Freelance Tips for the Professional
In today’s terrible economy, freelancing is on the increase. In the U.S. alone, 1 in 3 are now doing freelance work. that is 42 million Americans going without a place of employment or health insurance, 401(k) plans.
But it’s not all bad news — freelancing is fulfilling work. Many individuals freelance by choice. Some freelance to supplement their existing financial situation while others do it full-time because full time employment is just exhausting to find. Many web professionals often select this option because freelancing offers flexibility and also the opportunity to showcase work in multiple venues.
If you’re wanting to start a gig as a freelancer, follow these five tips to advance in the field.
It can be helpful to be a jack-of-all-trades in the freelance industry, but you may have a better go at marketing yourself if you choose a specific strength you have within your industry. Personal branding is king for anyone looking for freelance work. Show value: Start a personal website, hot rod your social media presence and start a blog to discuss pressing industry issues or offer new perspectives.
Sure, there are plenty of established freelancers who are approached regularly for work. But freelancing is also a business, and that means there time when the work just isn’t there. Constant networking is a must for freelancers. Make networking a regular task — use the Web, attend industry events, send out e-newsletters or make cold calls.
The big one when it comes to successful freelancing: Always get a signed contract from your clients before completing any work. Check your local and state regulations to determine the appropriate contracts you’ll need to write, and carefully outline pricing and timelines. Freelancers often get railroaded and wind up performing work for free. A contract ensures your client is legally responsible to pay you, so don’t skip this step!
4. Organize Your Projects
Freelancers often juggle multiple projects at once. Use a time or project tracking management software to keep organized. Basecamp is a great tool for outlining projects and assuring they are complete and within scope and budget outline in the contract. Tracking also gives the customer invaluable insight in the complexity of web development.
5. Remain Flexible
Freelancers here it all the time, “Can we move the logo over there?” or “Can we add additional products.” Never get so attached to a project that you’re not willing to let it go and do what the customer would like to see. After all, you’re customer are the people who are paying you — and you have to be flexible to clients’ needs if you want to succeed. Freelancers have the ability to not want to give up creative control of a project; they feel they know their market well, but get “bogged down” when clients ask for changes. Don’t do it – Don’t allow yourself to become so attached you’re not willing to change.
Freelancing can be both rewarding and exhausting. Focus on your skills, work on your customer relations and remember, face time is king. Don’t be afraid to walk in to your clients office to let them see what you’re working on. You might find this the single asset that keeps them coming back every year.
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