The world of freelancing is tough. It’s hard to know if you’re doing it right or wrong. If your bids are good enough or if they’re even being read. It is a shouting match and your voice blends in with the rest of them. There is no clear-cut formula for success, and your e-mail inbox stays un-flooded with messages of people trying to hire you.
Luckily for you though, we’ve looked at some of the most successful freelance workers and broken down their habits to help you get ahead. They could be just the thing that is standing between you, and freelance success.
Successful freelancers understand what they need to say about themselves, and do it effectively. They know their strengths, weaknesses and why the work they’re bidding for fits them perfectly (even if in reality it doesn’t). Understanding that ‘Umm…’ is not an acceptable strategy, they perfect what they need to say before they’ve even made a bid.
Successful freelancers don’t deal in what they do; they deal in why they do it. Your Average Joe could potentially string together a blog post, take photographs or design a website – we see it all the time on the Internet. Instead, they define why they do their work, why they are devoted to the cause, why they are the perfect choice.
In the words of Simon Sinek, ‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’.
Why sets you apart.
Successful freelancers constantly strive to organize themselves: their workspace, their professional lives and their networks. Being organized allows them to make the most of their time. They have the files where they need to be, the time to do it and the contacts they want in exactly the right place.
Jumping between different jobs can be confusing, time consuming and cancerous to your productivity. Habitual organisation allows everything to happen, with no detriment to the work.
Successful Freelancers portfolios are their best friends. They contain the pinnacles of their work, their references and the answer to the question ‘why?’ all in one organized, well displayed place. They understand that their time is better spent in talking to the client, than trying to prove their worth – and their last job could be just the thing to do that.
Keeping on top of your portfolio allows you to approach jobs knowing that nobody else in the mix can prove themselves as well as you can.
Successful freelancers go beyond trying to find a niche. They avoid the mainstream flows of jobs, and look for the gaps around it. Whether that means working with smaller companies, obscure jobs or doing something they’ve never done before.
The gaps in the market are where they make a name for themselves, and generate a lot of their income.
Don’t just try to find a niche and hope things happen, look for the gaps.
Successful freelancers do not believe in ‘That’ll do’. A job half done is a job not done at all. If anything, 100 percent completion is only just good enough. They know to be successful; they have to go above and beyond what is expected.
Find ways to make your work even more personal to the client and better than they were hoping for. This is where you make a name for yourself.
Successful freelancers understand that rejection is part of life. Not every job, topic or client is going to fit you perfectly. It is not personal, it is not a vendetta against you and it not because you were not good enough: it’s because the fit just wasn’t right.
Rejection does not deter a successful freelancer; it serves as fuel to make sure that the next time – they are the right person for the job.
Featured photo credit: Ken Teegarden via flickr.com
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