Freelancing has become quite a thing in the last 5 years, with the number of freelancers only increasing by the day. People started valuing their freedom more-so than being part of a team that works in an office. You get to work from home and customize your home office the way you see fit, but also be flexible about your work hours, as well as being your own boss when it comes to the projects that you want to take.
However, as with anything in life, with certain benefits come risks as well. From getting too comfortable about the time you’ll need for a project, to not being paid for your work. In this article, we’ll show you just what you’ll need to become a better freelancer and make a living out of it.
Learn to Decline a Project
The big part about being a successful freelancer is knowing what you can and can’t do. Every once in awhile you’ll get an opportunity to work on a project that’s either beyond your skillset, or just takes too much of your time compared to the payment you’ll receive. In these situations, it’s often better to decline a project, even if you’re not overbooked at the time. Projects like these can also bring you a lot of unwanted stress, which is one of the fastest ways towards giving up on freelancing.
This isn’t to say that you should decline just about everything. Sometimes you can learn a lot on a project, or you’ll have to do a project because the client is too important for your finances and you don’t want to risk losing them. It’s also worth mentioning that it matters how you turn down a project.
Always Backup Your Work
When you’re employed by a big company, they have the responsibility to backup anything that needs to be preserved during a project development. As a freelancer, however, the responsibility lies solely on you to do this. If you lose your work for any reason your clients probably won’t care and will demand that you deliver in due time anyway, which will create huge pressure on you. Not only will you lose productivity, but your reputation as a freelancer might suffer, and that’s the one thing you can’t do without. So always make sure you backup your work, preferably on an offline device.
Create a Productive Home Office
Too often freelancers get comfortable about the work they do and fail to take it seriously enough. Remember, this is a job and it’s supposed to make you money. So first step should always be to have a home office inside your home. Sure, it can be customized the way you always dreamed of, but it should still be an office – which means you won’t be distracted while you’re working. There are various things you can include to help you be more productive, to name just a few:
- A Professional Desk – A good desk is important for any freelancer, it’s a shrine of sorts to most.
- High-End Computer – This is an obvious one, whatever you’re doing you’ll want your computer to be able to handle any task that comes your way.
- Plants – Plants filter the air but also help you lower the stress. Here are some of the best plants for your office.
- Accessories – Things like stickers, brochure holders, or coffee cup holders are always useful
Narrow Down Your Field of Expertise
Most freelance amateurs sign up on one of the freelancing platforms and immediately start piling up the stuff they’re good at. This is wrong, no one trusts a person to be good at two different things, let alone more. The more you narrow down your niche the more reliable you’ll look to your potential clients. Sure, you will also narrow down the potential client list, but trust me when I tell you that you’ll have a way better chance of getting an offer for a job.
If you’re a writer and you claim that you’re good at content writing, copywriting and film reviews, it’s difficult to me (as a client) to see you as reliable as a freelance writer who only dwells in the film industry.
Freelancing can be very enjoyable when compared to being an employee, but it also carries certain risks that you’ll have to deal with if you’re to succeed. Building up your reputation and portfolio is imperative and it may take some time before people start standing in line to hire you, but if you invest enough time and effort in it you’ll succeed no matter what. It’s good to have your success in your own hands, so go on and use the chance.
*** This Guest Post was from Tony Solomon ***
Tony Solomon is former a LA-based translator turned writer.
Currently, he is one of the senior editors at MediaGurus.
Tony is well-versed in doing heavy research while striving to write high-quality content for the web.
If you want to stay updated with Tony’s latest posts, feel free to follow him on Twitter.