With the Internet swinging in full form Freelancing has found its own place in the market. The traditional 9 to 5 job never really had a lot of fans, and now more than ever people are willing to take the leap of faith.
A Freelancer is a Self Employed person. One who possess a specific set of skills that can solve a company’s or an individual’s particular problem. Thus he/she uses their skills to serve their Industry for a specific sum of Money. A Freelancer mostly works from home, have their own set up or delivers directly at the client’s end.
For Ex : Makeup artist, Graphic Designer, Digital Marketer, Hair Stylist and so on.
WHY FREELANCE –
The Reason for doing something is way more Important than actually doing it. In short, Purpose matters. Your reason for being a freelancer can be to have the freedom to work on your own time, to spend time with family or fulfil your dream of travelling.
But make no mistake, Freelancing in no way a Get Quick Rich Scheme. Or something where you get overnight success without putting in Long Hours of Pure Hard Work.
QUALITIES OF A FREELANCER –
1. Confidence : For a company to trust you and not another company, you need to first earn their Trust. And that can never happen with a timid tone behind the telephone.
Here are some Tips :
- Pitch your idea with Enthusiasm
- Show them results of other clients
- Make a foundation for them to Trust you and place their money on you
- Form Connections
2. Communication : While a project is being discussed it’s very important to know and understand what you’re signing up for. The lack of clarity before the project has been finalized just shows your lack of experience.
Points to Keep in Mind :
- Understand their end Goals
- Agree on expectations & deliverables
- Change language from you and me to we and us
- Be sporty about feedback, everyone has their own choices
- Ask questions, the more the better
- Set specific Budget & Timeline
- Be open about challenges & issues like hiring extra team members & project complexity
- Clarify everything. Not fluffy words like ‘we need something out of the box’
- Understand their style, take samples
3. Research Skills : Before pitching the client study about their work. Knowledge is Power. That’s the beauty of having a Website, look up everything they have done. The client will be impressed to see your efforts.
- Google the general things (don’t ask silly questions)
- Competitor Analysis
- Company Profile
- Information about Company Directors
4. Patience : Murphy’s law states that, ‘Everything that can go wrong, will’
Things to Remember :
- Working with a team is difficult
- Have timelines for everyone
- Plan on a delay time in advanced
- Stay calm
How I became more Patient & Why you should too
5. Time Management : Once a timeframe has been promised, it will never be a good idea to waiver from that. Unless under reasonable conditions.
Here are some Tips :
- Share work in progress
- note down feedback & email them the discussed changes
- Set a specific date for deliverables
- Always stay in touch
6. Anger Management : Working with a client can surely challenge the calmest people. And a small slip of tongue can cost you a lot of money.
Points to Keep in Mind :
- Client doesn’t have 100% knowledge
- Be prepared for silly questions
- Request last moment changes is common
7. Underpromise Overdeliver : Golden rule for Success & Goodwill. Never the opposite.
8. Written Transparency : In Business nothing verbal counts. No matter what bonding you may have but Money changes the equation. It’s always advisable to communicate everything via email. At least the most important things.
- Share all challenges
- Inform delays
- Ask additional questions as work proceeds
9. Report Maintenance : Make excel sheets your best friend. Dates and activities are very easy to forget. But most vital to note down.
Things to Remember :
- Note down all changes
- Delivered date
- Feedback date
- Date of Monthly Report Submission
- Date of Bill Raised
- Date of Bill paid
10. Over Professionalism : Businesses are more about Relationships than Profits. When a project is undertaken, act like a Team Member and don’t always look for making a quick buck.
Here are some Tips :
- Don’t charge for every small minute change
- Offer some freebies
- Also be clear about too many changes and inclusions
- Time is Money
Productive Vs Busy
HOW TO GET STARTED –
1. Self Education : Gone are the days when Degrees and Certifications were valued. Now skills have the last word. Study up every free thing on the Internet and if feasible invest in some online or offline courses.
2. Portfolio : Having a strong experience base is Important. But even if you don’t have projects and are just starting off, having a portfolio of sample work also does wonders.
3. One thing at a Time : Don’t try to do everything at once. Start with something that you may know or have a little bit of knowledge in. Gradually work your way up.
4. Form a Team : As a Self Employed person, when the work load rises you will need to delegate work to maintain smooth flow. Have a trusted team of skilled professionals whose style and quality of work matches yours.
5. Have a fixed source of Income : Starting off as a Freelancer can be quite risky if you have overheads. So, most people have a fixed source of Income while they start off as a freelancer on the side.
GETTING CLIENTS –
1. Do Work for Free : Beggars are not Choosers. To start off first you need to earn someone’s trust, and what better way than to offer them your Free service. It will build your Portfolio and give you a practical knowledge and feedback about your own work.
2. Word of Mouth : Start off by letting the good word out amongst Friends & Family. The first clients are usually from reference or from the inner circle.
3. Proposal & Package : Have a proposal format and some packages ready for different typs of clients. Then customize the same as per their needs. Speed Matters.
4. Website & Social Media : You need to be visible to the Client and easy to find. Having a Website and Social Media Presence is not a debate anymore. It’s a prerequisite. The Internet is your Marketplace and each platform should have your presence.
5. Reviews & Ratings : Have you ever bought anything from Amazon without carefully reading the reviews? Or ate at a restaurant with 1 star rating. I know I haven’t. Make sure you collect authentic recommendations. We all can sniff sly moves.
Habits of Successful People
JUDGING A CLIENT –
Just as the Client chooses us, we also make the same choice. It may not be obvious at first, but try working with a difficult one, you’ll know.
1. Team Member or Boss : A client can either be a Team Member which means they are more casual and easy to approach. Or a Boss who literally will treat you like an Employee and may even have unreasonable demands. Know what you sign up for!
2. Money Talk : Decide when you get paid – prepaid or postpaid. When it comes to paying, a lot of clients start ignoring calls and make delays. Calculate how much you can risk getting delayed payments. Which is why having a fixed source is important.
3. Single point of Contact : Many companies have more than one Directors. Each of them have their distinct taste, likes and dislikes. The project will never get completed if you wait for everyones feedback and keep making changes. A SPOC from the company’s end, is the person responsible for collecting the final feedback from the directors and guide you with their feedback.
4. Demanding or Casual : Some clients let you do your thing and trust your instincts. Others need to be informed of every small move made. Both are extremes and both undesirable. It’s always safe to have a client who pays interest to the progress of the project yet not be too pushy.
5. Longevity : The span of the project is important to be discussed beforehand. Long term are to be prioritised over short term ones. Both parties should be clear about the timeline of their association. Besides, it’s always safe to keep looking for new projects and not keep all your eggs in one basket.
Self Employment - The Good, Bad & the Ugly
If you’ve come this far, kudos! Like I had mentioned at the beginning of this post, that the choice of being Self Employed was never an option for me, it was a Decision I made.
I made sure to note down all my lessons in this Article to help a fellow dreamer take the leap of faith. I will keep updating this Article or write more on this Topic as I gather more experience.
Please let me know in the COMMENTS :
- Are you a Freelancer? If yes, what’s your biggest struggle?
- Do you want to be Self Employed? If yes, what are you most anxious about?
- Make sure to note down something I may have missed (from your own experience)
“I Appreciate your Time”
Sonali The Endless River