Although self-employment has attracted many people for many years, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed it in the spotlight. As more sectors of the economy transition to remote functioning, freelancing becomes an attractive option for many. In 2020, self-employed individuals brought in $1.2 trillion, and every third person in the American job market engages in some form of self-employment.
An increasing number of freelancers are choosing to leave their traditional job positions and fully dedicate themselves to self-employment. Almost 40% of individuals are using their skills solely as freelancers, marking an 8% increase compared to the number of freelancers in 2019.
Professional Independence: Advantages and Fears of Freelancing
Independent professionals are drawn to the world of self-employment for various reasons. This lifestyle offers tremendous benefits, starting with independence. Those working on their own terms can operate when it suits them best. Night owls can work late into the night and afford themselves a longer sleep the next day. Similarly, early risers can tackle major projects with their first cup of coffee.
As the number of professionals taking on increased responsibilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as overseeing remote learning for children studying at home, this flexibility can significantly aid in maintaining a work-life balance. For many professionals, the opportunity to work from home or anywhere they feel comfortable is a major attraction.
Other professionals appreciate the potential for building stability for themselves. In the face of the need to adapt the workforce in response to the pandemic, the importance of stability has never been so pronounced. Through a freelance career, professionals can take on projects from various clients, potentially increasing stability as the loss of one client doesn’t mean a loss of the entire income.
Of course, building a freelance career can pose many challenges, which may make some individuals feel uncertain. They must find their own clients and compete with others for projects, consistently distinguishing themselves on every project they aim to acquire.
7 Tips to Succeed as a Freelancer
Build Your Online Presence
In today's world, many aspects of life happen in the virtual sphere. Companies advertise available job positions online, and clients seek freelancers on the web. Various platforms exist that facilitate the creation of portfolios showcasing your skills and expertise to potential clients in your field. For instance, on zlecenia-it.pl, professionals can create their personal pages, displaying their past achievements and allowing clients to browse available specialists matching their needs.
You can also build a strong online presence on many other platforms. Apart from creating a portfolio on zlecenia-it.pl, leveraging social media to showcase your independent professional activities is valuable. Develop your presence on LinkedIn, using it to connect with both close friends and past business partners.
Having a solid network can open doors to potential clients and new opportunities to showcase your professional experience. On LinkedIn, highlight your accomplishments and expertise while collecting reviews that contribute to building a positive professional image.
Define Your Specialization and Offerings
When clients are looking to hire a professional, they seek a freelancer experienced in their specific industry. While any copywriter can write about plumbing, the one who has written extensively on the topic has the background necessary to create higher-quality content and consequently is the individual companies want to hire for their marketing campaigns.
Consider the type of business you want to conduct. Reflect on where you have previously worked. Ponder over the experiences and expertise you possess and how they can shape and mold your self-employment career. Knowledge or specialization in specific fields, experience working with clients or companies in particular industries, and even certifications can make you an attractive professional.
If there are areas you wish to work in but lack formal experience or training, seeking certifications or educational experiences to add to your CV can also be beneficial.
Regularly Update Clients
While working on a project, it’s important to regularly update clients on progress. Always adhere to the guidelines agreed upon in the contract, determining when and what kind of updates the client can expect. For instance, according to the agreement, you might commit to informing them about achieving key project milestones.
If you notice any changes in the project, immediately inform the client. If there’s a need to adjust deadlines or other previously agreed-upon conditions, maintain transparent communication. Explain the reasons for the change and present a plan to manage it.
After delivering the project, continue open communication regarding the client’s satisfaction. As a professional freelancer, building relationships with clients and expanding your network is essential. Knowing how well you’ve met the client's expectations can contribute to building your positive image and reputation.
Set Competitive Rates and Adjust as Needed
For many new freelancers, it might be tempting to lower their rates at the start, thinking it will help build a client base. In reality, you want to price yourself competitively based on your qualifications.
Remember that clients want to work with professionals they can trust to manage a project confidently and with a high level of skill. Setting too low a price may limit potential clients' confidence in your abilities and set a low benchmark for your clients.
Instead, evaluate your professional experience and expertise in the industry. Consider the types of similar work you’ve done, the results you've achieved, and typical rates in your field. Price yourself fairly when bidding for projects or reaching out to clients. When determining an hourly rate, look at what others in your industry earn. If you need to set a project rate, calculate how many hours it will likely take to complete, including time for revisions or client communication.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Referrals
Once you have satisfied clients, don’t hesitate to ask for referrals. Tell your clients that you aim to build an exceptional business and if they know anyone in need of a freelancer, you're available. Recommendations from satisfied clients hold special value as they indicate their appreciation for your work.
You can also ask clients for written reviews. These reviews can be included in your portfolio, on the company website, or even on social platforms like LinkedIn. For any small business, solidifying the credibility of your brand can attract the attention of others seeking similar services.
Utilize Online Platforms to Find Clients
As self-employment grows across various industries, online platforms help connect freelancers and clients. An example of a platform in this sector is zlecenia-it.pl, offering a marketplace for independent specialists to showcase their skills.
Clients in need of freelancers also know they can create accounts on these platforms to find independent professionals they require. This provides them the convenience of easily collecting bids from different freelancers in the relevant field and browsing through their portfolios and past work examples.
However, for freelancers, the opportunity to access various clients seeking workers in their chosen field and bidding on multiple tasks on one platform is invaluable. Professionals can build their client base and begin experiencing the far-reaching benefits of freelance work.
Use Contracts to Clarify Expectations
When winning bids or receiving projects from a new client, the contract you create can clarify expectations and facilitate a smooth workflow. Communication plays a significant role in the satisfaction of both freelancers and clients.
In the contract, consider including clauses that thoroughly define the expectations of both parties. For instance, if you’re a freelancer as a copywriter, consider how many revisions you are willing to make before increasing your rate for the project. If the project is to be paid on an hourly basis, ensure you establish guidelines for time tracking and reporting to the client.
Details such as how both parties will coordinate and communicate should also be accounted for and agreed upon. If you dislike your workday being interrupted by phone calls but respond well to emails, you can include in the contract a request for email communication. Other provisions, such as whether the work can be used in a portfolio, should also be discussed and defined. You can use a contract template to help create an optimal contract. Ensure the final agreement caters to the needs of both parties before signing.