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The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Freelancers

The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Freelancers

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.

They Talk About Themselves Effectively.

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.

They Are Immersed In Why They Do It.

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.

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In the words of Simon Sinek, ‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’.

Why sets you apart.

They Are Organized.

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.

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They Constantly Update Their 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.

They Look For Gaps In The Market.

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.

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Don’t just try to find a niche and hope things happen, look for the gaps.

They Always Do More Than What They’re Asked.

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.

They Take Rejection In Stride.

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.

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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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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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