With 59 million United States workers freelancing in 2020, it’s no surprise that you’re looking for more work. The internet offers an easy way to connect with small companies and work from the comfort of your home. The question is, do you know how to stand out from the crowd in a competitive freelance market?
If you plan to grow your freelance business, it pays to know what the successful freelancers do to succeed. Below are six must-haves that will help you grow a business.
The first big thing you need as a freelancer if you want to find success is a portfolio. Your portfolio will be the first thing potential clients see to judge your work. Your portfolio helps to establish you as a professional.
Make sure your portfolio only contains your best work. Some freelancers build it using all the work they’ve done in the past. While some people can get away with this, it isn’t always the best choice.
Only include work in your portfolio that will help you market yourself. This work should show the different aspects of your work and everything you’re capable of as a freelancer. It can also help you when you learn how to create a project proposal since you can tailor your proposals to specific industries.
- Narrow Niche
Some freelancers make the mistake when starting freelancing of trying to tackle an entire market. If you’re a freelance web developer or writer, this is even more tempting. After all, you can offer services for every industry you can think of.
The problem with doing this is that many companies are looking for talent that specializes in specific industries. If you market yourself as a generalist, you may not pick up work from people looking for freelancers who specialize in their industries.
By narrowing your niche when you start working, you can target your marketing efforts better. Doing this will help you set yourself up as an expert in smaller niches. Once you build a good base of clients in that industry, you can start expanding to other niches once you need to grow.
- Clear Communication
Communication is one of the most important parts of being a freelancer. In most cases, you aren’t going to head to the office to work when you freelance. You’re going to work from the comfort of your own home.
This is a problem if you don’t communicate well with clients. You’re getting paid good money to do a job. Even if you’re getting things done, your clients aren’t going to know that unless you communicate well.
Come up with a communication system that sends feedback to your clients. You should provide regular feedback to let them know what’s going on.
It’s also essential to respond to questions quickly. You don’t have to be available immediately for all inquiries. However, you don’t want to leave people waiting for answers for too long.
- Reliable Clients
The next thing you need for a successful freelance career is reliable clients. There are a lot of people out there that hire freelancers for jobs. Not all of them are reliable.
You rely on your clients as much as they depend on you. When you’re interviewing for a freelance job, the client isn’t only vetting you. It’s also smart to interview the client to ensure that they’re the type of person you want to work with.
Think about the type of person and company you want to work with before looking for jobs. If you decide to freelance because you want freedom from a job, you probably don’t want to freelance for someone that tries to micromanage you.
It’s also crucial that your client communicates well. You want to do the job right the first time and not have to do things over.
Some clients also put off paying for work. If you have problems collecting payments from a company, it might be worth dropping them and moving on to a client you can count on for payment.
- Accounting System
Managing your money is one of the most essential tasks as a freelancer. You don’t have an employer to handle this for you when you’re on your own. You’ll need an accounting system to make sure you have enough to get by.
The first thing to consider is your business expenses. You’re going to need to purchase all your freelance equipment yourself. Make sure you budget for this with your accounting software.
The next big thing to be aware of is taxes. Your employer typically takes taxes out for you when you work a full-time job. However, you’ll be responsible for paying your taxes on your own as a freelancer.
Make sure you keep enough money aside to pay your taxes on the schedule your government requires. Your accounting program can help you figure this out.
- Project Management
The final thing you need to have a successful freelance career is a project management system. The chances are good that you’ll manage multiple clients at once. If you don’t have a way to track your tasks and project progress, you’ll have problems getting things done and keeping your clients updated.
Look into the project management tools on the market to see which ones will work best for your work style. You may need to sign up for free trials for a few products to test each one.
In some cases, you can give your clients access to your project management system. This feature will help your clients stay updated about their project’s status and let them remain involved in the process.
Never Stop Learning When You Build a Freelance Business
The freelance marketplace is more competitive than it has ever been. Now that more people have seen how easy it is to work online, everyone wants to get in on the action. Make sure you have the must-haves for a freelance business above to get a leg up on your competition.
Once you get your freelance process down, you’ll need to work on promoting your services. Head back to the blog to learn a few marketing tactics that will help.