be said for office workers, too. An employee who keeps learning is an invaluable asset.
With the range of online courses now available to everyone - some of which are designed by top universities - everyone can enroll from the comfort of their home and manage their time as it best suits them.
1. Schedule Up!
Freelancing can be both enjoyable and lucrative, but not everyone learns the ropes. The first misconception about freelancers is that they’re spoiled procrastinators. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Relying solely on yourself as opposed to paid time off and company-provided health insurance is hard work. Lots of hard work, more precisely, and especially in the beginning.
Many new freelancers often make the mistake of confusing additional free time with enough time for everything. It is not rare for people to leave important tasks for later only to find out they need more time.
The most important thing to learn about freelancing is that it’s all about competition. As opposed to office workers who only have to maintain their daily duties once they’re hired, freelancers need to continually find new projects to ensure a steady inflow of money.
If you don’t have a couple of regular clients, this can be a difficult task indeed. Moreover, even if you do, there are other professionals out there. Shortly put, you always need to deliver and that is not achieved by leaving tasks for later.
Drafting a daily schedule is, hence, highly recommended. Learn to prioritize and allocate enough time for every task.
2. Work and Travel
There’s a whole new trend in freelancing called digital nomadism. Many people prefer to work while traveling, and freelancing gives them the opportunity to do exactly that. However, having high expectations is not the way to go about it. In many cases, freelancers establish themselves in one place for a while until they have accumulated sufficient resources and obtained a steady inflow of projects/clients to ensure they’ll be able to travel on their own terms and not end up stuck somewhere in the wide world without enough money or an idea how to proceed.
Being intelligent is a cherished quality, but a freelancer’s mindset also needs to be flexible.
3. Adjust to Any Circumstance
Notably, the most difficult thing to learn (but absolutely necessary) is to train your brain to be able to adjust to any unexpected circumstances. This is especially important when it comes to digital nomads, as there will always be some regulation or similar they aren’t familiar with.
If you’re planning to work and travel, we suggest you connect with the local expat community ASAP. Not only do these people know their way around, but they can also recommend the best and cheapest services you just might need at one point or another.
4. Don’t Settle for Just Any Job
No matter how desperate your situation may appear (and sometimes these things are bound to happen), never underestimate yourself or compromise on your values and rates. As mentioned above, freelancers face tough competition, but the main thing to learn here is that not all of their competitors are qualified.
Namely, there are many people looking for online jobs, not because they have some grand life plans, but because the situation in their respective countries is desperate. Hence, these people will lower the cost of work because they will settle for lower sums of money.
Remember that, if you’re a professional, you shouldn’t allow this practice to affect you. If you don’t value your virtues, don’t expect others to do so.
Instead of settling for compromises, make an effort to advertise yourself and market your skills so that clients will come to you rather than the other way around.
5. Master the Art of Negotiation
It is not enough just to keep the clients coming. If you don’t know how to negotiate efficiently, you just may miss the finest of opportunities. Remember that freelancers are a one-man show. They advertise their services, perform their tasks, and proofread and double-check everything. Similarly, they have no hired sales personnel to negotiate the deals for them.
Learning to negotiate is a continual process that adjusts, depending on the target client. On top of the traditional negotiation skills, you’ll also need to learn to be culture sensitive. People from different countries prefer different approaches and look for different sets of values, so always make an effort to inform yourself about the client beforehand and adjust your approach accordingly.
However, there are some differences between traditional and online negotiation. For starters, the latter usually starts with written communication, meaning that the client won’t be able to see you and make the first impression the regular way. By extension, this means there is no non-verbal communication to help you make a grand impression, so it’s best to learn netiquette.
Freelancing is great and offers a range of opportunities, but it’s hard work, nonetheless. You will need to build your self-confidence, keep informed about the developments in the field, be tech-savvy, and master the art of negotiation.
Be clever in your decisions and don’t compromise on your values. The best of projects come to people who are persistent, honest and realistic. It’s okay to start small and grow bigger gradually on your own terms.
Angela Ash is a writer at heart, focusing on numerous topics related to business, productivity, mental health, travel and more. But, she also loves to edit, is addicted to HARO, and somehow finds time to write poetry and play the piano.