So, you’re all set to start your freelancing journey and right now you’re wondering about the important tips you need to succeed as a freelancer?
Well, here you have it. But before we proceed, I want to clear the air…
Having spent over 5 years as a freelancer, I have come to realize that there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to freelancing tips. Now, quickly, let me explain.
For some reasons, all freelancing tips do not necessarily work for all freelancers. But, there are some very important freelancing tips that works for all freelancers, no matter how many years you’ve spent. And you need to know these tips, if you want to succeed in freelancing.
Alright. Now before we dip in, let me warn you; as a new freelancer, you’re about to experience a roller coaster of emotions which might be a mixture of sweet bitter experiences.
But don’t worry. That’s why you’re reading this. So, by the time you’re done reading this guide, you will be equipped with the important tips you need to make your freelancing a far better experience.
Now, in case you’re asking yourself, why should I bother about freelancing if it’s this hard? Here’s why my answer…
Freelancing is the process of working as an independent entity or company on a specific project, rather than being employed permanently by another company.
There are so many reasons why people choose freelancing over other forms of employment but one popular reason that attracts a lot of people is the flexibility that comes with working as a freelancer.
Unlike other jobs, as a freelancer, you can combine a lot of roles or jobs at the same time while making your earnings conveniently. Or you can even work part time if that’s what you want.
For me, it was a combination of so many things including the flexibility, independence, time to combine other things etc. These and many more are part of the reasons people choose to work as freelancers.
And hopefully, they are also part of the things that attracted you to become a freelancer.
Now, that said, in the following paragraphs, I’ll be listing out these important tips you need to succeed as a freelancer…
Know your Clients
This is one of the most important tips you need to succeed as a freelancer. In the freelancing world, your client is the link between you and your dreams, your job and the money.
So, knowing who they are and their level of experience is very important. Or generally let’s say, have a good knowledge of your clients. Now, let me explain why you need to now your client this way…
As a digital entrepreneur, there are about three types of clients you’ll have to work with here.
One of them is the Guru who wants you to help him out because he lacks time to sort things out himself.
The next one is Jane Doe, the average techie. She knows over a couple of things about what she wants you to do and nothing more.
The very third one is the usual John Doe. John has some idea about what he wants but doesn’t know what’s involved or how to go about it. That’s why he approached you.
Now get this. If you need maximum success, approach your work with these guys differently.
For the Guru who knows exactly what he wants: Do it for him the way he needs it done. If there’s a reason you have to deviate from his specifications for his own good, show him what it should be. If he doesn’t like it, keep things the way he wants it.
This method can also be applied to Jane Doe, the average techie. With her, you need some caution though. Because you can’t tell exactly how much she knows.
As a freelance entrepreneur, your best way to work with a Jane Doe is to take up her ideas and work with her all through the process. Don’t do it alone.
For John Doe who doesn’t have a clue about what he wants. The best thing to do is take up his ideas, interpret it for them. Simplify everything and then present it back to him.
What you’re doing here is to make sure they fully grasp what they want, at least to a large extent. Before you start working it out, based on their approval.
From there, you can now try out your best approach making sure they approve what you’re doing as you proceed.
If you’re a professional freelancer or online entrepreneur, Avoid the idea of coming up with “what works best” outside your clients’ approval. It’s their job. Not yours. Even though you still have a form of independence as a freelancer, your job has to meet up with the exact expectations of your clients.
Communicate Important Details
Communication is an important skill you need to develop as a freelancer. In fact, this is one of the foremost tips you need to succeed as a freelancer.
Communication is key to understanding what you need to do, and getting your client to understand how you’re doing it.
Without a good flow of communication, you can spend lots of hours working on a particular job yet because the result in the front end doesn’t say much, compared to your effort; your client gets to feel you’re not doing enough at all.
It will serve you lots of explanations if you can communicate to your client clearly, what you’re doing, why you’re doing that or the impact it will have on a project.
If there’s need to explain any unnecessary setbacks you’re experiencing to your client at some point, go ahead and do that. But remember your explanation should depend on whether the client is a Guru, a Jane Doe or John Doe.
