This is a guest post by Nancy Lin – a young freelance writer from Kansas City. She is constantly looking for new ways of becoming a more productive writer and shares best findings on her Twitter.
Just imagine: You start freelancing, walking away from the dungeon of your former workplace to make a fresh start. You start your freelance career and everything goes great, until…you begin to feel a little bit nervous when questions start to pop into your head: What if I won’t be able to complete all of these assignments and develop self-discipline? What if my time management skills are too weak to help me keep all the balls in the air? What if I have made the biggest mistake of my life leaving my former workplace and starting a freelance career?
You are not alone and we’re here to help you! Here’s a recipe for your future freelance success, containing 10 ways to enhance your productivity by taking baby steps in the right direction:
1. Fortitude is a Must.
Being a successful freelancer depends as much on fortitude as the skills you develop.
Startups tend to hire lots of freelancers, but also often have problems with cash-flow, which can quickly leave you without a job and wondering what happened. It has nothing to do with the quality of your work.
What’s the solution? Always remember these two things: First, don’t take it all personally, and second, diversify your activities. Create accounts on various websites for freelancers, work on different projects, spend at least 10 hours a week working on each of them and it won’t take long to see results!
2. Develop and Improve Your Reputation.
Freelancing is becoming more and more common, and you can make it your side gig or your full-time work. For achieving either one, you should develop a reputation to stand out from the crowd and land more clients.
Create a portfolio or blog containing your best projects and some testimonials from clients. Don’t take a chance of being accused of plagiarism. Instead, be sure to follow and improve your own style! You can check your texts for similarities using Unplag or detect plagiarism in pictures using Google Images. Finally, do not let anyone plagiarize you, as your style is your strength.
3. Promote Yourself – a Lot.
Tell all your friends you’re now freelancing and share this information on various social media platforms to market yourself as effectively as possible.
You can also ask your friends to share this news from their own accounts. That is how you can get your first clients, without much effort or time.
Create your own website and eye-catching logo so your clients and potential clients will know they’re dealing with a real professional.
4. Master Time Management Skills.
Time is one of the most valuable things when talking about the arrangement of your work schedule.
Just think for a minute: How often do you feel stressed out about not having enough time to get all your work done? To prevent such situations, you can use tools like TopTracker or RescueTime and stay calm even when you have a lot to do.
Related: 10 Proven Time Management Hacks
5. Write a Plan of Action.
Never give yourself a chance to undervalue time spent on hitting the target.
You should create a personal business plan containing your financial needs, purposes and milestones to achieve results.
You can also break up your plan into two parts: “To Do” list and “Done” list. This will help you evaluate your productivity and keep a balance between the tasks that are done and those that are still in progress.
Your business plan should be designed for a certain time period (30 days is ideal for freelancing). As soon as your first plan is fulfilled, it’s time to create a new one.
Related: Creating a Personal Development Plan
6. Learn To Say No.
If you are overwhelmed by the tasks from your current client, you should make a proper decision whether you can or cannot take on another task.
Be honest with yourself: It’s better to say “no” to potential clients but keep the quality of your work high than lose both new and existing clients because of having not enough time to meet their needs.
7. Don’t Forget to Take Notes.
Whether you use a typical notebook or a special app in your phone, you should always take notes.
Why? Because you can generate some valuable ideas while you are commuting or running errands.
Write them all down! Come home and organize your work using those spontaneous but essential ideas. Furthermore, taking notes can help you boost creativity and use your thoughts properly. You can also gather ideas on arranging your workspace to stay enthusiastic and inspired during work.
8. Develop a Pricing Strategy.
Depending on the quality you provide, consider which pricing strategy will correspond both to your skills and clients’ needs.
Try to study the market and analyze prices of your competitors. The price you suggest should not be too low or you won’t be able to meet your financial goals, and not so high that no one wants to hire you.
Furthermore, it’s essential to consider how many hours you are going to spend per week freelancing, and from there figure out what your charge rates need to be to hit your financial targets. This will help you create a strict pricing strategy and eventually even raise your prices.
9. Appreciate and Treat Your Customers Well.
Imagine that each customer is the only one you will ever be dealing with. What will you do to make this client want to come back and work with you over and over?
Try to be friendly and still focus on completing the client’s work as rapidly as possible.
You can suggest a discount or something extra both for new and standing customers. This will expand your customer base and ensure positive feedback!
10. Never Stop Learning.
We live in a world that is always rapidly changing, which means you need to stay up-to-date and always keep up with the latest tricks, techniques and updates, especially if you are a designer or programmer.
Stay hungry to gain new knowledge and ideas, stay targeted to push the boundaries and stay focused to do what you love.
Using the above tips will help you to succeed in your freelance career and get over any anxiety you may be feeling. May good success attend you on your career path.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
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