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5 Tips To Be A Better Freelancer

5 Tips To Be A Better Freelancer

Freelancing as a career option has become an extremely attractive proposition in recent times. According to a study conducted by software company Intuit, freelancers are expected to constitute at least 40% of the American workforce by 2020. Given the proliferation in the number of freelancers, the competition in this segment too has risen quite significantly. Regardless of whether you are a photographer, a software developer or an Internet marketer, the following tips will help you mold yourself into becoming a better freelancer.

1. Quality Matters; Not Quantity

If you are just starting out as a freelancer, it is quite likely that you would be soliciting job opportunities from online marketplaces like Freelancer.com and Elance.com. It is very natural for you to bid on as many projects as possible. However, a key lesson to learn here is that the quality of bid matters; not the quantity. Try to learn as much as possible about a client’s business, what they do, how they do it, and what is being asked of you. Once you do an in-depth study of the requirements, prepare a short document where you can comprehensively put down all the things that you bring to the table. Bidding is not a numbers game. One high quality bid is more likely to get you the job compared to dozens of low quality bids where you do not take the time to analyze either the client’s requirements or help them understand what your skills are.

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2. Be Clear About Your Offerings

Freelancers bidding for projects are known to be quite secretive about their job processes. For instance, if you are an Internet Marketer who is bidding on an SEO project, the client will naturally want to know what kind of processes you will follow to help their website reach the front page of Google. This communication plays an important role in establishing trust between the client and the freelancer. Use this conversation to clearly mention your strategy. When a potential client trusts you, they are likely to hire you even if your quote is much higher than those from rival bidders.

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3. Surprise Your Client

Clients are normal human beings too. They love surprises. As a thumb rule, always under-promise and over-deliver. Think you can help the client increase revenues by 100%? Only promise 50% in your bid. Surprises need not necessarily be in over-delivering on your targets. You can also take up additional tasks that were not part of the project brief. This demonstrates your tendency to take ownership of projects. It also makes you indispensable over time which is an important factor in establishing a loyal clientele.

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4. Actively Contribute Towards Improving The Product

Unlike what corporate businesses would like you to believe, the products and processes they own are not all thorough and perfect. There are a lot of small but effective business improvements that are overlooked even in the biggest of companies. As a result, your clients will always love a freelancer who goes out of their way to suggest improvements and recommendations. For instance, if you are a developer and believe the business would be better served by making some changes to the project requirement, make it a point to take it to the client. Of course, do not go way out of line; only make recommendations in areas where you are an expert. Clients don’t take it too kindly if you have been hired for a data entry job and you report that their website design is shoddy.

5. Improve Your Communication Skills

As a freelancer working remotely, one of your vital assets is communication (oral and written). Language plays an important role in establishing your authority. If English is not your primary language, enroll yourself in one of the popular English language classes in your neighborhood. Even if you are fluent in the language, common typographical errors always create a bad impression in the eyes of the client. So make it a point to hone your language skills up before scouting for freelance projects online.

Are you a freelancer? What other tips do you think can make fellow freelancers better? Tell us in the comments. Photo Credit : AbductIt, Flickr

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Anand Srinivasan

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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