Freelancing comes with some of the most extreme ups and downs of any job out there. Pro: you’re your own boss, you set your own hours, and you can work as much as you want. Con: no regular pay schedule, income varies, and you’re your own boss.
There are 58 million freelancers in the US today, and that number is only growing. We can make the freelance experience better, even as that section of the workforce grows.
Get More Done
Freelancers live and die by their productivity. If you can hustle hard, you can make great money and grow your reputation as a freelancer. Here’s a dirty little secret though- you don’t have to be a superhero to hustle hard. There are a ton of tools and resources to help you get more done every day.
Find Your Spot: Finding a place where you work best will help you create your best work. If you get distracted easily, a busy and loud coffeeshop is not the best place for you. Consider a coworking space where it’s quieter and all your needs are met: there’s parking, coffee, and enough outlets for you to do your best work.
Grow Your Tribe: Looking for a group of people who are in the same industry as you can be key. A strong network can provide emotional, professional and personal support to you on your freelancing journey. Join forces to host events, co-produce projects, or collaborate on a phenomenal piece of writing. Building a support network for yourself will make you feel less alone and help you create better work.
Automate What You Can: It’s 2017. You don’t have to do everything by hand anymore. You can automate tasks and utilize apps to do some of your work for you. Find a list of things to automate here.
Improve Client Experience: Getting things done is actually only part of the freelance equation. The other part? Keeping your clients happy. By being a top-notch employee you prove to your clients that you are worth your rate and that they should keep coming back.
Keep Clients Longer
In order to keep your clients coming back follow this simple formula- be consistent, be on-time, and be open to communication. Hear what they have to say when they give you feedback, and tailor your work to their needs. They’ve hired you to do a job, so give them what they want. Freelancers should never miss a deadline. If possible, get your work in early! That shows clients you prioritize their work and take the relationship seriously.
Find Dream Clients: Working with people that are aligned with your values is the dream. So where to find them? Firstly, eliminate areas that you know you don’t like. If you’re a freelance photographer who wants to photograph products, don’t spend your time curating a client list of parents who want photos of their kids.
Start With Your Network: Put the word out. Reach out to brands you want to work with, and build a portfolio of your own that emphasizes your product photography. Attend product launch events. Live in the world of the client you want, and you’ll find yourself coming into contact with the people you want to work with.
Solicit Feedback: No one is perfect. We all need to hear constructive criticism and feedback from our clients. A great way to get feedback is to design a short questionnaire for clients to fill out at the end of a project together. Ask specific questions, but also give clients space to share their own thoughts. Put a box at the end of your questionnaire that allows clients to say whatever they want, and be ready to hear it.