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The Top Five Things You Need to Know – and Have – before Working as a Freelancer

Freelancing is often thought of as a great way to escape the rat race and start your own business, with many clients and a schedule you set for yourself. Whilst there’s no reason this shouldn’t be true, a lot of people who want to start a freelancing career underestimate the amount of time and effort it takes to truly be free of the everyday hustle and bustle.

Being a freelancer is like being an entrepreneur – it takes a lot of work to get it going, and it requires discipline to make it into a successful career. Are you thinking about quitting your nine-to-five job and working as a freelancer instead? It’s a good idea, but you need to keep some things in mind. Here are the top five things you need to know – and have – before working as a freelancer.

Don’t quit your day job yet

You’ll have a lot of competition, and if takes a while before you (and the quality of your work) are known in your community. Don’t quit your day job yet; be sure you have plenty of assignments coming in before burning bridges.

Get a niche, and a plan

Everyone has a particular style, and a unique way of doing things. Focus on what you are good at, and sell what you produce best. Once you’ve discovered your niche, create a marketing plan. Business plans are not just for employers or managers – they are for everyone, especially freelancers. A freelancer is actually a business person selling their skills and products, when you think about it, and you need to be methodical about it as well.

Pricing will vary

Often, competition will come from all around the world, so the prices employers (clients) are willing to pay will greatly vary according to their geographical location, the quality and quantity of work expected, and whether you bill per project or per hour. Go for the high payers, but be prepared to be flexible. If you bill per hour, make sure to use a good time tracking app so you can bill properly.

Getting clients

Create a network and a steady client base; satisfied customers often return. Be honest with your clients.

Discipline

It’s a job – take it seriously and be disciplined.

If you really want to make it as a freelancer, you have to understand that there will be good times and bad times, just like in any other job – just like you would have if you were an entrepreneur. The freelancing job will give you plenty of advantages, but you’ll have to work for it first. Never underestimate the work that you will have to do, and understand that your reputation is key. It’s certainly worth the effort, but be prepared to work.

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