How To Become a *Better* Freelancer

I’ve been freelancing for over a year now and I’ve learned lots of things from the challenges I’ve experienced as an independent freelancer. It’s no cakewalk and there’s no easy-money here if that’s what you’re expecting. Freelancing means you work for yourself, and this requires carrying out some difficult task on your own. It also demands high-level of good judgment on how to properly use your time, accept proper gigs, and find good paying clients. In this article, I would be handing out useful tips to becoming a better freelancer.

1. Ensure you use a contract on all your projects

A lot of freelancers overlook the need for a contract, thinking it is not necessary for small jobs. This is a wrong perception. It is advisable for a freelancer to have a general agreement covering basic details of each project. This will help protect you and most importantly give your client an idea of the kind of work to expect.

2. Always demand an upfront part-payment

Getting paid on time is often an issue in the freelance work. To avoid this pitfall and guarantee 100% money for your effort, you should always demand that you receive an upfront payment. Ideally, 50%-25% of the agreed fee before you start working on the job.

3. Advertise the job you are interested in

This is in continuation of the previous tip, however, its importance cannot be overemphasized. It is always good practice to fill your freelance portfolio with jobs you are interested in taking on. Let your prospective clients know you have a niche and the right skill set for the job.

4. Concentrate on one niche

It is always good practice to focus on your brand identity and create a niche for yourself. Once your clientele has an idea about the type of projects you embark on, it would make your job a whole lot easier.

5. Don’t be scared to turn people down

This could be a difficult situation to find yourself because you generally do not want to disappoint people. There are situations in which no matter how hard you try you would find yourself disappointing people, in order to avoid such scenarios it is better you turn down the job at the initial stage.

6. Transparency is essential

This should be one of the core values of your freelance business. As you are what your business stands for. It is always good to be transparent in all your dealings, this would go a long way in instilling customer trust and confidence.

7. Do a lot of writing

To be a good freelancer it is essential you do a lot of writing, whether you are a good writer or not, writing is the path to becoming a very popular freelancer and putting yourself out there.

8. Focus on the present

Do not overwhelm yourself thinking about the end game. It is essential your mind is focused on what really matters now. As you would only arrive at your destination if you do all you have to do now.

Creating a daily list of small task you need to accomplish and endeavor to get them done. Overtime time you would find yourself getting closer to your goal.

9. Know the figures involved

Freelancing is a business and as such, it should be treated like one. You need to know the figures involved in the business. These include; your revenue, site traffic, link conversion rate and whole other stuff.

10. Divide your earnings for taxes and savings

If you intend on taking the freelancing job seriously, then you would need to split your earnings accordingly. For every dollar you make a certain percentage needs to go for the business, business tax, personal savings and living expenses.

Conclusion

Over time, I sort of wished I had such information about freelancing before I delved into it. However, since I began to put some of these tips into practice, I have recorded enormous growth in my freelance business. I hope you do too, all the best!

 

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How To Stay Organized As a Freelancer

Freelancing comes with enviable perks. From having unparalleled flexibility, an opportunity for higher pay, and the choice to pick only clients and work you want – it’s a wonderful experience which many people would love to do.

However, it’s not something anyone can pull off successfully. Outside of the 9-to-5 lifestyle which most of us are used to, the challenges of being a freelancer can work against you especially when you’re just starting out. If you’re not business savvy, have no clue how to handle entrepreneurial life, and have little to no self-discipline – things can go from bad to worse whilst building your freelance career.

Here are tips to make sure you stay organized:

Keep a Daily Schedule

When I first started freelancing, I had no real strategy when it comes to planning my schedule. I thought hard work was enough. So I worked night and day, on weekends, and sometimes even during sick days. This made me very exhausted, stressed, and angry. I started cramming, submitting poor quality work and eventually losing some of my good-paying clients. All of this could have been prevented if I had an efficient working schedule. When creating your schedule, make sure you do these three things:

1. List Your MIT

Think about what your perfect working day looks like. Then list three most important tasks you need to do for the day. Acknowledge that today you will do nothing else but complete those three tasks. When you’ve set your mind to this habit, your productivity will improve.

2. Track Your Time

I’ve only started tracking my time a year after I went freelance although I wish I did it sooner. When you’re tracking your time, you become mindful of how you spend the minutes and hours of your day. Without a clear visualization of how you spend your time, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and get out of track.

3. Batch Your Work

I’ve learned this the hard way. I thought when I was multi-tasking I was getting more done, but in all actuality, I’m making it harder for me to focus and complete tasks. The solution? Divide your day into chunks by choosing which projects you’d like to work on in the morning, afternoon, or night. You can put the hardest job in the morning when your willpower and energy is still at its highest peak and the easiest job at night or afternoon.

Separate Home and Office

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Set aside a designated area for work. When you can’t afford to rent an office or find coffee shops too crowded, you can simply find a nice quiet spot at home.

Unlike working at an office with a boss and other employees, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have a life when you work at home. With the TV, PS4, and lots of digital distraction, it’s a fight to stay focused. However, you can solve this by simply choosing a smart spot for work.

My first work area at was in between the living room and the kitchen. When my family was watching TV, I could hear it. When someone’s cooking I could smell it. It was very distracting so I decided to move from that spot and bring my work desk inside my room. Now my desk is situated in my bedroom. Whenever I’m neck deep in work, I just close the door and I gain maximum privacy and concentration.

When you’re a freelancer working from home the hardest thing you have to do is avoid distraction. If you don’t have self-control, you could lose valuable hours, clients, and eventually money for your living expenses.

Don’t Commit to More Jobs Than You Can Handle

Juggling three clients is hard, how much more if you’re working with seven or ten? The secret to having steady work and good clients is to handle each project with care and professionalism. This means saying NO to work when you have your hands full. There’s no point in having multiple clients and juggling multiple projects if your work quality will suffer. Pushing yourself to your limits can make your work life chaotic and disorganized. And even if you’re earning more, you can’t feel fully satisfied since you’re always tired and stressed.

If you’re caught up with clients but don’t want to miss the opportunity of working for another good job, you can negotiate by asking the client for a lower workload. Instead of writing five articles a week, find clients who value time and quality and will allow you to work only 2-3 articles.

Set Goals

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When you were an employee, you had a quota attached to your work. For every month, there was a specific number of articles/sales/time you had to finish. It was more than a guide, it was the rule. Failure to do this meant a red mark on your employee performance. If your boss had set unrealistic expectations, then you’re screwed. You’d be stressed, miserable, and wishing for a vacation ever single day of your work life.

Luckily you’re done with corporate chaos. Now you’re living by your own rules. That doesn’t mean you have to forget setting goals. Goals are like quotas – the difference is you get to decide for it yourself. You can lower or increase your quota, change it every month, or calculate the best average you can handle.

The best part? You don’t need a supervisor or boss to tell you otherwise. After all, there’s no one who knows your ability better than yourself. It’s you who can decide how much workload and hours in a day you can handle.

Conclusion

If you think freelancing is easy, think again. Besides the freedom you have, there is nothing really permanent in your work life. Today you may have plenty, tomorrow you can have none. You need to be comfortable with unpredictability and uncertainty. It’s the only way you can thrive.

Are you a freelancer? What other tips can you give our readers stay organized? Let us know in the comments.