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01 October 2019
Freelancers learn some basic tips to remain on top of the league NOW
We all need to learn some basic steps to remain successful as freelancers. The digital world does make this easily possible. All one needs to do is take the necessary steps.
Though we may think this is extremely simple to do, we must know that like any domain, one must follow certain basic guidelines. Again, like everything else one needs to know what is required so that we know whether to get into this or not. This is certainly not impossible but doable. We share some basic tips we have learnt in our experience of training freelancers so that you succeed too.
The first thing we must realise is that we need to definitely create an identity of our own and then work accordingly. We need to be visible in all the domains relevant to us so that people come to us for their work. While this is very democratic, it is also very competitive so we need to maintain our quality too.
Quality plus following the following tips could definitely make us carve a digital identity and be successful freelancers. It is often said success does not come automatically. It comes with effort. Here, the right kind of effort and direction is also very important and relevant.
Do go through the following and follow them to the maximum extent possible,
01. Controlling our finances
We need to ensure we have adequate savings to fall back on in the event that our cash flow dries up, and educate ourself on the business staples of invoicing and chasing payments
Understanding pricing, copyright, contracts and so on is just as important as the creative work if we want to be successful and sustain our career in the long term.
All freelancers need help from – an accountant, ideally – or scour resources provided online, to make sure terms and conditions on contracts are in order.
02. Making contacts
Getting ourselves noticed is one of the most important tasks for newly minted freelancers. Asking personal contacts is the most natural place to start, and often the most effective. In this world, word of mouth sells more than anything else.
03. Managing time
Whatever your approach, set a clear list of achievable tasks every day and try to stick to it as much as possible within the standard working hours. You also need to be flexible and prioritise on a daily basis, as requirements and deadlines can move.
Here, one does need to keep deadlines in mind and work accordingly. In a sense, we are our own boss so we do need to work accordingly too.
04. Dealing with clients
As daunting as securing a commission might seem to freelancers starting out, it is the relationship that follows that can test your mettle most. Clients are clients, whether one is a company or an individual. This must be kept in mind and applied accordingly. We know everyone is different and we do need to show respect, manage expectations, be able to hand-hold and know when to push back against unreasonable or creatively unsound demands.
Most of the time, misunderstandings take place due to lack of understanding. This is exactly what one should guard against always. For this, clarity and completeness is important is important while beginning itself.
Outlining what a client gets for the fee one quotes can be helpful. One must outline how many concepts you will provide and how many amends they can make. Sometimes things need to be more flexible than this, but we need to start this conversation at the beginning, for it saves all sorts of hassles and misunderstandings.
05. Managing money
Dealing with the legal and financial requirements is one of the more overwhelming facets of self-employment. This however is important and needs to be always kept in mind. Ultimately, this after all is the purpose of our working itself, to a large extent. This should indeed become part of one’s manner of working.
06. Setting our rates
Setting a pricing is one of the most difficult and yet important aspects of freelancing. As we work on more and more of these jobs you begin to get a sense of what the going rate is and can set our own fees accordingly. We should not keep it too low for it to look cheap but not too high to make it unaffordable.
07. Knowing when to say no
If we feel you might have to compromise on quality by taking on too much work, it's time to turn down a job.
This needs to be evaluated before one begins.
08. Avoiding the pitfalls
The biggest danger, according to many freelance veterans, is selling ourself too cheaply. It's important to understand early on that the fee you receive also needs to cover your business expenses and tax, and you need to price your services accordingly. We must value our time for only then, others will also do the same.
09. Avoiding burnout
Taking a break seems to be one of the hardest things to do when you're a freelancer. As we know that holiday is unpaid, notions of work-life balance go out of the window. Not being able to say "no" means work can encroach on evenings and weekends, and before you know it you have been working five years straight without a break. This is not healthy at all.
10. Finding an ideal workspace
Whether it's the kitchen table, the back bedroom, a shared studio space or a rented office, a workspace preference usually depends on the individual and their disposition. Is a day without human interaction anathema? Can we effectively separate home from work?
All this is equally applicable for all freelance word, be it graphics, content development or brand building.
Today’s word has made this very much possible and doable. The step however has to be taken by us.
The one requirement that is paramount here is passion to learn and then apply the lessons learnt.