If you don’t have goals or even a plan in place how do you know if you’re improving? How do you know if week one was any better than week three…let alone week seven? You don’t and if you’re judging success by looking at the money in your bank account, you’re missing out on huge opportunities. Without metrics in place, you’ll just keep moving through grind after grind never truly knowing where you stand. Every freelancer should consider having a plan, goals, and milestones in place from this moment forward. Being a freelancer is like running a business. Having this structure in place keeps you on track and ensures you’ll be making progress throughout your career. Today, we’re going to dive into 3 milestones every freelancer needs.
3 Milestones Every Freelancer Needs
1. Grab at least one sample per job
As a freelancer, you need to constantly prove your set of skills to new prospects. The best way to do this is by having fresh samples to showcase. This is often overlooked when working on gigs. Freelancers tend to move on from job to job without collecting any proof of the work they did. This is bad practice guys.
I highly recommend taking before and after images whenever possible. In some cases, there are no before images to capture. That’s fine. Grab a final image of the work you did and add it to your portfolio. Every gig that you are signed on to execute, you need to grab at least one sample to house in your portfolio. Don’t just treat gigs as an income source, use each job as a stepping-stone for landing the next gig.
Don’t just treat gigs as an income source, use each job as a stepping-stone for landing the next gig. If you do this, you’ll have long term success.
2. Meet the client
The number one objection freelancers face with clients is trust. Hiring freelancers isn’t common, as such there are several unknown factors that might hinder your relationship. Typically, clients and freelancers never meet, let alone step foot in the same room. This is a huge area of concern and at times, can lead to fractures in trust with you and your clients.
Freelancers should aim to create trust with clients 24/7. Here’s the thing, realistically, meeting in person is almost impossible for most freelancers to do with their clients. So what are you supposed to do? I recommend setting up a phone call or Skype session during the halfway or close to the end point of a project.
The reason for the meeting could be a simple progress report and/or Q and A session. Your goal should be to talk with your client and go over the activity that has been going on.
Some of you reading this will be turned off by the idea of meeting with your client in this way. You may prefer to just keep communication through email exchanges. To those that feel this way, remember a huge part of freelancing is networking. Your network often leads to your next gig. Email exchanges will only get you so far. If you’re looking to have a long term career you need to take the steps to ensure a career will be there next month.
3. Expand Your Network
Learn everything you can. Never stop learning. I’m not saying to go out of your way to be a master of every topic, but I am saying become familiar with the ten jobs closely related to yours.
This is extremely vital in being able to work as a team member. Being part of a team is where most freelancers fall short. They are so used to being isolated, working through problems alone, counting on only themselves, that they think their entire career is meant to be this way – aka solo. It’s not.
The best freelancers network. The best freelancers are easy to communicate with and are team players. In this case, it’s on you to network and learn more. Every gig that you work on you should aim to meet at least one person outside of your regular network that you can stay connected with once the job is over. The idea behind this is to exchange knowledge with each other, solutions, and referrals.
Imagine if every job you were on, you didn’t just do great work for your client, but you met someone else on the team that could lead work your way. This means there will be two people in your corner (not counting yourself — we’re counting your client and client team member) helping you find your next gig. Get people in your corner.
Milestones only work if you put them in place and reach for them. The milestones above are completely actionable and very doable for freelancers. Being able to convert on these milestones will open new doors for you.