Freelancing is big. In the next ten years, up to 50% of workers are expected to be freelance. That’s a fast-growing market, and if you’re already freelancing, then you’re ahead of the curve. As more companies find that freelance employees work faster (and don’t require benefits) they start hiring remotely. If you can be the one they hire, you can work on your own time, in your pajamas. (If you want.) The trick, however, is capturing that freelance success. Without further ado, here are five tips for making it as a freelancer.
It should be fairly obvious, but when you freelance, you’ve got a lot of competition. You aren’t able to charm your way through in-person interviews, either, so you’ll need to find extra ways of looking great in a digital application.
You may need extra training or education in order to make yourself stand out and/or be qualified for higher-paying gigs. But if you’re looking to freelance in order to have flexibility, you may not have the time or be in the right location to attend certification or academic classes. Fortunately, you can start to build your working-remotely skills in your training, thanks to the rise of online education. For instance, if you are targeting freelancing in data science and analytics (which is a lucrative field, by the way), then you might enroll in an online data science degree. You’ll come out with a great line for your resume, excellent skills, and probably even connections that might help you get future work.
When you freelance, it can be hard to let go of work. After all, you could do extra work at 8 pm, and you could take on more than 40 hours a week. Learn to have boundaries with both yourself and your clients. If a job is too much for you, say No. (You’ll have to get pretty comfortable saying no, so if you’re not, start practicing.) Have personal business hours. When you’re not available, you’re not available. Don’t be available 24/7–have time that’s totally detached from work.
Take Time Off
It can be hard, when you work remotely, to take days off. After all, you could just bring some of your workload along on the family vacation–and keep making money while the kids are in the pool. Just because your work can travel doesn’t mean it should. You still need breaks, and since vacations are good for your health, you should head to the beach or The Hangout Restaurant to really rest and recover.
Watch for Scams
There are plenty of freelance scams on the internet. Try to work with safe sites like Upwork or Guru, and only work when a down payment has been made. If you freelance independently, write up a contract, and ask for 50% of payment upfront. You can do your work safely and legally, but you’ll want to set up some rules with every client.
Narrow Down Your Skills
You’ll be the most valuable if you focus on a few specific skills. You might be moderately talented in ten different things, but you should focus on two to four and stick with those. Build a solid portfolio, showcasing each specific skill, and get better at those skills every day. Soon, you’ll be able to prove to any business that you have what it takes.
Remember, as you freelance, to take things slow. You’re building a career from the ground up, and there will be jobs you fail to get for several years, until you’ve acquired the experience and the portfolio to win them. The harder you work, however, the more you’ll grow–so keep plugging away at a successful career in freelancing.