Have you ever worked in a place where everything is about branding? How you dress, what you say, what you do and even your social life all have to be similar to the brand equity that you represent. In freelancing you promote your own brand, your own voice, you get your own raises and bonuses and you determine your whole brand image. I’ll take up some paragraphs of your time to tell you what freelancing is all about so bear with me.
Here are the main points of the article:
1) The Starting Point of Freelancing
2) A journey through what you need in freelancing…
4) … And how to tackle the challenges
3) Plus a small incentive to cheer you up
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The Starting Point
Ah, the life! The coffee shop buzz in the morning with many comers and goers buzzing by. Your laptop allows you to occasionally peak at the morning rush while picking up on work in your own pace and rhythm. But how do you know if freelancing is the right career for you?
Freelancing is an amazing way to know yourself and to understand your work nature because you have to deal with so many things that you didn’t encounter before, including different personalities until you manage to find those clients that you click with and with whom you can have a long term partnership, the ultimate goal being driving constant work.
What You Need in Freelancing and How to Tackle the Challenges
There’s at least a hundred things that you will need along the way, but let’s get it all down to 7 of them.
Challenge #1: Being a Fighter
You have to be a fighter and understand that not every application is going to get you a job, especially in the beginning. It’s a trial and error game in the first months: explaining to some clients what you do and how much your work is worth and letting them know that no matter the exposure of your work, it won’t be paying for the job you do for him/her.
Challenge #2: Perseverance is the Golden Key
Now we start to speak of perseverance, because while dealing with different types of clients, when they are unsatisfied with the end result or they simply decide that they want something else, you have to have the power to fight through the feeling that all was in vain. This is where you take a step back and take a chill pill. Time to start over.
Challenge #3: Creativity and Spirit
We’re not done yet. When everything fails, get creative. No one stops you now from innovating, there’s no one there to tell you that you can’t or don’t have the authority to take such a decision. Trying never hurt anyone, much less in this back and forth kind of job so take a deep breath and start letting your gut take over every now and then. Some people don’t know what they want unless they see it so you might need to go ahead and suggest or show them some of your ideas in spite of very rigorous instructions. In the end, you are the expert on the matter and even though some don’t realize, nor do they admit that is why they hired you in the first place.
Challenge #4: Project Management and Accounting
Time goes by and projects start to pile up, recurring jobs fill your time and you find out that you are a bit overwhelmed with everything. This is the time that you need to start being an organizing freak. Tools such as Due.com can come in handy when we speak of more than 8 clients (maybe even sooner depending on the type of freelancing that you do). This helps you keep everything in order, gives your branding an extra nudge through its invoicing system and keeps track of your performance (nothing better than a boost of confidence once every couple of months when we see that income growing right?).
Challenge #5: The Journey from Less to More
[Tweet “Less is more in time in terms of hours worked versus revenue.”]
No one will get rich overnight. You have to build slowly, maybe you will start first with many clients with almost to nothing paid jobs till you manage to put together a portfolio. Then, as you grow and gain experience, you’ll start lending fewer jobs that pay better, start to know less difficult clients and build long term business partnerships. It’s a journey.
Challenge #6: Your Own Brand Ambassador
Ever held a pitch? Well it’s time to start marketing yourself in the mirror. It will feel stupid no? If so, face your screen and start typing. Be your greatest brand ambassador, promote yourself like there’s no one better out there for what the client needs ( of course, as in product branding, an overpromise can ruin your image so be sure you can live up to what you say about your capabilities).
Challenge #7: The Continuous Learning Curve
Yesterday’s information is no good. Not anymore. Keep learning. Your customers usually expect the best, the newest and the greatest information that is out there. It varies depending on the domain but generally, that’s how it goes. Use the social media streams, and start following pages with fresh and useful information to you in order to stay informed and make sure you’re always up to date.
To Sum it All Up
You need to know a couple of things about yourself before getting started in this field and if you have a steady job, don’t quit just yet. Wait a while to build up the income and get a realistic feel of how your cash flow will be throughout the year. What I mean to say is that you should be patient, seeing first how well you fit with this type of work and to end this on a funny note, here is a video that depicts a couple of the freelancing dreams. Good luck!