You can probably remember the very moment you decided to go freelance.
Perhaps it was after a particularly rough day at work; your boss was hovering over you, micromanaging you to the point where you wondered why they even bothered hiring you in the first place.
Or maybe it was in the midst of a particularly nightmarish commute. You had spent over an hour in the nose to tail traffic; sweaty and irritated in your work clothes and got to thinking that there must be a better way to earn a crust.
Or maybe you were made redundant.
You realized that there was really no such thing as job security and you decided that you were going to take your career and your livelihood in your own hands and turn your talents to the world of freelancing.
When you were first thinking of making the leap into full time freelancing its more than likely that you read a plethora of business blogs on the subject.
There’s no shortage of information in the digital realm written by freelancers or former freelancers who want to help empower former wage slaves looking to make a living for themselves on their own terms.
Getting your first gig and making the transition to freelancing represent some fairly well-trodden ground in the blogging world.
But once you’ve established yourself as a presence, gained a decent portfolio of work you’re proud to put your name to, built up a healthy client base and made it through your first year the wealth of information out there has a habit of drying up.
Thus, we’ve prepared this guide to your second year of freelancing to help you to navigate the subtly different challenges you’ll face and help you to start planning for growth and greater profitability.
Less work, more money.
When starting out in any career, you can expect to find yourself doing more work (or at least more legwork) for less money than your higher ups.
This is also somewhat true in the world of freelancing.
As a new and relatively unknown commodity, you will more than likely be working with clients who have relatively low budgets and are willing to take a risk with an up and coming freelancer. But now that you’re established, you should be looking for ways to make more money by doing less (and better) work.
This means that you can’t afford to rest on your laurels. And as comfortable as it may be to get stuck in your working habits, you should now be taking steps to improve your skills, refine your methods and set your sights on bigger clients who will be prepared to pay you more.
Rethink your processes. Always!
Time efficiency and productivity can make or break a freelancer.
Time is money when you work for yourself and the less time you spend on administrative processes like invoicing, and AP the more time you can spend earning money.
Any freelancer worth their salt should be able to step outside themselves and take a look at their process, both in terms of the work they produce and the administrative side of managing their business.
If you’re able to increase your output without dedicating more time to your enterprise, that’s great. If you are able to streamline your processes even further by automating your administrative processes such as outbound client emails or invoice workflow so much the better.
The most successful businesses are constantly looking for new ways to make their processes more efficient and yours should be no exception.
Don’t get over-reliant on the same clients
You likely have clients who are your bread and butter. If you’re very lucky, they may be giving you so much work that you’ve never had to hustle for new clients.
This is great but the sad reality is that businesses go bust all the time.
Even more frequently they face economic crises and non-essentials like outbound services are usually among the first to go.
Thus, it behooves you to always keep an eye out for new clientele. Moreover, hustling for business is a skill that can atrophy and harm your chances of securing more work if not honed.
Don’t take their continued business for granted.
Many freelancers would kill for more regular and reliable clients, so if you have some on your books, the worst thing you can do is take them for granted.
They won’t tell you about it, but there’s always a chance that they might be on the lookout for someone who can do what you do to the same standard or even for free.
Thus, it’s imperative not only to maintain good relationships with your clients but to build value into what you do for them.
Offer them seasonal discounts or promotional rates. Or simply do a little homework and put together a presentation to show how their investment in you is paying off.
Maintain your online and social media presence.
If someone tells you that you need to spend more time and effort maintaining your online presence your response may well be “But I’m too busy working!”.
While it’s great that you’re busy, you can’t always guarantee that your enterprise will continue to be this busy unless you take steps to improve your sell to cold leads.
Thus, a website or an online portfolio of work are essential to establish you as a marketable commodity.
Check out How to Start a Profitable Blog
Not only can these marketing tools showcase your skills, they can also be a mouthpiece through which you view your views, experiences and reflections through video posts and blog entries.
This will give clients an insight into your personality and establish you as somebody who would be a pleasure to do business with. Just make sure that you present yourself the right way on your social media.
If you make no distinction between your personal and freelancing accounts, you’ll have to behave yourself to appear presentable to prospective clients.
Your first year of freelancing is extremely important, but it’s in your second that you can really lay the foundations for increased growth and prosperity.