8 Effective Habits of a Successful Freelancer

There are many reasons why people choose to freelance over government job. Some become more successful than others. There are also many ways to become very successful at freelancing. Here are a few:

1. Practice

Practice makes perfect. Just as the old adage says, improving the skills you already have and continuously learning new skills and techniques will keep you at the top of the freelancing game. No matter what kind of freelance work you do, it is best to write/design/draw/etc. every day. Even if you don’t have work to do every day, it is still important to practice. 

Sites like witmart.com will give you opportunities to hone your skills through contests for logo design, website development, translation writing, and more. Even if you are not awarded, your portfolio will be increased and improved by your consistency in practice.

2. Specialize

Clients and agencies favor well rounded people with a wide set of interests. Your skills should be generally very broad but with one or more areas of deep knowledge. For instance, you may have a broad knowledge of graphic design; but you could focus on logo design. Find your niche area and concentrate on finding jobs there. Over time, after you have completed successful projects, you will be associated as a success within that niche. Perhaps, you could be considered an expert.

3. Network

As the old saying goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” As a freelancer, this couldn’t be truer. The best way to get work is to use your contacts and network—because your well-being depends on it. When starting out, let all of your family and friends know what you are doing. Ask if they know anybody who needs a website (or whatever your profession). If you are going directly after end clients, local business networking events are a great source of contacts. 

The local chamber of commerce is a great way to meet potential customers or gain those all-important referrals. To be successful at networking, you must be able to market your services. One of the best ways of becoming a successful freelancer is to become the person people want to do business with. That way, rather than searching for new clients, they will come to you. To do this you need to build a solid reputation which you do by doing great work and turning past clients into new sources for referrals.

4. Manage your time

As a freelancer, you need to make sure you manage your time well, and keep on top of all the tasks you need to do. Many people expect to do less work as a freelancer then when they were in full time employment. Unfortunately this is not always the truth. As well as doing the work you get paid for, you also need to market yourself, manage your projects, manage your accounts, and everything else that’s associated with freelancing. 

You need to put some boundaries on your time and manage your work-life balance. Keep a persistent schedule to stay on track while setting goals that will give you a clear path of where you are going.

5. Communicate

To be a successful freelancer, it is imperative that you know the importance of keeping the channels of communication open with employers and clients. Ask lots of questions and encourage questions from those you work for. It is important to inform your clients on the progress of your project and accept critical feedback. Communication is critical to get a good understanding of what your client wants. Follow ups should be handled within a timely manner.

6. Be Professional

When you are applying or bidding on a freelance position, you must come across as professional. Because freelancing may not bring many face-to-face meetings, a website is a good platform to display your professionalism. Just as business cards are an expected and valuable piece of traditional business, websites are like an online business card or resume. 

A freelancer should list rates, skills, availability, and a portfolio. Well thought out, professional websites will give you the edge when bidding on a position. It is also important that the content on your website be completely honest—just like a resume. All communication should be kept clear and professional.

7. Get Motivated

What motivates you to stay on task and continue to find work? Successful freelancers don’t stop at one project or client and they have more than one gig. They’re driven to land new clients and achieve higher rates of success and pay. If you’re driven you won’t stop at anything to achieve your goals. You won’t settle for only low paying gigs, but will instead use all your experiences as stepping stones to take it to the next level.

8. Be Passionate

You must love what you do. If you do not have a passion for what you do, it will be more difficult to be motivated to manage your time yourself, do the work, and turn out great results. Passion keeps you focused and motivated. Loving what you do will give you the extra edge against other competing freelancers. 

Your passion will show in your work. Employers will notice; you will get hired. Passion for your work means studying and respecting the agreed upon knowledge within your field. Respect for your work is passion.

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