Growing numbers of professionals are freelancing, to either make a living or supplement their income!
The money can be good, and the hours even better. Yet, if you are new to freelancing it’s easy to make common mistakes that could cost you time, energy and money. So here a few do’s and don’ts if you want to be a successful freelancer:
– Get a Mentor – this is particularly important if you are new to freelancing. Get help, as you do not have to do this alone and there are a number of professionals who will be happy to share the benefit of their experience if approached properly and politely.
– Establish an appropriate pricing structure – don’t overcharge, but don’t undercharge either! Both practices indicate a lack of professionalism, not to mention the fact that it will be difficult for you to hold onto clients/customers if your prices are too high, or maintain the respective your peers if your prices are too low.
– Network – particularly as it is likely that you will be either working from home or often on the premises of other clients, it is important that you network regularly to ensure that you continue to build your client base.
– Take care of yourself – the world of freelancing and entrepreneurship can bring a number of personal, emotional and financial challenges. So it is imperative that you ensure your own well-being! Develop a network of other freelancers who you can speak to: you can complain to each other and everyone understands! Give yourself treats and breaks, because you’re working really hard to provide and keep a roof over your head and you deserve it!
– Forget about invoices – establish a system which allows you to keep track of payment you have received, and invoices sent. Avoid sending invoices late, as this can lead to late payment!
– Antagonise other freelancer’s – like your time; their time is money! So if you do need help or advice be specific in your request, and keep it as brief as possible. (Offering a free lunch can help, but doesn’t always!)
– Start work without clear details – it is easy to forget in the excitement of getting a new job to confirm all of the key information. Important questions to ask and gain answers include, what are you required to do, in what time-frame will you do it, how much will it cost and what are the terms for payment? This list is not exhaustive, as you may need to specify if there are limited hours of work for the project, equipment needed and who’s responsible for expenses.
– Always say Yes – although it can be the hardest thing to do when you’re desperate to build your client base, knowing when to say no is one of the greatest skills of the most successful entrepreneurs and freelancer’s. The ultimate success of your freelancing career is the quality of your CV, which arguably becomes more important if you seek to develop and improve the calibre of your jobs, clients and with it, income. You don’t have to take every offer you receive, particularly if it’s not a good one!
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Good luck with your entrepreneurial endeavours, you can do it!