Becoming a freelancer in 2022 is pretty simple, especially if it involves work that can be delivered to your clients online. And while there will always be people who turn to freelance work out of necessity, the majority of workers view it as a choice. According to studies, the majority of freelancers in the US maintain that they became freelancers because they wanted to – in other words, that they purposefully made it their long-term career choice.
However, there is still a common misconception that freelancers make less than their colleagues working similar full-time jobs or that their income is highly unstable. Despite that, most freelancers make more money than they did at their previous job. So what’s the secret of those freelancers? How do they do it, and what can you do to find similar success? Let’s take a look at eight habits that most successful freelancers practice.
1. They Prepare in Advance for Their Freelance Career
Becoming a full-time freelancer right after you’ve quit your job is typically not a great idea. First of all, you haven’t set up your personal brand or portfolio yet, and you haven’t grown your network of clients and contacts. Second, if you don’t have any savings to fall back on, you will be under pressure to start making money right away by accepting subpar clients and projects. Our advice would be to start preparing your freelance business a few months prior to quitting your regular job and to start out as a part-time freelancer.
2. They Have a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Sure, successful freelancers make enough doing the projects that they like, but they also never lose sight of the bigger picture. They know that having a life outside of work is just as important and that taking care of themselves is crucial. So, they take into account anything from having a high-quality mattress so that the quality of their sleep doesn’t suffer to eating a healthy diet in order to stay ready for future challenges. Last but not least, they do their best to keep their social life active.
3. They Have the Right Tools for the Job
We’re not just talking about having a decent computer and an ergonomic chair, although that’s crucial. By this, we mean that successful freelancers make use of the available tools and apps that enable them to make the most out of their skills. We’re talking about tools for remote work, project management software, time-tracking tools, and productivity apps, all of which help them do their job effectively and stay in sync with coworkers and clients regardless of their location. Using the most effective job-specific tools should go without saying.
4. They Never Stop Learning New Skills
By adopting a mindset that drives them to continuously learn new things, successful freelancers are always able to stay on top of industry trends and developments, which makes them very competitive on the market.
For example, freelance content writers can grow their skill sets to include knowledge of SEO, WordPress, or specific digital marketing practices. This enables them to raise their rates, pursue more clients, and even branch out into similar niches, such as social media marketing, technical writing, or copywriting. To be successful, freelancers need to hone their business skills because, after all, they are their own business.
5. They Diversify Their Income
This is one of the key lessons you need to learn as a freelancer. Regardless of how great that client that makes up most of your income is, you can never afford to rely on just them. In case they decide your services are no longer needed, you need other clients to fall back onto.
Successful freelancers also diversify their income by pursuing other ways to earn money with their skills, such as starting a blog, publishing ebooks, or creating courses. Being a freelancer can be tough, and they never lose sight of that fact, which is why they are always prepared for the worst.
6. They Proactively Promote Themselves
Although it’s great if you are getting clients through word of mouth, getting more proactive about marketing your work is always a better option.
How should you go about it? Well, it depends on your niche, but some of the general approaches include showcasing your work and services on social media as well as links to helpful resources. You can also share your knowledge and promote your work by running your own blog or being active on platforms that are relevant to your industry. Building your personal brand goes a long way toward establishing yourself as a thought leader in your line of work.
7. They Have a Clear Plan
Although freelancing does involve hard work, grinding away each day all day is only justified if you’re just starting out and trying to get on your feet. After that, you should have well-thought-out, realistic, and achievable goals. While you should definitely have a long-term goal, the key to reaching it and becoming a successful freelancer is to break it into smaller short-term goals that you can reach on a daily, weekly, or monthly level. This can include obtaining a sufficient number of clients, hitting a specific financial target at the end of the month, or attracting a certain number of visitors to your website or social media accounts.
8. They Know When to Say “No”
This is arguably the most important habit you need to adopt if you are serious about making it as a freelancer. Learning to say “No” to your clients will save you from doing extra work without pay and taking on projects that you hate. It will also save you from burnout, which is all too common among freelancers. Also, learning to say “No” to your friends and family if they decide to pop by unannounced will help you maintain your schedule and help them realize that your work is just as serious as anyone else’s.
As you can see, being a successful freelancer is as much about working hard as it is about building your brand, creating goals for yourself, and taking care of your personal and professional needs. These tips will help you do just that. Good luck!