Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and most of the world in quarantine, a lot of working professionals are getting used to working from home.
But a certain set of professionals (Online Freelance Career Professionals) have been doing that forever.
With the rise of the gig economy, Freelancing has taken an important spot in the lives of Millennials and Gen-Z’s.
It takes a lot of bravery to quit a regular job that pays you a fixed salary at a fixed time, and instead go for a profession that does not give you certainty on those fronts (at least when you start).
Freelancing has its own pros and cons, but if done correctly, it brings a plethora of opportunities, income and peace.
There are no bosses, no rules & regulations, no fixed timings of work, and no travelling to work for 2 hours just to work for more 9 hours.
You may have heard about a lot of examples of successful freelancers who have succeeded in their respective fields, despite the adversities.
And you might have got really pumped about the idea of Freelancing after hearing those stories.
Regardless of this being a lucrative profession option, not everyone makes it big and sustains it as a lifelong career.
But what could be the reason behind different people achieving different levels of success in freelancing?
To clear some air, freelancing is often considered as going online and making your profiles on the various popular freelancing websites.
It requires more than just skillset to achieve your goals. Prior to pursuing your dream, you have to go past the obstacles.
So, if you are planning to become a freelancer, you need to know if it is the right choice for you or not.
There’s nothing in this world called free lunch. You need to work to earn anything. And that is why there are some things you should consider before moving into full time freelancing profession.
[If you have made up your mind to become a freelancer, or are already one, we have created a Portfolio/Pitch PPT template. It is completely customizable and wholistic. Download it for free by clicking on the banner below]
Would it be a good idea for you to get into an Online Freelance career?
It doesn’t make a difference in terms of what kind of a freelancer are you (a freelance author, a freelance blogger, a freelance designer, a freelance filmmaker etc).
There are some personality traits that you must possess to be effective and to make it your profession.
You have to be Self-Disciplined
Online freelance career gives you the opportunity to become your own boss. This sounds exciting, and yet; you should act naturally disciplined.
You must be extremely true to your work. When you are a freelancer who works online, it is easy to get distracted with everything around you both offline and offline.
Time is truly money and you have to be singularly focused on your work.
The most significant part of freelancing is to complete the projects within the pre-decided deadline. Therefore, “Time Management” is a critical skill you must possess.
At first, when you start, it might not seem like that big a deal, but when you go ahead in your career and have a lot of work coming your way, you might find yourself spread too thin and find yourself not completing projects in time.
If you stay structured and organized, there is a high chance you will succeed.
You have to be Self-Driven
When you are employed with an organization, there are a lot of things that can keep you motivated – promotions, salary appraisals, colleagues turned friends and employee engagement activities.
However, when you work alone (from home in most cases as a freelancer), there are times when you could feel inadequately motivated.
The common reasons are – low productivity, bad days with the clients, issues with friends or family, feeling of stagnancy and more.
These variables can drag you away from being productive at work. If you are someone who does not have the stomach for prolonged rainy days or extreme professional manoeuvres, Freelancing might not be the optimum choice for you.
A smart thing a lot of online freelance career choosers generally do is that they keep their working-desks filled with things that inspire them.
It could be your family’s picture, or a quote you believe in, a poster of your favourite celebrity/business personality or an award you won in the past.
I, for one, sometimes watch a movie that makes me feel good or motivated. Some of my favourites are – Silicon Valley, The Pursuit of Happiness, Interstellar, The Social Network and a few more.
You need to have a plan for Future
Regardless of what type of freelancer are you, planning for the future always helps.
Now, I understand that the plans don’t always work out the way you want them to.
But it is good to start your journey with a map in hand rather than running around cluelessly.
Your plan should include financial forecasts, To-Do lists, which projects to take up, which projects to decline etc.
You should be certain what’s next is in your “Plan for the day”, rather than starting something randomly, then jumping on to something else and eventually completing none of those.
There is always help available – in the form of free and paid tools – that can increase your productivity and save a lot of your time.
Below is a list of some of the most popular tools that are used by freelancers (who have chosen the online freelance career) to design, coordinate with other teams, manage projects, file transfer, invoicing and much more.
Top tools used by Freelancers to increase productivity in 2020
You need to know how to Get and Manage Clients or Customers
Of course, you need to manage your motivation, stay disciplined and work as per proper planning. But in an online freelance career, also need to manage your clients.
The first step is to get new clients that you would enjoy working with. And this is where your Business Development and Marketing skills come to use.
Once you have identified the right clients and have generated leads, you need to get in touch with them, pitch to them and convince them you are the best person to do this job.
The next step is to fix upon the pricing. You have to quote the right price for your Freelancing services.
You can use our free Freelance Pricing Calculator to get help. It is really simple to use! Its lifetime subscription comes free with our “Stop Working for Peanuts” E-Book Bundle – The ultimate guide to help you start as a Freelancer.
Remember, each client is different – some are extremely pleasant to deal with, and some, well, not as much. But each client teaches you more about business than anything else would.
If you keep your ego to lurk around in your online freelance career, you are going to find it challenging to deal with a lot of clients. You need to keep it aside to succeed as a freelancer.
You need to learn to Manage Cash Flow
Maybe it was always your dream to go solo and become a freelancer, but you still need to make money out of it. It is a business, not a hobby.
This is why you need to have a plan before you quit your job to get into full time freelancing. You need to have savings in place that can sustain you at least for a few months.
Once the cash flow begins, start and try to diversify it. A rule I learned during my agency life was – never put all your eggs in one basket – which means never rely on a maximum of your income on just one or two clients. That’s a very risky situation to be in.
You need to have a Kickass Portfolio
To create confidence amongst your potential clients, you have to have a great looking portfolio that shows who you are, what amazing work have you done in the past, and why you are the right person for the job.
If you have no access to projects from your network, you can start building your showcase work by making accounts on websites like Freelancer.com, Upwork, Fiverr.
You must make a Portfolio PPT deck in both Desktop and Mobile resolution that can be sent and presented to clients to showcase your work. A lot of conversations that move forward (or don’t) will depend on this portfolio PPT.
You can download a free Portfolio PPT Template for Freelancers here.
Simultaneously, you should also try building your portfolio as a website. WordPress makes it easy for any freelancer to get their portfolio site up and prepared with little effort.
Apart from showcasing your work on the website, you can also start writing a blog that will probably position you as a thought-leader and attract inbound leads via search traffic.
Having your own lead generation for freelance business is advisable as you cannot always rely on third-party platforms (like Freelancer or Upwork or Fiverr).
These sites put you in a blood-bath where most freelancers compete on price. You don’t want to play that game for long. You want to compete on value. And you want to build long term business relationships with clients.
Hopefully, this article will give you enough things to evaluate if you want to become a freelancer in 2020.
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