In the modern, technology-driven world, building a successful career as an online freelancer is not only feasible, but potentially highly lucrative as well.
The constant rise in demand for outsourced services of every kind from companies and individuals alike create an opportune environment for freelancers to develop their skills, obtain valuable contacts in the industry, and plan for a financially independent future.
However, given the staggering rise of the freelance industry in recent years, the competitive environment has only become more demanding and unforgiving, requiring constant learning and progress in the chosen field.
Here are the five insights you want to take to heart in order to become a better freelancer.
1. Know Your Worth
The common problem many freelancers face that prospective clients readily exploit is the lack of realistic self-worth in the competitive arena. Too often during the negotiation process, the client will bid below the lowest standard rate in the industry, especially if they sense that the freelancer is new to the market, forcing you to accept.
If you want to become better as an independent professional, you need to know your worth and never settle for less except when the client offers favorable long-term conditions.
A great way to set your non-negotiable rates is to research your competition, and assess the minimal, average, and highest rate in the industry.
From there, you can safely work your way up the ladder, and slowly increase your worth over time while simultaneously gaining positive reviews from your clients.
2. Sign on the Dotted Line
No matter how well you know the client, or how highly recommended a future client comes, there is no excuse for not signing or renewing a contract. After all, a contract with clearly defined guidelines, timetables, and various other terms is there to safeguard your rights as a freelancer as well as the rights of the client.
Without a strong contract in place, you are not only susceptible to fraud, but you are basically left to fend for yourself against a potentially unreasonable client.
Instead of counting on peoples’ righteousness and decency, better create your own standard contract that both parties have to sign prior to starting their collaboration.
Remember, you can never be too careful; and besides, setting up a contract will show the client that you are an experienced freelancer worthy of their time and investment.
3. Broaden Your Horizons
In the world of freelance careers, settling for a single job would be a waste of precious opportunities. Unlike their desk-job counterparts, freelancers have the unique prospect of exploring new career paths and broadening their horizons, learning new skills, and diversifying their portfolio greatly.
This is your golden opportunity to find new job opportunities and earn some extra cash on the side in your spare time.
Nowadays, there are numerous creative ways to make money online you might have not even though about in the past. New and exciting industries are constantly evolving in the wake of the ever-fluctuating consumer market, and you can tap into this source of wealth by simply exploring what the new demand in the market entails.
From being a part-time virtual assistant, to sharing your opinions with respected brands, and selling your stuff online, the possibilities are endless, so don’t stop looking for ways to diversify your income streams.
4. Go Above and Beyond the Call of Duty
There is nothing a client loves to see more than a devoted employee and an active member of their little community. And the same goes if you’re a freelance professional working from the other side of the globe – the point is to always strive to achieve more, and elevate your value and worth in the eyes of your clients.
While making the time to do more than is currently asked of you is certainly not easy, you can aim to squeeze in some extra work at least once a week for your top-grossing clients. This way, you will not only set yourself up for a raise, but a better review as well.
Who knows, maybe a life-changing recommendation will follow – fingers crossed.
5. No Down Payment? No Deal
If you haven’t experienced it for yourself by now, don’t worry, you will. Countless freelancers end up not getting paid by their clients and doing the work for free without ever realizing they are going to get double-crossed once the project is half-done or even finished.
This is why you should try to win yourself a down payment whenever possible, in order to ensure you’re not working for free at any point.
Getting paid upon completion and client satisfaction is not only unethical and considered bad practice, but it’s also not a very good way to ensure positive cash flow on a weekly basis.
A down payment is particularly important when you’re working with new clients, while your established clientele can enjoy a special, “friendlier” set of terms.
The global market is rich with experienced freelancers permeating every industry, so it’s important to look for effective ways to cut the curb and surpass the competition in order to secure a successful future. With these five valuable insights, you will have no problem becoming a better freelancer and paving the road to long-term success.