5 Things Every Freelancer Should Start Doing NOW

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. ~Albert Einstein

I’ve been freelancing since last five years. I’ve worked for many small and large companies and have learned a lot during the course of time (some hard way of course:) )

Here are the few things every freelancer should start doing now to be best at it.

1. Start Tracking Time

Time is money. Just like you manage your money, it’s important to manage your time as well. It’s easy to lose track of time, especially if you rely on Internet in your daily work as a freelancer. A common hindrance is the constant baggage of different online distractions like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. These distractions can easily divert your attention and by the time you reseal, you may have easily wasted hours of your day. Staying focused and managing your time can help you improve your efficiency. It not only helps you stay focused but also lets you bill your client accurately and transparently.

There are plenty of time tracking apps available for Desktop, Mobile and Web based. Some of the popular ones are Rescue Time and Toggl.

2. Charge What You Are Worth

Stop being just a programmer or a designer. You know your skills and you know how you can improve the software and make it better. Check how much value you bring to the table and decide how much you are worth. If you can justify your rates, your clients will always be happy to pay you.

3. Fixed Working Hours

One of the reasons many people quit their full time job and switch to freelancing is that they can work from wherever they want and whenever they want. It is good but if you are not disciplined about your working hours, you will soon start falling off the cliff. If you want to have a successful freelancing career, your clients need to know when they can expect you to be online and discuss anything they need to about the project.

To balance your personal and professional life, what you can do is, set 50% of working time of your day as WORK ONLY time where you are available only for your work and nothing else. But reset 50% can be flexible time where you are suppose to work but if something comes up, say you need to take your daughter to cinema because she really wants to see Toy Story, you can take off during that time.

What I usually do is, set first half of my day as WORK ONLY hours whereas second half of the day is Flexible Hours.

4. Do What You Are Best At

If you are a freelance developer, you will always be hearing about new framework or libraries coming out every week and you will be lured to try them out. If this is you, you should stop right now.

To be a successful freelancer you should specialize in some domain. There’s no shortage of Jack of all trades and you will be lost in the jungle. Specialize in a technology or framework or domain and establish yourself as an authority in that domain. You don’t necessarily have to accepts all projects that come to you. You should be ready to turn down a project that requires skill set you don’t have.

Of course that doesn’t mean you should stop using new technologies but you shouldn’t use it just for the heck of using it.

5. Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

At some point in your freelancing career you would have come across a situation where you had too many projects coming your way and you wanted to accept all of them. This happens to all of us but you should consider your time availability, your skills and other commitments. It may seem ideal to be available for any project that come your way but might want to bite only what you can chew or otherwise you will not be able to give justice to any of the projects which may dissatisfy your clients and effect your business in long run.

Originally published at ASHIT VORA.

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