6 Freelancer Tips That Will Accelerate Your Growth
by YOSS Community Writer, on September 26, 2019 at 1:00 PM
The rise of freelancing looks different across industries. For example, the fastest-growing sector is in the shared economy with companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Instacart. In professional services, the growth is more prominent among niche industries requiring higher-level skills such as AI, blockchain, software development, CRM, data science and analysis, and marketing.
Regardless of its form or pace, freelancing is undeniably growing everywhere. According to Forbes, freelancing could make up more than 50% of the U.S. workforce by the year 2027. Today, companies are already turning to freelancers to fill a variety of roles that span from social networking to financial planning to employee leadership and development. As the industry grows, so do the opportunities.
Why Start Freelancing?
The growth of freelancing is a product of two important factors: freedom and expertise. Freelancing appeals to employees who want more freedom and benefits companies who hire for expertise. Freelancers can offer companies on-demand services, specialized skills, and faster turnaround on critical projects.
Even employees who work 9-to-5 jobs are supplementing their incomes by freelancing in areas of personal interest, even if they don’t choose flexible work as a long-term career path. They’re using training programs and freelance platforms, such as YOSS, to optimize their time finding and managing projects, which gives them even more freedom to flex their skills.
The simple answer to why anyone would want to freelance is that it equals freedom. If you freelance, you can be your own boss and work from anywhere in the world, and you don’t have to start up an entire company to do so. It’s also increasingly rewarding as more companies transform their business models to bring in agile workers, especially if the company is in the habit of respecting freelance expertise.
How to Be Agile and Successful
Being a freelancer offers more freedom to be agile than any other career path, but it also requires more responsibility and self-discipline to be successful. Creating your own work schedule is fun, but no one else will motivate you to stick to it. You can spread your energy over as many projects as you want, but it’s your responsibility to not take on too much.
Maintaining job security while being self-employed is a challenge, but it’s a highly rewarding one to overcome. For most freelancers, these six areas are among the most critical, and often the most difficult, to navigate:
1. Keeping finances properly organized.
Financial planning is the cornerstone of a good business, and freelancing full-time is equivalent to running your own small company. The fact that you’re a one-person operation doesn’t make it easier — in fact, it’s riskier. For example, you’ll have to remember to set aside money for taxes because you don’t have an employer to withhold taxes for you. Also, saving isn’t optional, especially because your income is no longer guaranteed.
2. Accepting all kinds of payments quickly and consistently.
No amount of financial planning will matter if it’s too difficult for you to accept payments. Big companies might take longer to pay; smaller organizations might offer only limited forms of payment. Ensure you have the capability to accept everything from checks and credit cards to PayPal, Square Cash, and direct electronic funds transfers (EFTs).
3. Planning your own paid sick days.
As you prepare to go full-time, remember to account for future sick days. In many cases, giving up a salary and 9-to-5 schedule also means giving up paid sick leave, so you’ll have to plan for the unexpected. Consider signing up for disability insurance to cover any likely injuries and illnesses or look into developing a network of freelancers to build a community-based fund.
4. Making yourself part of a network.
Freelancing might not involve building an entire company, but it does involve becoming a business, and no business can operate in a vacuum. You’ll need ways to connect with people in your industry, including fellow freelancing professionals, thought leaders, and potential clients, so stay in contact with your network. It’s especially important to be part of a community as a freelancer because you likely don’t have the shared resources or connections with co-workers that often exist in an office setting.
5. Investing in the right communication tools.
Communication and data sharing technologies are largely responsible for making the growth of freelancing possible. They make it easy for freelancers to work from anywhere while staying connected to clients and resources. There are several comprehensive communication tools to choose from, including Skype, Twist, Slack, SaneBox, and Zoom. Choose a platform that enables every form of communication you’ll need, including email marketing, conference calling, and group chats.
6. Having a clear business development plan.
As a freelancer, you won’t just be in charge of your own financial records; you’ll also be in charge of developing a business with yourself as the product. You’ll need a game plan to attract new clients via multiple channels — think marketing, strategic planning, social media visibility, and more. You might find yourself networking, creating your own blog, posting regularly on social media, or running promotions to drum up business. Using platforms such as YOSS can help you execute these strategies more effectively.
Balancing freedom and responsibility is the key to being a successful, agile freelancer. You can do some of that on your own, but the transition is best made with help. To learn how to successfully build your freelancing profile with expert marketing, client connections, and financial planning, sign up for YOSS today.