Also, while embarking on a project, do not forget to indicate the possible time limits you’ll need to get the project delivered.
And while you’re doing that, if what you’re working on is something that will take an extensive period of time, be sure you include an additional time to the epected time limits.
It is always better you deliver before the expected time, than to deliver after the dateline.
Focus on Details
Freelancing will expose you to different kind of clients, experiences and exposures.
There are instances where you’ll meet clients that are very detailed. Such clients will need you to follow their exact specifications and needs, to the latter. You need to do just that.
If at any point, what a client wants you to do for them on a particular project is no longer in vogue, communicate that to them clearly. Explain the outcomes they will have if they go ahead and then, follow their decisions afterwards.
Do not try to decide for clients on what’s working or trendy. Explain as objectively as you can and let them decide. If they want you to keep it their way, or your own way.
One of the most important things you need to keep in mind always is the fact that you’re a professional and you must show professionalism at all times. This is one of the things that will earn you the respect of your clients.
It happens that sometimes, when it comes to working for family and friends, you will most likely tend familiarity, friendship and all but, there should be a limit to that.
At any point, your clients could be family, friends or someone you know too well but when it comes to their job, your closeness to them should not stop you from showing professionalism because that is what they expect from you
So forget about the idea of “let me do this for him. I will explain it later and he will understand“. Or “Ada is my friend. I know what is good for her”. You may be wrong.
As a freelancer, even when you need to relax and relate with your clients as humans, let your professionalism come to play with whoever you’re working for. They will respect you for that.
Don’t give clients what you think they want. Give them what they want. Your relationship can come in later.
Wow your Clients
Perhaps this is one of the biggest freelancing tips you’ll get from here, give your clients an exceptional experience they can always talk about after working with you.
I would’ve easily said give them your best here. But, as you already know, there will be times your best is not enough.
At this point you’ll have to go beyond your best and give them something exceptional. That extra value they can’t find elsewhere. This is what will keep the coming back.
Personally when it comes to freelancing, I don’t just grab a client’s idea and work on it. I go as far as mapping out their ideas, ambitions, goals and purpose through series of interactive sessions.
Then come out with a better understanding of what’s needed. There’s a whole lot of bonding, friendship and exchange of professionalism that goes on behind the scenes. You need to bring this on.
With this approach, you don’t just work for clients, you build relationships that will exist beyond the duration of the job.
Learn how to walk Away
Sometimes you need to walk away from some jobs. I understand this is one of the hardest freelancing tips any one can give out there but, it is what it is.
As a freelancer, there are some clients who will certainly be a pain in the ass.
From making shockingly excessive demands to draining your creative energy with critical comments, you are going to meet both the good and bad clients. And even some toxic ones that will make you question your competence.
As a freelancer, one of the advantages you have is that you can always work away when you see such signs or just show them the door. It’s very simple.
If you really want to be happy while putting out something awesome for your clients then you have to do the jobs you love. This is very important. Choose the clients you want to work with.
This is what is going to give you the peace of mind to create the magic for your clients.
As the last on the list of tips you need to succeed as a freelancer, you need to value and ask for feedback.
It is very important you get this. Because as you grow in freelancing, a lot of new clients will want to know what other clients are saying about you.
In most cases, clients will not want to give you feedback on their own. So, you want to take a step to ask for it.
Remember, the best time to ask for such feedback is usually, the moment you finish the job for the clients. Delaying it afterwards may not yield positive results.
Like i mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of freelancing tips out there but these are some of the most essential ones you need to get your career off the ground as a freelancer.
While you work hard to use these tips to further your freelancing, remember to always fix your payment and payment schedules, mention the delivery period for project and make all important disclosures where you have to, before embarking on any project.
So, there you have the important freelancing tips you need to succeed as a freelancer. Ready to learn important freelancing tips that can help you stand out as a freelancer, reach out to our team here.
Now, it’s over to you. What’s your biggest struggle as a freelancer? I want to read your answer in the comments section.