Take Your Freelancing Career to the Next Level
Freelancing is a career path for the brave and the responsible. Unlike many other jobs, freelancing is entirely self-sufficient. You decide your success; if you can’t cut it then you’re going to lose money and go broke, but if you’re motivated and want to achieve something great, then freelancing can hurl you into six-figure salaries and financial freedom.
It’s the dream that we all want to attain when we switch to a freelancing career. Unfortunately, even after a year or two of freelancing, we’ll start to see cracks in that dream because we’re not making much progress. There are many ups and downs to working from home as a freelancer, but the most frustrating issue is when don’t see progress. Sure, getting a consistent stream of revenue and job security is probably more important than growth, but let’s face it, it sucks to be stuck in the same financial situation for years on end.
So that’s what this article is going to tackle; how to upgrade your freelancing game to the next level. We’ll be going through ways to improve your exposure, get better-paying clients, and find more work that will keep you working.
Don’t undervalue your work
If you’ve been working in an industry for about five years and you’re still charging minimum rates for your work because you’ve only been freelancing for a year, then you need to stop selling yourself short. Freelancers are paid not only for the work they do but the experience they’ve accumulated over the years. You can’t be the budget choice that everyone takes advantage of because you provide great work at low prices. Not only does this put off serious clients who are looking for a great freelancer to work with, it means that you’ll never make progress if you mould yourself into this “budget value” choice for businesses to abuse.
Increase your rates if you feel like you are being under-appreciated. Not only will this draw in serious clients, it will also (obviously) improve your pay rate. If you appreciate repeated business, then you could continue to charge lower rates for a company that gives you regular work. However, if people start to question your decision to raise your rates, then simply tell them that you’ve been working in the industry for many years and that they aren’t paying for the time you spend working, but also your experience that you’ve built up.
Take your portfolio seriously
The only way to get serious clients who are willing to pay more is if you have a great portfolio website and preferably a blog too. If you aren’t a designer yourself or don’t have time to create and manage a website, then there are plenty of website design services out there. Freelancing is a self-sufficient career, but that doesn’t mean you should refuse help that’s out there.
By building a solid portfolio, you have a place for people to check out your work, monitor all of your past projects, and keep up to date with your rates. It will essentially become your personal website that acts much like a business website. It will be your online storefront, the front page to your freelancing career, and the place where people go to contact you and decide if your services are worth purchasing.
It’s important that you place as many projects as you can in your portfolio. Try to include a diverse range of completed work so that you can show off your skills across a wider spectrum instead of simply focusing on whatever you’re good at.
Get out of your comfort zone
It sounds silly to charge people money for something you aren’t comfortable with, but unless you want your content to get stale and repetitive, then you need to branch out and diversify your services. Perhaps your current niche isn’t one that’s making a lot of profit due to the lack of demand, and maybe there is another topic or subject you could work on that is currently trending and awards a lot of money.
Businesses are always evolving; they change the products they sell, their approach to customer service and also the audiences they target. Freelancing should be the same. You should always try to evolve your business by branching out and tackling jobs that you normally wouldn’t. Not only will it teach you new skills to apply to future work, but you’ll get a more diverse portfolio to show off and you’ll be able to accept work from a variety of clients as opposed to just the same few businesses.
A freelancer can’t expect for all of the work to come to them. If you want to upgrade your freelancing game, you need to get out there and try to hook bigger fish. For instance, if you're a freelance writer that specialises in a specific subject, then try to get work from well-known publications by pitching ideas. If you notice a gap in their content or a story that is worth posting on their website, then throw some ideas around and try to contact as many larger publications as possible.
The point of pitching is to give yourself the chance to work with higher-paying clients. This builds experience, it allows you to network, and you’re going to have a better understanding of what freelancing is like for the popular folks that make six-figure salaries and get jobs just by speaking with their friends in the industry. After all, it was probably your dream as a freelancer to work with high-paying clients and prestigious publications, so it’s about time you try and break into that bubble.
In short, freelancing is a bit like being an entrepreneur; you have to take risks in order to grow. You can’t afford to stagnate because the industry will leave you behind and before you know it, all of your knowledge and skills will be outdated as new talent gets introduced into the industry to replace old veterans like yourself. Stay on your toes, keep striving for more, and get out of your comfort zone.
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