For many people becoming a freelancer is a dream and it is true that it is, in many cases, the ultimate step towards taking complete control of your career.
Freelancing allows a level of freedom that full-time contractual employments usually do not and honestly, who doesn't want to be solely in charge of choosing projects? If you plan on pursuing a freelance career, it is important that you are realistic about the advantages and the best way to do this is to evaluate whether this type of work is right for you and your working style. To help with this evaluation below you will find the five traits that are essential to becoming a successful freelancer.
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Becoming a freelancer can be a difficult adjustment to make and many people find that they no longer want to continue after the first few months, seeking more traditional types of work instead. Knowing and preparing for this period will help you to weather the transitional phase to eventually emerge successful.
It is vital that you build a portfolio. You must be persistent in approaching potential contractors even when you are disheartened. Remember, companies may not have work for you immediately but by building relationships and showing the calibre of your work it is possible to be contacted much further down the line for lucrative jobs.
Hand in hand with persistence, a vital attribute successful freelancers require is patience. With the best resume in the world, sometimes there will be no work and you must have the skills to wait out light periods.
Patience is also necessary here when dealing with clients. As you will know, the goalposts within many organisations are constantly in flux, which means that project requirements will also be evolving. Make sure you are confident in your ability to adapt. You must display patience and understanding to your clients and they will come back.
It is easy in the early stages to take on any and all work offered and it is true that you definitely shouldn't turn down any paid jobs. Freelance work is a competitive field so focusing on one particular strength will allow you to build a better reputation, which in turn will garner more work; if you are an accountant be the one of the very best limited company accountants or if you are a programmer be the best at a specific language. This will ensure that your name becomes synonymous with that type of work and people will come to you when they want quality.
Very few people who are not well-organised will embark on a freelance career but it needs pointing out nonetheless. Your ability to organise your time and prioritise your workload will make or break your foray into freelance work, so ensure that you have these abilities before you start your business.
Staying in touch with your contacts and making your clients feel valued will pay dividends for years over neglecting them for a big project.
People in all positions want to feel valued, so it is important that you take the time to show people how much you value and appreciate their custom. Each client is different, so this may be accomplished easily with quick, personal e-mails or the occasional lunch. Your ability to gauge this and communicate appropriately will greatly affect your success, so make sure you get some practice in building lasting relationships before you take the plunge.
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