So you’d like to be a successful freelancer?
Being competent in your field by honing your skills is the first step, and equipping yourself with the best trade tools is another. However, one thing a highly successful freelancer should never overlook is developing razor-sharp business skills. You are, after all, an entrepreneur in your own right with having to manage your own work and income, and with the services you offer as a freelancer.
Put yourself in the headspace of a CEO with these top 5 basic business skills you’ll need to succeed. Master these and you’re on your way to making your freelance career fly sky-high!
1. PR & Communication
Winning over a loyal client starts with building rapport. Yes, they gotta like you -- A LOT. To start off, you need to be able to clearly communicate with them in a professional and friendly manner. Being easy to talk to puts employers at ease to keep working with you.
By all means, make sure you understand what they need. Ask questions if you have to and give prompt responses. Additionally, doing them tiny favors that won’t cost you much (or anything at all) is an effective self-promotion. It’s simply the cherry on top that they will keep coming back to.
Before starting on any project, you need to have an agreement with the employer about the fees and deadlines. This is something you should both be happy with, and the terms should match the size of the project and your capacity to fulfill it.
There can be times when an employer will ask for lower fees or a quicker turnaround time. If you’re willing or able to accommodate, then there’s no problem with saying yes. But what if you’re not? You have to be able to meet the employer halfway by providing reasonable options. Having negotiation skills can just save you from a lifestyle of scrimping or having to burn the midnight oil.
3. Financial and Time Management
The key to managing your money and schedule is to think ahead. Let’s start with a reality check on your income as a freelancer -- truth is, it’s going to be irregular. That’s the beauty and challenge to it. There will be bountiful months and there can be slow months. You need to safeguard yourself from the irregularity. Even if you’re at a point where you’re still starting out as a freelancer, you need to start investing for the future.
It’s also crucial to be able to manage your schedule. As a freelancer, you are 100% in control of your time. This freedom can make or break your career. Have enough discipline to stay away from abusing it.
There are several productivity tools and apps for managing your schedule. Using those can be your saving grace, especially if you’re the type who constantly wrestles with the alarm clock.
Several aspects of a freelance career can be unpredictable; you need to be able to keep your head above water. It’s definitely easier to keep your cool when you’re organized, which is simply the habit of putting things in order. No extra workload or last minute changes can ruffle your feathers because you know how to cope. Being organized also translates in knowing where things are instead of wasting precious time looking for them. With organization skills, you become more productive and avoid stressful chaos.
5. Problem Solving
One thing business magnates like Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett are commonly exceptional at is coming up with a solution (or several ones) when a problem arises. They don’t give up, else they would have never made it to the top. Don’t back down when things are not going as planned. Instead, have the brilliance to come up with a plan B, C, D… and be resourceful while you’re at it. As the famous expression goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Let that be you, tough guy/gal!