Freelancing is a rapidly growing career opportunity, simply because many people like the independence of being their own boss and being in charge of their own workload and salary. But freelancing requires more than just technical competence in your field — it requires a certain level of business savvy as well. Here are just a few modern tips to help new freelancers hit the ground running and achieve their career goals.
Make the Most of Technology
It should come as no surprise that technology has come a long way when it comes to tools for freelancers. There are the basic tools, like Google Drive, Skype, and PayPal, but there are also countless apps designed to improve freelancer efficiency. Trello, for example, is a communication tool that’s ideal for collaboration and project management.
“It uses visual boards, where users can create to-do items called ‘cards’. Cards can then be moved around different boards as users work on them. Team members can comment on cards, put a due date, label it with different colors, and insert images and stickers. Trello’s free plan lets you create unlimited boards, team members and upload unlimited attachments up to 10 MB each,” writes Evutec.
If given the choice of only being able to move one application to the cloud, 25% of respondents would choose storage, and fortunately, Trello offers free connectivity with a cloud storage account like Dropbox or Google Drive. Larger teams may require plans that cost money, but for smaller teams, it’s the perfect starter collaboration tool. But it’s far from the only option — whichever types of technology you choose to support your freelancing work, make sure they’re conducive to productivity and efficiency. About 51% of the U.S. workforce is not engaged, but making the most of technology is one of the best ways to stay focused and actively engaged in whatever project you’re working on.
Don’t Neglect Your Health
In the midst of all of your clients, networking efforts, and tight deadlines, it can seem nearly impossible to take good care of yourself. But as is the case with any job, self-care is absolutely crucial to maintaining a productive work schedule and frame of mind. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and maintain a frequent exercise schedule, even if — no, especially if — you’re working behind a computer 12 hours a day. Take care of your eyes, too — about 75% of U.S. adults wear prescription sunglasses, but regardless of any corrective or protective eyewear you may use, it’s always healthy to take frequent breaks to prevent eye strain and reduce the risk for headaches and migraines. Above all, don’t put your health at risk just to make clients happy.
Start a Blog/Website
Finally, if you haven’t already, starting your own blog or website is one of the best ways to attract new clients and work on your writing or communication skills. If you choose to start a blog, know that it can be about pretty much whatever you want, but it should be something you’re passionate about. Make timely posts (aim for at least a post every week or two), post links to new articles on your social media pages, and you may be surprised at the traffic that it receives from potential clients and those seeking general information. In fact, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. If your blog posts are well written, are long enough, and convey new information, then before long, you’ll have more confidence and a wider audience than before.
Ultimately, you can’t spell ‘freelancing’ without free, and that’s exactly how the nature of the job truly is. With these tips, you can help maintain your work-life balance, even on the busiest days.
“When you think of freelancing as your own business, you become empowered,” writes Rachel Slifka on Young Adult Money. “You’ll want to work hard to provide the best service possible.”