How Can I Freelance Successfully?

I’ve met and worked with a lot of freelancers over the ten years or so I’ve been in business. There are some clear reasons why some freelancer more successfully than others and reliability is one of them. In this article I’ll talk about reliability and how this can improve your reputation, increase your profits and reduce your stress levels.

1. How Available Are You?

Many people start freelancing while still working at least part time. Depending on your offering and how you manage clients, not being available can be an issue. If you don’t have enough time to complete jobs in a reasonable schedule or are not available to be contacted for long periods this can cause you and the client problems. As well as existing clients getting frustrated with lack of contact, new clients may not be able to speak to you and go elsewhere.

There are ways around this however, for example setting expectations of when you can be contacted, or using a call handling service.

2. Are You Freelancing Long term?

Some people are freelancing for a short period between jobs, due to having kids or simply trying out the freelance life. It’s important to finish jobs you start, and many clients will want to work with you longer term if you do a good job. If you’re only temporary, it’s easy to leave jobs unfinished and suddenly disappear from the freelance scene if taking a full time position.

Obviously we don’t know how things are going to work out, but having a solid plan for a sustainable freelance business will reduce the chances of you having to go back to the 9-5.

It also pays to be honest with clients if you know you’re only doing this temporarily. They may choose to still use your services, or work with someone who will be around longer term. Getting a new freelancer up to speed with working methods, styles and processes can be a significant investment for clients.

3. Can You Deliver Results?

This is a key question. Can you do what you say you can do? It’s tempting to take on all kinds of work to pay the bills, but you should focus on what you can do best to make the best progress.

There’s room for a little bit of a stretch with new skills but don’t take on things that are way beyond your abilities. It will be stressful, you’ll probably get caught out and the client will not be happy with a shoddy result or one that takes a long time because you need to learn too many new things. The worst case scenario is that you fail hard and have to refund the client, wasting both your time and theirs and costing yourself that time multiplied by your hourly rate.

4. Can You Manage Your Own Time?

Part of delivering results is getting tasks done at the right times. Whether you’re contracting, working with a small team or delivering direct to your own clients the work needs to be done on time. Other tasks may depend on your work and this can be critical, depending on your industry.

Not delivering on time will quickly gain you a bad reputation so make sure you manage your time and also allow enough time for each task. It’s tempting to cram things into your schedule but things often happen to disrupt your plans so factor time for that in as well!

Summary

In this article we’ve covered a few areas that can help you freelance successfully: Being available now and in the future, delivering results and staying on schedule. Covering these points will improve your reputation, increase your profits due to repeat business and referrals and reduce your stress levels.