Freelancing is a great way to have more freedom and flexibility in your work schedule. About 57 million people take freelancing jobs in the United States alone, with about 10 million regularly employed individuals considering taking up freelance jobs. Getting a freelance job might sound easy on paper, but you will be competing with this number, excluding the freelancers worldwide. Furthermore, it does come with some challenges that you need to be aware of. Here are six ways that you can keep your freelancer lifestyle going strong:
1. Be Flexible
Before accepting any job, you should always be prepared for the unexpected and know what outcome you want from each project. This will help you make better decisions about which projects to take on and how much time they require so that you don’t overcommit yourself or end up doing too many jobs at once. Not only that, but you should always be open to feedback and criticism since some tasks that your clients give you will require you to do things differently than what you originally intended.
2. Be Professional
Even if you’re working for free initially, never treat it as though it’s amateur hour. When working with people on projects where money isn’t an object, they tend to be more demanding and expect more from you. They’re also looking at your work to reference how much to charge their next freelancer, so you should mind how you present yourself and your work. Everything from your communication skills to the quality of your ideas influences what others think about you.
3. Be Current
Like regular jobs, freelancing evolves. The processes for the tasks you completed yesterday might be different tomorrow. As such, you’ll need to attend regular seminars from industry leaders, network with other freelancers and other professionals, and you can even sign up for online freelance coaching. This way, you’ll always be knowledgeable about the latest trends and practices in your field, and you’ll stay up-to-date with what’s going on now.
4. Be Realistic
Freelancing can be a tempting alternative to those who just lost their jobs, but it shouldn’t be your only choice as an employee. There is no set schedule working as a freelancer, and you’re only as good as your last project. There’s also the added pressure of marketing yourself and looking for clients, taking time away from doing actual work.
While it may seem like the best choice now, consider how much time and effort will be needed to make freelancing a success before making any decisions. In addition, manage your expectations about what freelancing can do for you by thinking about whether it will help you improve in the areas you’re looking for, such as getting a better job.
5. Be Desirable
In addition to all of this advice, there’s one more thing that’s important for increasing your marketability: you need to market yourself. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself through your social media accounts, create a website for potential clients to check out, and talk about what you do at networking events.
For example, write articles that can showcase your skills or speak at industry conferences. These are just some of the things that you can do—the possibilities are endless.
6. Be Polite
You’ll be communicating with your clients regularly, so it’s good to be polite and professional in correspondence. At the same time, you should try not to sound like a robot by using formal language and stiff words all the time. It helps to keep your sentences short and sweet when corresponding through email; this way, your messages are less likely to come across as cold or aggressive.
You also need to be patient with the client because some may not know how to express what they want from you. So try not to take things personally. Furthermore, don’t forget that even if there is a language barrier between you and your client, it doesn’t matter because what they’re saying can still be communicated regardless.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Stop Learning
If you aren’t learning something new, you’re not growing as a freelancer. And if you aren’t growing, then there’s no reason for clients to hire you. You can sign up for workshops or courses that will help give your skills an edge over other freelancers who are also looking for clients.
If you’re just starting, many affordable online courses relate to your interests and career. You can also connect with other freelancers in popular forums or community-based websites where they share helpful tips and tricks about their profession. Also, join a local meetup event in your area so you’ll have an opportunity to get in touch with other professionals.
These are the six ways (plus one bonus) you can increase your marketability as a freelancer. You need to be flexible, professional, realistic, polite, and always learning, as well as don’t be afraid to market yourself. By doing this, clients will likely notice that you’re passionate about what you do—and that’s something they’re sure to appreciate.