Do you want to be a freelancer for many years to come? If so, you’re not alone. The majority of freelancers (67 percent) plan to freelance for more than 10 years, according to a survey of 643 freelancers by the website, Contently.net.
However, freelancing isn’t always easy. Many freelancers start enthusiastically but then find it difficult to carry on when they encounter obstacles, such as cash flow problems or a lack of clients.
The freelancers who overcome these obstacles survive and then thrive on a long-term basis.
If you’d like to develop a freelance business that’ll thrive over time, here are five areas to focus on. Pave the way towards long-term freelance success by devoting some time to each of these areas each week.
Market Your Services
Finding new clients is the largest challenge faced by most freelancers (51.5 percent), according to a survey by the website Freelancermap.com.
With this in mind, it’s essential to market your services regularly to achieve long-term success.
If you market your freelance business every week, it will pay dividends over the longer term because you’re likely to gain a steady stream of new clients.
If, however, you only market your services when you have little or no work, it may take some time to find new clients, which will add to the stress you feel during these times.
Even if you’re busy with work, spend at least 10 minutes a day or 1 hour a week marketing your services by:
· posting on social media websites and connecting with potential clients,
· contacting potential clients by email, phone or in person,
· attending a business networking meeting or a business workshop,
· updating your website or business blog.
Produce High Quality Work
If you produce high quality work that exceeds your clients’ expectations, they’ll be much more likely to consider you for future projects.
In addition, if your clients are particularly pleased with your work, they’ll recommend you to other people in their industry.
They’ll also be happy to supply written testimonials that you can show to potential clients and publish on your website and LinkedIn profile. Remember to ask for a short testimonial each time you complete a project for a new client.
Meet Your Deadlines
Almost all freelance projects are time-sensitive and clients are under pressure to complete them on time.
Therefore, it’s very important to clarify your deadlines at the beginning of an assignment. Make sure that dates for the delivery of each part of the project are fixed in writing.
When agreeing deadlines, give yourself at least a few days’ leeway so that you’ll still be able to complete your assignment on time if you’re unable to work for an unforeseen reason.
It’s better to negotiate a longer deadline and deliver early than to agree to a shorter deadline and deliver late. Organize your time well so that you can meet all your deadlines.
Sometimes, with the best will in the world, it becomes impossible to meet a deadline.
As soon as you know this will be the case, tell your client and discuss a solution. The client may be willing to extend the deadline or they may ask another freelancer to complete part of the project so that it’s finished on time.
Build Up Good Relationships with Clients
Clients are looking for freelancers who are reliable and easy to work with.
Ensure all your communications with your past, present, and potential clients are pleasant, courteous, and professional.
Try to go the extra mile for good clients and do some additional work or a rush project for them when necessary. The extra effort you put in will increase their trust in you and may lead to larger or more frequent projects.
When you’re not working with a particular client, keep in touch by catching up with them on social media or sending occasional emails. If, for example, you read an article that one of your clients may be interested in, you could forward it to them.
Manage Your Finances
Managing a variable income is essential for long-term success as a freelancer.
Peaks and troughs in your income are inevitable.
If you make a lot of money one month, it’s important to save a portion of it so that you’ll be able to pay your bills in a month when you don’t earn as much.
It’s also essential to save up for your tax bill by transferring a percentage of each payment you receive into a separate bank account.
Maximize Your Chances of Long-Term Success
Life as a freelancer is ultimately rewarding but all freelancers go through challenging times.
To maximize your chances of long-term success, focus on improving your performance in each of these areas by setting yourself weekly goals.
Over time, your freelance business will go from strength to strength and you’ll achieve your objective of long-term freelance success.