Pursuing a freelance career can be an excellent way to earn money while working flexibly. You could spend time as a digital nomad, working while you travel the world. Many parents work as freelancers from home while their children are young, reducing the need for expensive childcare. Some people even work as freelancers around other jobs, to earn extra income. This can be a great way to earn doing something that you love and feel passionate about. Others develop home-based business ideas so that they can start working from the convenience of their home.
A freelance career has many positives, and can be a great way to work for yourself, achieve a great work-life balance, and make money while improving your skills and talents. But, it’s not all good.
Freelancing can be lonely for one thing. Many freelancers, especially those who have previously worked in busy atmospheres, or with constant customer interaction find that they become isolated and even suffer from mental health issues.
It can also be hard to build your business. More so if you are a new freelancer. There’s a vast difference between making a little side income taking on the odd freelance job, and working as a full-time freelancer that needs to earn a full-time income. Without a contract, there’s no guarantee of regular employment or earning. Without boosting your business and finding ways to gain regular work, and long-term clients, you can feel as though you are always looking for work. It can be frightening, more so if you’ve got a family to support and a mortgage to pay. You can feel as though you are letting people down, or failing to provide. Always jumping from one freelance gig to the next, desperately hoping to find work without a big gap between jobs can be demoralising, and you might find that there are times when you consider giving it all up.
Instead of throwing away what could be an enjoyable and profitable way to work, let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can boost your freelance career when you feel stuck.
Prioritise Learning in Your Freelance Career
A lot of freelancers get started with no formal qualifications or experience. That’s one of the best things about freelancing. You don’t need to have a degree or training to get started. You can apply for work with a little talent and time. Many freelancers turn their hobbies into careers and find ways to make money from things that they enjoy doing.
But, that doesn’t mean that learning won’t help you to boost your freelance career. An online MBA organizational development, a course in social media management, or something more specific to your area of expertise can help you to learn more about what you do, and give your CV a boost when it comes to applying for jobs.
Hone Your Skills
Studying is great, but there’s no substitute for practice. As a new freelancer, you might be working in a way that you never have before. If something has always been a hobby, suddenly offering your services to other people is different. Baking a cake for yourself is very different from selling one to someone else. Whatever service or product you provide, you’ll want to make sure that it’s perfect for helping you to gain a positive reputation.
So, practise. Hone your skills by practising different techniques and styles. See what other people are doing, learn what you can, ask for advice and help and practise as much as you can and your skills will improve.
Get Feedback and Testimonials
For freelancers, word of mouth is vital. You might advertise online, join freelancing websites, and sell yourself on social media, but word of mouth might be how you get most of your work. Do a good job, and people will pass on your name and contact details, and your reputation will grow.
You should also remember that it’s ok to ask for testimonials. If a client is particularly pleased with a piece of your work, ask them to write a short review. You should also take the time to ask all of your clients for some feedback, to help you to see what you are doing well and where improvements could be made.
Start a Website
A website is a fantastic way to gain new clients and keep in touch with old ones. Publishing a website advertising your services as a freelancer gives you a great way to reach a broader audience. But it’s also the perfect place to publish a portfolio of examples of your work, your terms and conditions, and any updates to your business that customers should know about.
It’s also a fantastic place to publish all of those testimonials, a FAQ page, to reduce the amount of time you spend answering questions, and a little personal information, which can help you to connect with your clients in a way that boosts a positive and productive working relationship.
Make the Most of Social Media
Social media is another excellent way to boost your freelance career. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, are no longer just filled with teenagers sharing with friends. They are a place for businesses to grow. Freelancers, bloggers, small and large companies are all using social media to reach new clients, communicate with old ones and advertise themselves. More professional social media platforms like LinkedIn are also beneficial.
Whether you use your personal pages or set up new accounts for your business is up to you and might depend on how you’ve used your accounts up until now. But, whichever you choose make sure you think about how each post could affect your business.
Put Yourself Out There
One thing that many of us hate is putting ourselves out there and selling ourselves. It’s not something we’re used to, and it can make us feel very uncomfortable. But, without pushing yourself forward and actually applying for work, you might find that jobs come in very slowly and your business never grows. Get used to making the first move, and it’ll soon start to feel more natural.
One way to boost your business is to diversify it. As a writer, could you also offer proofreading or editing services? Could you write fiction? Think about related services, and ask yourself if you could offer any.
Stay Proactive in Your Freelance Career
Even when jobs aren’t coming in, don’t stop practising. Work on your website and portfolio so that you never get out of the right habits and mindset.