The market of freelancers has been growing at a remarkable pace. The Wise Brand’s article on ‘State of the Freelance Nation’ stated that the freelancing business has shown an upward trend in recent years.
The growth in the number of freelancers has increased by 31% to reach a total of 5 million in 2018. As per the estimates of Simply Business data, freelancing jobs in the UK market alone contributed to around £275 billion of the UK’s economy.
Similarly, the US market also has a significant percentage of around 36% of the total freelance workforce.
With the traditional 9 to 5 office work model collapsing, more and more people are constantly looking for flexible business opportunities that can help them maintain a healthy work-life balance.
The growing popularity of freelancing in addition to the comparatively lesser entry-restrictions has made it easier for digital nomads to work remotely from any part of the world.
However, with the growing competition, many freelancers find it difficult to establish a long-term and rewarding career.
If you too find freelancing challenging, then here are some tips which will help you create a sustainable career out of freelancing:
One of the most important aspects for starting a freelancing career is to inform people, businesses and brands about your skills and services. So, make sure that you focus on publicizing yourself.
Self-promotion is a trick you must master to reach out to your prospective clients. Do not miss any opportunity to promote yourself, your expertise and services.
For example, you can start networking by participating in meetings or seminars relevant to your niche. Additionally, being active on social media platforms, attending online seminars and responding to website forums and discussions will also help you get noticed.
Furthermore, building a website or an online portfolio which showcases your work and advised people about the services you provide and the sectors in which you specialize will also make it easier for prospective clients to know about your services.
Adding a brief introduction about yourself and your interests will give your website a human touch. You can also create a FAQ page to address queries of prospective clients and website visitors.
While making a digital presence, ensure that you accurately mention your contact details like a valid email address where people can reach you.
To make any freelancing business sustainable, you must focus on developing a specialization. Building specialization helps develop a sense of trust within the potential clients.
This will also help you improve your prospects of getting quality and repetitive work from some of the best clients. Moreover, it is a lot easier to sell your services when you project your exact expertise and forte.
For instance, a researcher focusing on economics-related projects is likely to generate more projects than a researcher with generalized specialization and universal skill set.
Thus, focus on your specialization and always continue to develop your skillset in a direction. This will make you come across as an expert and will help you stand out from the competition.
One important thing which most of the new freelancers ignore is that potential clients look for a realistic approach in a freelancer.
Whether it is the money you demand in return for your services or the number of days you take to complete a project, being realistic will help you in the long run.
Although, in the beginning, it might be difficult to guess the actual time and effort required for the fulfilment of a project and you might quote an impractical deadline and cost estimate.
However, with a little bit of research and proper assessment, you will be able to conceptualize your projects better in terms of cost and effort.
With a realistic approach, you will also be able to better assist your clients in fixing up the budget and project deadlines for long-term or multiple projects.
Being truthful and clearly communicating the scope of the project with your clients will also reflect your good business ethics.
Many clients do not hesitate to pay slightly higher rates to freelancers that are honest and demonstrate their abilities to deliver good quality and timely results.
Another important aspect of freelancing is to develop a process of your work. Though the methods, scenarios will vary from client to client, a systematic process should be established to articulate your thoughts regarding the project, before delving deep into freelancing.
Several freelancers who swap their jobs to take full control of their career often get overwhelmed with short-term wins and get caught up in looking for shortcuts.
Instead of looking for shortcuts that will prematurely push you out of the freelance business, look for a long-term career path that you know you are passionate about.
Every client you work with and every project you concentrate on will take you one step towards building a sustainable freelance career. Although not all clients will be easy to deal with, as you gain some experience you will be able to define your ideal clients.
Once you know your ideal clients, you can build a reputation and consistently provide services with a professional approach. Moreover, freelancing is a career that needs a strong commitment.
So, develop your work process and be committed to establishing a completely dependable and secure career.
Building relationships and reputation can significantly improve the number of potential projects and clients.
Build a rapport with your clients and simultaneously ask them for feedback, testimonials and referrals. Positive feedback will make you more confident about your work and negative feedback will help you address any loopholes in your work process.
Testimonials and referrals will also boost visibility in professional networks and freelance websites and will work as professional proof of the quality of your work. This will also help you in building a sustainable clientele in the long run.
With all these tips in mind, anybody can master the art of freelancing. As the number of your clients and projects grow, your chances of establishing a sustainable freelancing career will grow.
Ellie Richards is an Online Marketing Manager for SEO Outreach agency Outreach Lab. She specialises in research, content and article writing on various topics, including Education, Marketing, and Technology.
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