Freelancers have become a formidable demographic in the workforce. In the United States alone, close to 86.5 million people will join the freelancing world by 2027. Sure enough, the number is rising at a spectacular rate, with many young people today preferring home-based jobs to typical 9 to 5 shifts with a daily commute.
Looking past the lifestyle of current freelancers, making a breakthrough as an independent professional might seem too far fetched considering all the competition you would be facing for the same work.
But don’t get too discouraged, freelancing is still very much a lucrative market to enter into, with people earning as much as $39,000 a year, according to this Business News Daily.
To be successful in your respective area of expertise, you will have to nurture two important skills every freelancer regardless of his niche has to nurture.
Important Skills to Develop to Boost your Freelance Business
1. Digital adoption
Given that new software and gadgets are being released every year, freelancers will have to be privy on the trends that currently matter in the digital world. This means that they will need to be highly adaptive in terms of utilizing the tools they need to move ahead of the competition and understand what innovations can help them in their practice.
2. Using marketing as a point of departure
Given that the freelancing landscape is highly contested, you will need to focus on developing an effective marketing plan for the services you’re selling. This means you will need to promote yourself as a brand and not just someone a business hires from UpWork. Crafting a unique identity allows you to relate closely to the market you want to enter in the first place, so you might also establish an authentic online presence and get noticed by the right clients.
With these skills in mind, you can then set the tone for getting a career as an online freelancer.
On that note, let’s take a look at a few things that should help you set yourself up and start getting the right clients.
3. Know the productivity tools you need
When it comes to starting a freelancing gig, having an impressive set of skills is simply not enough. You also have to focus on getting the right software that will help you increase your productivity. Your clients would want you to deliver on time without sacrificing quality, so it pays to use productivity software such as Calendly. When you want to set up meetings with clients using a more direct means of communication, this app makes for a great alternative to Google Calendar.
For deeper collaboration, new freelancers such as yourself should be familiar with tools using a Kanban-based interface, such as Trello and ProofHub. These tools are ideal in terms of securing close collaboration with your clients. They also make project management easy and highly trackable so you won’t have to waste precious time asking where you last left off.
As a freelancer, you will be handling multiple aspects of business like marketing, customer relationships, technical support, billing, and so on. Investing in the right tools to manage time, handle customer communication, nurture prospects, handling invoices, etc. is absolutely critical to improving your productivity and getting more work done in the process. Gigworker has an extensive list of such freelancing tools you must consider for your business.
4. Diversify your income sources
In this digital age, you just can’t rely on a single source of income anymore. With freelancing sites such as Fiverr and Gigster becoming more popular, we are seeing more and more young professionals accepting various job orders for the right prices.
Sure enough, freelancers will have to find freelance work and look for other sources of income to serve cushions in case of downtimes. There are plenty of platforms offering a way to earn extra dollars on the side. InboxDollars, for one, lets you earn money by simply filling out surveys and watching videos. It’s reliable and it’s also a great way to earn extra cash.
For a more passive income-generating vehicle, you can set up Google AdSense on your WordPress blog. As long as you have a strong online following, you can earn money by letting Google feature Display Ads on your site.
5. Pick a specialization
Being a generalist is fine, but may make it tough for you to get freelance assignments. Sites like TopTal and Gun.io are some of the most popular sites to hire freelance developers and as anyone who has successfully found projects here will tell you, being a specialist is critical to stand out from the crowd. A lot of these freelance hiring platforms use algorithms to recommend freelancers to clients. When you specialize in a particular field, your exposure from these recommendation engines increases dramatically.
6. Learn, learn, and learn!
Whether you are a web developer or a copywriter, there’s always an opportunity for you to improve your skills. After all, high-value clients want to hire freelancers who have the right set of skills and who are very adaptive to the ever-changing digital landscape. That being said, freelancers should be able to undergo training online continuously.
Platforms such as LinkedIn University, Udemy, and Coursera are great places for learning new tools, concepts, and approaches that could spell the success of your freelancing business. For sure, you’ll find courses that could equip you with the expertise you need to build your reputation as a freelancer.
Making it as a freelancer shouldn’t be that hard. As long as you have the skills and knowledge of digital tools, you’d stay afloat no matter how intense the competition gets.