Friday, April 4, 2014

Kick-Starting Your Freelance Career

Having a successful freelance career takes more than just the desire to be your own boss. It takes dedication and organization to keep track of everything you normally wouldn’t worry about if you worked for someone.

I quickly learned this and more when I decided to quit my job to start freelance writing and editing. 

At the time I had no idea how to get started. I often found myself worried about how I would get clients and if I would be financially stable (thankfully I saved money before quitting my job).

Since I had no idea where to begin, I did some internet research. I looked up as much information as I could about freelance writing careers. Doing research was a great starting off point because it helped me prepare for my career and led me to do the following:

1.       Education: Along with internet research, I read several books about freelance writing. In doing so, I found two great books that literally walked me through the process of setting up a freelance business. The books covered the whole spectrum; everything from contracts and payments, to office supplies.

2.       Network: I started networking on Twitter. I followed freelance writers and picked a few to chat with about different concerns I had. All of whom offered great advice and recommendations. I was able to make some great connections, and a few of these people still continue to help me when I have questions.

3.       Get clients/work: To start with, I created an online presence (a website, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). These sites are where I display my work, and provide a way for people to contact me for employment. I’ve also found sites that allow me to post my services for potential clients to see.

4.       Set a schedule: It’s so easy to get distracted by social media, texting, and TV when you work from home. So I wake up every morning as if I’m going to a 9-5. I have set work hours and I have a list of things to complete for the day, week, and month. I also make sure my clients are aware of my schedule so they don’t expect work to be completed at any time.  

5.       Confidence: One of the most important things to remember from the start of your freelance career, and throughout, is to always have confidence in yourself and your work. I struggled with this a lot in the beginning because everything was new to me. I now know I can’t underestimate or devalue my services and work.

The main thing to remember is this is your business and your career; your reputation is on the line. Being reliable and consistent is what clients will expect from you. Setting yourself up correctly from the beginning will pay off. In doing so, along with your skills; you are bound to achieve success right from within your living room.

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