5 Steps to Becoming a Successful Freelancer
It seems like everyone is working freelance these days, including me. There’s a lot about freelancing that is awesome (like not having to beg for vacation days), but saying goodbye to the security of full-time is risky and always a little scary, no matter how much you believe in yourself. The first couple months are the most stressful, but, as someone who’s made it past the hump, it gets easier. Whether you’ve just made the leap yourself or are amping up to do it soon, here’s a list of things to help you win at freelancing that I’ve learned along the way.
Having an online portfolio will increase your visibility, establish your brand (have fun with the design you choose, it says a lot about you) and is a great way to showcase what you got to potential employers and partners. Really, there’s much more to lose by not having one. Websites like Format make it easy to create an awesome customized portfolio, and they offer 24/7 friendly and easy support.
2. Go For Coffee With People You Admire
I truly believe that the fastest way to being the best is to learn from the best. Surely you have people in the industry you admire and my advice, whether you know them or not, is to reach out, introduce yourself and ask to treat them to a coffee. Most of the time they’ll happily agree, although you might have to wait a couple months for it to actually happen (successful people are busy) and you’ll leave with a new connection, inspiration and a wealth of new insight on your passion.
3. Join a Coworking Space
Perhaps the worst thing about the initial stages of freelance is that you are office-less. Working from home gets really weird fast (being alone for that long in a small box in the sky will make anyone crazy) and posting up at coffee shops is only doable for so long (you’ll get sick of asking for the Wifi password fast.) The best thing I ever did was join a coworking space. Of course, you might have to wait a couple months to secure a steady income before you can commit to it, but it’s worth every penny. It’s great for networking, socializing and, if for nothing else, being around other freelancers will really inspire you.
4. Call Up Old Connections
Image: Huffington Post
Sometimes the simplest thing is the hardest, and for me, it was this: people need to know you’re freelance to hire you as a freelancer. You need to get the word out. Call up old friends, bosses and co-workers and tell them your exciting news. Most business will come from referral so this is potentially the most crucial part of being successful. Set a night to sit down with a glass of wine and start dialling.
5. Get Up, Get Dressed, Get Out
Image: Century Initiative
It’s easy to be your own boss — sometimes too easy. When you’re in charge of your own working schedule, it’s tempting to sleep in and stay in comfy clothes all day. This advice needs no explanation; Get up, get dressed, get out.
Do you agree with these tips on how to become a successful freelancer? Share with us in the comments sections!
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Isabel Chalmers is a freelance writer, currently residing in Toronto. She’s passionate about writing, long aimless walks around the city and her Nonna’s spaghetti.