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Tips for Thriving as a Freelancer

Last updated on December 20th, 2021 at 12:21 pm

There are a number of upsides to being a full-time freelancer. Setting your own schedule, deciding which jobs are worthy of your time and essentially acting as your own boss are just a few of the benefits of turning freelancing into a career. Of course, this isn’t to say that everyone who earns their livelihood through freelancing is equally successful. As is the case with any job, the level of success you’ll enjoy as a freelancer is dependent upon a number of factors.

Create a Sense of Structure 

If you’ve spent most of your professional life in formal workplaces, going full-time freelance may leave you feeling an absence of structure. Since many businesses begin and end the workday at specific times, seasoned office workers are liable to face some degree of difficulty in setting their own hours. So, if you tend to work best in a structured setting, simply create a manageable work schedule for yourself. As is the case when reporting to a formal workplace, this will entail commencing and concluding each workday at predetermined times. Just make sure your schedule gives you enough time to comfortably complete your projects by their respective due dates. 

Avoid Overloading Yourself with Work 

Many freelancers are stuck in a constant state of feast or famine. When business is good, it’s very good, and when business is bad, it’s virtually nonexistent. Unsurprisingly, freelancers caught in this cycle have a tendency to overload themselves with work during profitable periods to account for the loss of income they suffer during downtimes. 

While there’s nothing wrong with hard work, it’s important to avoid biting off more than you can chew. Taking on too many projects at once stands to compromise the quality of the work you produce and impact your ability to meet deadlines – both of which stand to lose you clients. Turning in subpar work or blowing off a deadline is far more likely to draw the ire of a client than saying no to a project you lack the bandwidth to take on.     

Always Honor Deadlines 

A proven ability to meet deadlines is among the primary qualities many clients look for in freelancers. A freelancer is only as good as their word, and if you’re unable to meet deadlines you’ve committed to, most clients are unlikely to use you more than once. Outside of emergency situations and dramatically altered client expectations, you should regard all deadlines with tremendous importance. 

To help ensure that you’re never in danger of missing a deadline, avoid agreeing to deadlines you can’t realistically honor. For example, if you currently have a plethora of other projects on your plate, don’t take on a job that stands to throw your entire work schedule into disarray. So, if you’re unable to commit to a deadline due to prior commitments or the project in question requiring a more manageable timetable, make this known to the client before accepting new work. This may result in you needing to turn down a job, but it’s equally possible that the client will work with you in determining a more workable deadline.  

Keep the Lines of Communication Open 

All freelancers should be easy to get in touch with during normal business hours. Providing clients with a work email and phone number will ensure that they’re able to keep you abreast of any new developments in the projects you’re working on and reduce the likelihood of miscommunications. 

Additionally, since communication is a two-way street, you should make a point of contacting clients throughout every phase of your various projects. This will keep you on the same page and ensure that client expectations are meticulously met at every turn. Should the need arise to contact multiple clients at once, consider using software for sending and receiving SMS.  

It’s not hard to see why so many people are opting to turn freelancing into a full-time occupation. In addition to being a great way to avoid the daily grind of office life, being your own boss is ideal for people who are caring for small children or attending to other important family obligations. However, just because freelancing is convenient doesn’t mean it’s easy. Success in this field is far from a guarantee, and if you aren’t careful, you may find yourself bereft of clients, work and income. Whether you’ve been freelancing for years or are new to the game, the pointers discussed are likely to come in handy. 

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