The Secrets of Freelance Success: A 10-Step Plan that Works
Discover how you can fast track your way to a great income and find high-paying freelance writing jobs, design, jobs, programming jobs and more.
From Zero to Busy Freelancer in 10 Simple Steps
Who the heck wants to commute to some rotten job somewhere, and spend your days stuck in a cubicle or a factory? Not me, for sure. That’s why after a few years of doing the corporate day job thing, I struck out on my own.
I set myself up in business as a freelance writer, and I never looked back. I was able to earn more as a freelancer than I did in my day job, even though I was working fewer hours per week. Better still, I was doing this working from home, according to my own schedule.
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How to Launch a Freelance Career in 10 Easy Steps
Freelancing offers a fantastic lifestyle, and if that is what you want, then you are in the right place. In this article, I am going to show you exactly how you can launch your freelance career, starting today. Based my years of experience of what works – and what doesn’t’ work – in freelancing, here is my 10-step guide to getting your freelance career off the ground.
Step 1 - Make the Decision to Start
This is the biggest and most important step. Many people toy with the idea of starting their own business, but never actually get around it. There are always reasons why they should postpone the decision until next week, or next month….or next year.
Procrastination is not only the thief of time, it will kill your freelance career stone dead, too. Tomorrow never comes – so start today.
Step 2 – Define Your Value Proposition
Sit down and think about what freelance service you are going to offer to potential customers. Freelance writing is an option for almost everyone, but if you have design or programming skills, you can offer those, too. Or perhaps you want to provide virtual assistant services, or search engine optimization skills.
Think hard about your strengths, and the opportunities in the market. Then when you have figured out what is right for you, make the decision to get started right away. And that means today!
Step 3 - Work on Your Brand
One mistake that freelancers often make is not creating a true brand. They still see themselves as workers, not entrepreneurs. But if you want to really succeed as a freelancer, you need to create a brand identity for yourself.
That means you need a business name that will work across all social media, and which represents the kind of services you offer. You need a logo and identity to give yourself a recognizable branding. Don’t worry, this need not be expensive. I have had great logos done on Fiverr.com for just five bucks. You can also get quality work at low price on services such as Freelancer.com.
Step 4 – Create Your Website
In today’s world, your website will be the heart of your marketing campaign. Prospective customers will want to view your website to check out samples of your work, find out more about you, and find out how they can get in touch.
If you have never started a website before, there is no need to panic. Today’s technology makes it both simple and cheap. Check out my tutorial on how to start a blog, and you can be up and running very quickly.
Be sure to showcase some of your best work as a portfolio on your website. If you don’t have any existing client work to show off, then create some!
Be sure to create a profile on LinkedIn, too. In the business world, this is the most important social network, and a strong profile can work very much in your favor.
Step 5 – Promote Like Crazy
The next step is to leverage all your existing contacts. After all, you never know when a friend of a friend might be in need of the kind of services you offer.
So you need to be shameless and extroverted here. Get onto all your social media channels and let everyone know that your new business is launches. And don’t be afraid to ask for business. Create a special offer, such as 10% off for anyone who starts a project with you in the next week.
Step 6 - Sign up with the Major Freelance Marketplaces
There are now many freelance marketplaces online where you can sign up to find freelance jobs. It’s true that the quality of the jobs available may vary, and sometimes rates can be forced down because of competition between freelancers.
But don’t let these issues put you off. There are some great jobs to be found in these marketplaces, often with high-paying clients. If you have exactly the skill set and experience that a particular client is looking for, you can win quality work through these sites.
Make sure you complete your profile and add examples of your previous work. Work hard on both of these elements so that you stand out to clients who are browsing through perhaps dozens of bidders.
Step 7 - Get Busy Bidding on Projects
Don’t make the mistake of just sitting around waiting for freelance projects to fall in your lap. It ain’t gonna happen. You need to get serious about bidding on projects.
Check the freelance marketplaces every day for new projects and opportunities. Get your bid in early, and give a detailed response. Make sure your bid is personal to that prospective client, showing how you will solve their problem. Remember, it’s not about what you can do…it’s about what you can do for them.
Step 8 - Engage with Prospects
When a prospective client gets in touch with you, be sure to engage them in a conversation about the project. Demonstrate that you are actively interested in getting a result for them, and show how you will do it. Remember that people buy from suppliers they trust – so you must work on building up that relationship and creating a level of trust.
Step 9 - Exceed Expectations
When the time comes to do the work, make sure you do it well. Very well. Of course, it goes without saying that you should hit the agreed deadline, and deliver everything that is expected.
But try to go one step further. Deliver the project a day or two ahead of schedule. Include an extra bonus that the client wasn’t expecting – maybe some alternative headlines or design ideas. Your aim is to validate the client’s decision to hire you.
Step 10 - Ask for Referrals and Repeat Business
Finally, remember that finishing the job is not the end of the story – it is just the beginning. If you delight your clients, they will be happy to recommend you to other potential clients. Don’t sit back and wait for this to happen, though – be bold and actively ask your clients for referrals. Then follow them up and introduce yourself.
Every client is a potential source of repeat business, too. So be sure to stay in touch and maintain a strong relationship that brings more business your way in the future.
A Strategy That Works
I know the above strategy works, because that is exactly how I built up my own freelance practice a few years ago. All you need is one good client to make everything fall into place. So get cracking right now and get your freelance business off the ground.
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