Freelancing Success: How to Build a Stable Freelancing Life
Freelancers trade time for money. While it’s not the best way to make money, it’s a definite starting point.
As Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha write in their popular book, The Startup of You, it makes sense to have three plans to do well in your career.
Plan A — This is what you do, at this time, right now. Plan B — a slight pivot of what you can do. This includes anything experimental you might want to do. If you were a web designer, for instance, you’d want to try your hand at writing. Or develop a new web language. Plan Z — This is the ultimate backup for you. Whatever this plan is for you, it’s built to hold your life together and give you ultimate security.
The book advocates these plans for everyone — including people who hold full-time jobs, freelancers, self-employed professionals, and entrepreneurs.
We believe that freelancers and self-employed professionals along with entrepreneurs need these plans more than anyone else.
Fickle, dicey, and unpredictable that your life as a freelancer can be, it makes sense to build plans that hold ground while other plans are likely to fail. Here’s how you can ensure freelancing success:
Prepare. Embrace. Plan
The moment you step into the world of freelancing or entrepreneurship, you’d meet Mr. Uncertainty. You have no way to deal with it without being prepared for it. You’d have days when you wonder where your next paycheck is going to come from. You’d often be tempted to drop everything and get a job instead.
Any of those thoughts, however, are detrimental to your psyche you need so much for freelancing success.
That’s why, prepare from the start. Build an MLP (Minimum Livability Plan) as startup culture likes to call it.
Make marketing a priority
Have what we like to call as the 15 x 10 rule. By the time it’s ten O’ clock on any given day, you should have sent out 15 applications, bids, cold emails, or pitches. These don’t include follow-ups, by the way.
Your typical day should start with the hardest part of your day knocked off your to-do list first. This way, you’d have the rest of the day to focus on deadlines, tasks, and managing clients.
Get that cushion — A comfortable one
As a freelancer, you have no means to get a paycheck at the end of the month. You fight uncertainty. So, you need stability more than anyone else. The moment you get paid, for the next 6 months, route a part of that payment to another savings account to build for an emergency corpus. You’d need to dig into this on any given month when you don’t have any payments coming in or if your payments are delayed.
That’s step 1.
After that, you goal is to build a short-term plan, and a long-term plan to ensure that your zigzag journey of freelancing doesn’t derail your regular life — including paying for bills, insurance, mortgages, and covering your living expenses.
Devour opportunities. Make Deals.
Be on the lookout for opportunities while you hustle, get projects, work with clients, and manage your life. The moment you stop, you’d invite trouble.
Let’s say you get a call from a prospective employer about a career opening they have. Don’t just say no. Instead, arrange to meet up with the employer, have a casual chat, and see if you can work your work around to get the work without having to work full-time, onsite.
You can negotiate your way for a remote working opportunity on a retainer with that employer.
Or you could train, coach, or consult for a pay-as-you-go feel.
Never close doors on opportunities, simultaneously work with adequate financial planning to ensure stability, and always work on marketing to ensure nothing stops you in your quest to freelancing stardom.
Originally published at peerhustle.com on August 13, 2015.