Can You Freelance Your Way to Financial Freedom?
If you have talent, ambition, and a liking for professional freedom, then freelancing could be your perfect choice of occupation. However, it’s far from an easy path to take. If you want to make a long-term living working in your specialist field, you need to consider the following issues as you build a successful career.
Find Your Selling Point
No matter which field you work in, you’ll be up against established players, and you need a way to compete. Although offering great work at reasonable prices will always help to drive business, you still need to find something to distinguish yourself from other freelancers in your industry. What specific talents do you have that are in short supply, or what range of experiences do you have that others lack? Finding a unique selling point is key to developing a long-term business.
Growing a full-time business is a world away from using your talents to pick up a little extra cash on the side. To maximize your potential, you need to fine-tune your processes and workflow so that you can approach the working day methodically.
You also need to find ways to get yourself moving on those inevitable days when the work just doesn’t come easy. Whether you’re suffering from a creative block or a simple lack of energy, if freelancing is to be your career, you can’t afford to have too much downtime. Make yourself a list of second-tier activities you can turn to so you’re still using your time productively, even when you’re not at the top of your game.
Deal with Quiet Times
There will also be times when you don’t have enough work to keep you busy. However, you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to slack, or just as bad, fall into a panic over the future viability of your business. Plan for these quiet periods by having something productive to fall back on, whether this is looking for new avenues for finding work, or by developing your skills to make yourself more attractive to future clients.
Focus on Client Skills
The freelance life tends to attract people who are happy to work independently and are comfortable in their own company. The unfortunate flip side of this type of character is that dealing with clients may not come as naturally as it does to those with more extrovert personalities. However, client management should be your number one priority if you want to build a stable business, so make sure to spend as much time refining your people skills as you do polishing your craft.
Build Your Business Skills
Even the most talented freelancer will struggle to progress if their business skills aren’t up to scratch. Producing stellar work isn’t nearly enough if your time management is weak, your admin is a mess, and your costs are spiraling out of control. If you have no background in business, consider enrolling for an online course to learn the basics, or outsource vital activities such as bookkeeping and tax preparation.
It’s an unavoidable fact that freelancers will suffer setbacks along the way to building a successful career. However, it’s how you deal with them that separates successful business people from those who fall by the wayside. Don’t take disappointments personally, and make sure you learn whatever lessons you can before coming back stronger. Similarly, don’t let welcome successes lull you into complacency.
Lastly, while it’s always important to secure the next paying project, working hand to mouth makes it difficult to develop a long-term business. Think of where you want your career to be in a year’s time, and identify what you need to do to move toward that place. What skills do you need to develop to improve your work? What new opportunities could pay off in the future if you invest a little time now?
Working as a freelancer offers fantastic freedom, but it’s far more complicated than regular employment. You need to wear many hats on a daily basis, and pure hard work is no guarantee of success. However, working to develop your skills outside your specialty gives you every chance of achieving financial freedom through an independent career.