5 Easy Ways Of Improving Your Credibility As A Freelancer
Life of a Freelancer
From the outside, the life of a freelancer can be enviable. You can work from home or while traveling. Your work hours are flexible and self-imposed. Your wages are directly linked to how much you want to make each month. But anyone who takes a closer look at this idyllic lifestyle will soon see the cracks in the dream.
Freelancers must seek out their work on a constant basis. They have none of the advantages provided by a typical 9-to-5 job, such as healthcare. The freelancer works in freedom but lacks job security. This is why it’s paramount to have a steady flow of work coming in, week after week.
The more prolific your reputation, the more work will come to you. But if you’ve got your sights set on working freelance and have no reputation, you’re going to struggle. It’s the Catch-22 of the job: You need a reputation to get assignments. But you need assignments to get a reputation.
To help you out, we’ve collected the 5 key points (or pillars) of freelancing. If you want to prove credibility to prospective clients, you should adhere to these five points. Beginners need them to get a foot in the door, and experienced writers need them to maintain their career momentum.
The 5 Pillars of the Freelance Life
Your website is your calling card. If you’re wondering whether you need a website as a freelancer or not, the answer is yes. Hell yes. Websites such as Squarespace, WordPress, or Wix, have made it easy to create an appealing website to show off your portfolio and style.
Keep it concise and clear. Your ‘About Me‘ page should be current, your portfolio of writings up-to-date, and your contact page intuitive. If you have a blog, link to it. If you’ve had past clients, list them. Make contacting you as easy as possible so clients can pull the trigger as soon as they’ve looked at your work.
Nobody expects a freelance [not designer] to also be an excellent website designer, but a bad website actively harms your chances at bagging a gig. If you have to hire a professional to help you setup your website, don’t be afraid to make that initial investment. It’s worth getting right.
If you want to be successful at freelancing, you’ll have to start putting yourself out there. Most of the jobs you’ll end up doing won’t be the result of cold reach-outs, but assignments you get from a friend of a friend. You should have an up-to-date LinkedIn page and start linking with people who might now, or in the future, need your skills.
Start going to local meet-ups and entrepreneur events. Business events are a great way to get in touch with potential clients, so start handing out business cards and making those connections. Even if you don’t meet any clients at these events directly, they might refer you to others.
3. Starting Small
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your career. Don’t be afraid to start out small. Begin working for local companies or smaller scale websites to build up a portfolio of work. They’re far more likely to give you an opportunity to prove yourself. Having a solid rapport with a small fish can lead to a bigger fish and from there it can snowball.
Do not underestimate what a little experience can do to help you land a job. Also, do not underestimate how harmful a lack of proven work can be. Having pieces to show off already puts you above the freelancer with no work to show.
Lacking formal education as a freelancer isn’t the death knell it is for many other occupations. Having a degree in your field might go a long way in proving you’re knowledgeable, but at the end of the day it all comes down to your work. A High School graduate might beat out the degree holder for a job simply because of their writing.
The way to set yourself apart is to go beyond being a good freelancer and start adding value to yourself as a service. Read up on other skills like SEO to let clients know you see your work as more than a hobby. Thanks to the internet, doing this won’t need to cost you a penny. You’re learning and improving, and your client can reap the benefits by hiring you.
Don’t charge by the hour, ever. The better you get, the faster you’ll go through a task. Charging by the hour will hurt your income. So what’s a good way to put a number to your work? It’s a difficult question with a frustrating answer: it depends.
It depends on a multitude of factors, including time and skill and the clients’ needs. But you can at least work out some baselines. For instance, what is your lowest acceptable rate? What’s the magic number that you will absolutely not work for? Answering that will set you on your way. Whatever you choose to charge, you must be consistent. In the beginning of your freelance career, you might want to bend the rules for individual clients. Don’t make this a habit. When discussing rates, you set the price and you open with it, regardless of the client’s budget.
Prove your credibility
Breaking into freelancing might seem difficult at first, but the rules are simple: don’t stop and get better. Beyond that, these pillars go a long way in proving your credibility to prospective clients. If you follow each of these points, you are already well on your way.
Remember: your work is extremely important, but your image is a close second. To make it as a freelancer, you’re going to need to excel in both.