5 simple ways to become a successful freelancer

October 20, 2008 at 6:49 pm 4 comments

One best thing about being a freelancer is that no two jobs are the same. Each project that we work on brings with it new challenges, new rewards and new personalities. But then there is a dark side of being a freelancer. Freelancers over work and tend to cut down on their social life. Unlike a person who has a regular 9-5 job, freelancers don’t know how much money is going to get deposited into their bank account at the end of every month.

After working as a full time freelancer for a little more than couple of months now, I think following are the five points that I’ll need to focus on in order to become a successful freelancer.

1. Create an incredible client experience

This is the first point that should come into every freelancer’s mind while working for any client. This can be possible only if you treat your client’s work as your own.

Every freelancer should help their clients understand what they are doing and working on. Make sure you keep it simple and clear. One thing that I am really bad at is details. Details matter and if you ignore it will reflect in the confidence that client has on both you and your work.

One word that I heard a lot in my last job was ‘Visibility’. Every manager wanted his/her team to get visibility, recognition and appreciation from the upper management. This holds good for a freelancer too. Let your client know what you’ve been up to so they know that they are getting the quality that they paid for.

2. Don’t cut down on your social life

In order to become a successful freelancer we tend to work round the clock. We have client’s expectation and deadlines to meet and therefore we focus all our energy into it. This will eventually back fire. How long can one work like this? We will ultimately burn out and it reflect on our health.

Make a sure you work during the day and be in bed by midnight every night. The sleep will re-engerise you so that you can give your 100% the next day. Make sure you meet your friends more often and go out with them. Once you know that you have only 8-10 hours a day to work, you’ll be more foused. If you can find time for exercise, it’ll be icing on the cake.

3. Maintain and update your blog

Like a store owner who has a shop in which a customer walks in, for a freelancer his blog is his shop. This is how you can easily market your self. Keep updating your blog with your work and what you have learnt lately. People will read about it and maybe out of 1000 or 10,000 one might need your service. As my uncle says ‘Death and customer can come anytime‘.

You will also need to promote it, otherwise the only person reading it would be you. Some simple ways of promoting it and building a moderate readership would be to

  • Add a link to it in your e-mail signatures
  • Have it on your business card.
  • While leaving a comment on some other site, add a link to your blog with your signature.

4. Learn when to say ‘No’

Don’t take up work just for the heck of it or just because you are desperately looking for some projects. You should answer four basic questions before taking up any work.

  1. Does this excite me?
  2. Will I learn something while working on this project?
  3. Will I make decent money by working on this project?
  4. Will I have networking benefits / better opportunity by working on this project?

If your answer is ‘yes’ for atleast 3 of the above questions then may be its worth taking up the project.

5. Never let the freelancing spark die down

Freelancers are always under constant pressure and high stress levels for a simple reason that there are enough people out their ready to deliver if you fail. Due to this one stops enjoying the freedom that a freelancer has and eventually might start hating it. Never ever let that happen. If you think you are not liking it and are feeling that heat, take a step back. Go out, play some out door game or do something that you enjoy doing the most. This break is going to really refreshing and then when you come back to work you’ll be all energized.

Sometimes you might get frustated because of your work pressure or client interaction. Find someone whom you can talk to about your work and related frustration. This will make you feel light and happy.


Entry filed under: Food for thought, Freelancer. Tags: .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. abhishek  |  October 21, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Well i totally agree with the saying no thing.
    I have seen it everywhere even at work. Before being able to say yes blindly i think it is at time better to say no when u dont have VISIBILITY>

  • 2. pradeep  |  October 24, 2008 at 11:16 am

    jeppeyar is an idiotic tamil boy

  • 3. Ritesh  |  November 2, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Yeah, it is true that we have to be wise to all the above 5 conditions before taking up any freelance projects. And of course, it is true that we have to balance work and play during freelancing just as we would do in a regular job. Maybe you can publish these points in some freelancing website to help out other people.

  • 4. Ibrahim  |  November 2, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Nice analysis…


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