Being a freelancer is like being your own boss, and that means a lot of work. But at the end of the day, it just depends on how you go about doing them.
This article is aimed at helping you add some value to your career as a creative professional freelancer, irrespective of your level of expertise. The tips given below might seem repetitive, but it is aimed to act as a remainder to do a workaround of your everyday work-related processes.
Awaken the Creator in You
It is never too late to start working on something that you feel passionate about. If you are just a beginner and have no idea about how your dream industry works, start searching for options and advice from fellow freelancers on the Internet.
A good understanding of the basics and a fair knowledge on tools and software is enough to get you started. Dedicate a rigorous schedule to work towards your ambitions/goals and always remember to stay on the learning curve.
Wait for Your Moment of Recognition
In my case, I wanted to be a freelance logo designer and I started off by learning the tools. I then put them to use by posting my creations in online open contests.
Initially, I was getting a lot of rejections until one fine day when one of my designs was declared the winner. From that moment on, my eagerness to learn and design got multiplied exponentially.
Being a freelancer, it’s very important to understand that you are a career professional as well. As you set your own goals, it’s, therefore, essential that you make your client feel that professionalism. More than your work, you will be remembered for your approach to your client.
- Align your work: This helps you plan your day and prioritize your work.
- Maintain a daily learning routine: Allocate a good amount of time to browse through the Internet to learn new stuff or brush up on any updates in your existing work. It’s always great to read blogs of young minds in your industry to stay up to date.
- Practice Time: Even if you are busting with projects, you must have a practice time. For example, as a freelance creative designer, I would take an inspiring design from the Internet and try replicating it in my system. This way, I understand the intricacies that went into creating that design, which in turn boosts my creativity.
- Communication: Set up a proper communication channel that works best for you. Be prompt in your responses as it will increase your credibility to the clients. Use proper business language and follow strict email writing ethics which will portray you in a better light.
Involve yourself in disciplined activities and always respect time.
It’s Not Always About Money
There is no age for creativity and the ability to produce quality work; it’s not the age but the experience and hard work that matters. Identify what the world is looking for in you, and try to deliver that.
Creating brand value and a brand identity is very important, but at the early stages, it’s better to avoid a rigid focus on just money. Understand what the industry is willing to offer you with your current portfolio and be flexible. This will help you have a vision on where your name should be in the following years.
Try to grasp opportunities initially and start working towards earning credibility and professionalism. This will help you gain a lot of referrals and will boost your pool of returning customers.
Freelancing is Not Cheap
Businesses choose freelancers because they are looking for affordable options. As it’s a mistake to overvalue yourself, it’s equally important that you do not devalue yourself and work for a dead cheap wage.
The value of your business and the quality of work needed has its price to be paid and it’s very essential to arrive at a win-win quote for any project. If you’re forced to work for a meager pay, I would say it’s better to work for free and win the recognition.
For example in my case, I was asked to design a non-profit organization’s logo for a price much lower than I would normally charge, but I worked on it for free. In return, I got a link back to my website from their blog which announced their logo revamp. This way, you can build your business in every way possible.
From a Freelancer to an Entrepreneur
If your goal is not just to stop with freelancing but also to explore opportunities as an entrepreneur, then there are certain things you need to keep in mind
- How long can I work as an entrepreneur?
- What’s my goal?
- How am I going to get clients?
- Do I have a good portfolio to start with for the initial few months/years?
Being an entrepreneur is entirely different from being a freelancer, as it’s not just the skill set you’re selling. You will have coworkers/partners etc. with whom you’ll need to manage the work on a regular basis.
To go that extra mile, particularly in my case as a woman entrepreneur, I would recommend you participate in forums and groups in your industry and be active in them.
Goals | Plans | Path
Once you commit to freelancing or entrepreneurship, it’s important that you draw your path and plan your road to success. It’s very important that you apply strategies, try testing them, and then, adapt to a role that is the most suitable one for your business.
To achieve this, it’s very important that you set goals for your business. Goals can be of three kinds:
- Easy, achievable
- Risky, tricky
- Ones that you feel are impossible
It’s essential that you have a good combination of these goals. Test and apply them in your business to stand out from the crowd.
Try the above points. These will definitely make you disciplined in whatever type of freelancing you decide to pursue. As I already said, “ Respect Time.” This phrase has a lot of secrets hidden in it.
Happy Freelancing! Happy Growing!
About the Author
Anusha Sankar is the Design Lead for ColorWhistle and a freelance logo designer.