Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Freelancer?

by Ryan Stetz, EVP Creative Graphics, The Communications Journal

No health insurance. No 401k. No guaranteed work. No steady paychecks. If I told you these were some of the characteristics of your job, would you fill out an application? These are just a few of the concerns of being a freelancer. It’s not very appealing when you think about it but if you have what it takes to be a freelancer, the pros can definitely outweigh the cons.

1. Finding clients.

One of the biggest concerns about freelancing is having clients. If you don’t have anyone who wants your product or service, you’re not going to do well at all as a freelancer. You need to market yourself and find people who want to pay for what you’re selling. Finding these clients isn’t easy though. A great tool for finding clients is obviously the internet. There are many websites that you can use to your advantage. Craigslist is a great place to find clients and the great part about craiglist is that you don’t just have to look just in your city. If your service doesn’t demand you to be onsite, you can easily go out and find work in other cities and states with just a click. Another great tool in building a client base is the old fashion word of mouth. My grandma always said, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”  I have found this to be a great piece of advice. Word of mouth can be great for business if you performed well and handled yourself in a professional manner.

2. One Stop Shop

Another great way to gain clients is to be able to offer them various services. Being a jack of all trades can help broaden your client base and make your business more successful. The more you can do for a client, the better off you are. You want to be a one-stop shop and be able to add more weapons to your arsenal. The more you can do for clients, the more money you can make.

3. Clock-In

To be a successful freelancer, you have to be regimented and organized with your work ethic or time management. It’s so easy to get up at noon and watch an hour of TV and procrastinate on your work when you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck. But you have to remember, this is a job and you have to treat it as one.

4. Get your money

This is one of the toughest parts of freelancing. The constant aggravation of having to get your clients to pay up can be very stressful. It’s a very difficult position to be kind to your clients but also demand them to pay you your money. But you have to remember, this is a business and just as your clients want to be paid for their services, you have to be paid for yours. You have to be nice with your clients because you want them to come back but at the same time, you have to get your money!

5. No Freebies

Don’t let your clients take advantage of you. As a freelancer, your income is based on the work you do. If you start doing work without asking for pay, then you’re taking the ‘free’ in freelancer way to serious. Doing small favors can be OK but you don’t want to get in the habit of doing things for people without getting paid for it. You have to remember, these people are coming to you for a service that they can not perform and it’s not fair to yourself to not be compensated for that service that you are providing them.

All of these things can be problematic when doing freelance work. If you have the right state of mind and the drive and will to do whatever it takes to succeed, you will have a long and wealthy life as a freelancer.

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