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Start-Ups

4 Keys to Success as a Freelancer

By Garrett Spence   |    April 25, 2016   |    8:54 AM

How to Become a Successful Freelancer

Are you trying to break out on your own to start your own freelancing business? Regardless of your industry, skillset, and niche there are several integral keys to establishing a successful freelance career. If you keep these tips in mind as you embark on your freelance journey success will be that much more attainable.

1. Tap into your network

When you’re first starting out as a freelancer your existing network will be your single biggest asset. Reach out to everyone you know to let them know about your freelance plans, even going so far as to outline the services that you plan to offer and the markets you intend to serve. Do this at least one to two months before you plan to take your freelancing full time — it gives people time to think about how they might be able to help you succeed, and making an announcement will also hold you accountable.

It might feel like overkill, but you never know where (or who) that first project could come from.

2. Learn how to manage your time

Time management is one of the biggest struggles in freelance life, so you’ll want to master this important skill early on. It’s all-too-easy to get distracted with household chores, errands, and other tasks, especially if you’re working from home and there isn’t a boss checking in on your progress regularly.

If self-motivating is proving difficult you can even turn to technology: the 30/30 app is one excellent tool that can help you stay focused. You may even want to consider utilizing a co-working space to put your mind into work mode.

3. Keep your clients happy

Maintaining great client relationships is vital to freelance success, especially in the beginning. You’d be surprised by how many businesses have been burned by freelancers in the past, so going above and beyond never hurts.

Being communicative, meeting deadlines, and accepting a certain degree of flexibility will go a long way toward keeping your clients happy. And when your existing clients are happy they’ll be more willing to recommend your services to the rest of their network.

4. To be a successful freelancer, be persistent

Persistence might seem like an obvious key to success, but it’s easy to become discouraged in the beginning of your freelance career. Chances are you’re going to make mistakes, experience major failures, and stumble endlessly before you achieve lasting success. And that’s completely okay! Your failures will teach you so much if you’re willing to learn from them.

Persistence isn’t just about continuing when things get tough, though. Successful freelancers also need to be persistent when it comes to learning new things about their trade and industry. You won’t have a company footing the bill for continuing education, so be sure to carve out time to stay up to date within your niche, learn new skills, and to try new strategies. Before you know it, you’ll be the proud owner of a successful freelance business.