If you are serious about building a career as a freelancer or you already made enough money to go on your own, there are several things that you need to know before you get lost in the pile of competitors. For sure, you can make a lot of adjustments and compromises in order to get a project, but there are some things that can play important role in someone’s decision to hire you over and over again. And these things are the crucial factors that differentiate successful freelancers from all of the others.
- Do not over promise
You know your capabilities, but you also know the competition is high. No matter how much you want to get the job, never try to promise or include in your offer something you have never done before. If you are a designer – design, if you are a writer – write, but if you have never done photography, do not try to look and work as a photographer. People who are hiring freelancers can easily notice the difference between professionals and amateurs and we are sure you want to be remembered as the first one.
- Look professional
Working as a freelancer does not mean that you do not need your own business identity. Simple staff such as logo, invoice template, and proposal for collaboration can be done with a small investment but can leave a great first impression on your clients.
Having these along with basic terms in place for every project will help protect you, but more importantly, will help inform the client of how you work.
- Make a difference between your income and your profit
If you’re looking freelancing as a long-term career, you need to set up a financial plan that will be sustainable. Not every income that you get from projects is a pure profit.
You have to have in mind several key costs:
- Taxes – in order to run a legit business
- Business investments- part of your income that needs to be reinvested in materials, software or subcontractors in order to keep your business going
- Savings – what about the times when freelance is not going so well? Always have some savings in order to cover periods when business is not blooming
- Think twice before
It is easier said than done, but sometimes turning down a project is the best thing that could happen to your career. Before sealing done a deal, sit down and answer to yourself these several questions:
- What is the time I need to finish the job and whether it will interfere with other projects and deadlines?
- Is this a project with potential for long-term collaboration?
- Do I have all information and skills needed, or will I lose additional time while getting everything together?
- Will this be a project that I would be proud to put in my portfolio?
If more than 2 answers are negative than your response to a proposal for collaboration should be negative too. Of course, that does not mean to close all doors for future possible collaboration, because you never know what another party can bring on the table later on.
- Respect deadlines
No matter how hardworking, creative and efficient you are, when it comes to your professionalism it all sums up at respecting deadlines. So next time before you accept the project, think about the deadline. Whether is realistic, whether some unpredicted circumstances can make you break it, or does it interfere with other projects you already work on? In particular, cases when you have a long-term collaboration with a client build upon trust, try to explain why you cannot meet the deadline and do that as soon as possible. Do not wait to see if you can meet the deadline and then explain what happened. If you want to know how bad it would look like in the eyes of your client, just think of the last time when you waited for pizza delivery for 2 hours longer than expected.
- Measure your progress
And last but not least, your freelancing must be treated like a business, and as a business, you need to measure your progress Such as:
- Time spent and quality progress on finished projects?
- Returning clients?
- Long-term collaborations
- Profit versus time spent working
These several points will help you see the whole picture and determine the course in which you want your freelance career to go.
Last but not least, you can always try Invoice Meister for FREE to help you better organize and manage your daily activities and finances.