Lots of people want to enter into freelancing, maybe you are thinking the same at this very moment.
Let's shed some light onto this topic.
There’s no such thing as freelancing skill, the only thing that distinguishes a freelancer from an employee is that the second one has a contract with her/his employer and the freelancer has not.
Here's the thing:
You do need to acquire professional skills.
As a freelancer, you will need to develop other tasks besides your main activity in order to become a sustainable freelancer. Tasks like (but not limited to):
- Invoicing / Accounting
So, my suggestion to you: focus on those topics.
I would call freelancing skill the sum of the skills described above.
How do I become a successful freelancer or solopreneur
1. How do I become a freelancer? What should I do?
Let me share with you my own thoughts and please do not take my suggestions as pieces of advice.
If you mean "become a freelancer" as "become an independent worker", then drop this idea as soon as possible.
Instead, focus on learning competencies (school and stuff) and then start working with other people.
Don’t stay too much time working for the same contractors or clients (2 years top). Challenge yourself in different environments.
During this period, pay attention to how your colleagues “do their business”.
Also, and not least important: you need to grow up during this process, both as professional and as a person.
The last step in your career is to become a professional freelancer, don’t rush things.
What can you do now? It’s a good time to start playing only if you can picture yourself as a “trustable chap”.
Are you trustable indeed? can you deliver what you promised?
If so, then identify what you can do for others, can you provide a service? can you provide a product?
With these answers in mind, let's address some "topics" that are required to become a successful freelancer or solopreneur.
2. How to be a successful freelancer or solopreneur in any career
I’ve started coding in 1982 (Basic and Cobol programming languages) and since that day, I had to reinvent myself many times to keep on track.
In my opinion:
Tech comes and goes, but the underlying concepts still remain the same
As I wrote above, there are a lot of additional topics that you need to focus (pre-sales, sales, post-sales, support, accounting, taxing) but, none of these topics would matter if you are not a reliable professional and if you are not ready to surf the new waves of technology.
To have a long career as freelancer or solopreneur (or "the chance of it" at last), you must:
- Show empathy
- Be flexible
- Honor your word and deliver what you promised
- Don't hesitate to give more than you get
- If any problem arises, don't talk about the problem away
- Build communication skills
- Improve your learning skills
- Continuously improve through challenges, practice, and feedback
- Enjoy what you do
And please, never forget:
You are a professional service provider
Even being an IT professional as myself, this list would apply to any other career.
I strongly believe it's worth to have this list printed out as a reminder each day :)
3. How to build a positive reputation as freelancer or solopreneur
One thing that is important to build and maintain is a positive reputation with your clients and your working ecosystem (such as freelancing platforms or agencies you may use to find new work)
As you set out to build your own freelancing reputation keep these points in mind.
Complete your work honestly and completely. Don't copy others or submit incomplete work.
Read all of the instructions and requirements provided by your client and follow them closely as you report your work. Add value.
When you accept a proposal invitation, participate and contribute to the lead. Again, add value.
When you accept a new project, finish it.
Try to improve your skills and submit quality work in every project.
Test all deliverables as a normal user would and try to recreate every scenario a user would encounter.
Write clear and accurate project reports. When completing projects, give detailed notes in the steps.
Be a hard worker
Give your best in every cycle that you accept.
All those items listed above are the "de facto" minimum responsibilities you must adhere if you want to become a long-time freelancer.
4. Benefits of freelance or solopreneur work
Freelancing or solopreneur offers a lot of freedom and flexibility that a regular desk job can’t.
As a freelancer, you’re no longer working to fit into company culture or work schedule that might put you under physical, mental and emotional stress. This flexibility has a lot of benefits, here are seven surprising ones you might not have realized.
And last, but not least, this kind of work let you get closer to your closer relationships: Wila, my beloved dog
Here I detail some benefits of freelance or solopreneur work:
You control how you manage your workload
One of the best parts of being a freelancer is that you can organize your workload based on your personal needs.
You’re less likely to get sick
100% verified! This working situation can actually keep you from getting sick because you deal with all your colleagues and clients remotely.
The research found that the more people working in one room, the more sick days those people take.
And I'm not taking public transportation into this picture.
You get as many breaks and as much sleep as you want
Sleeping well is a great benefit for your overall health.
Most are lucky to get two 10-minute breaks and an hour for lunch in a day. As a freelancer, whenever you need a break, you can get one. And you can take naps whenever you need one.
You control your work relationships
When you’re freelancing, it’s up to you how much you want to communicate with clients and colleagues throughout the day.
You can exercise at optimum times
Keeping a workout schedule with a day job can be difficult because you have to squeeze it in either before work or after. Work as a freelancer, and you can exercise whenever it works for you, even in the middle of the day
You avoid the long commute
Choosing to be a freelancer means you can work from home and reduce your commute to zero.
Most freelancers never have to leave home to work, which is great for time management, and even better for health.
More available time for you
This is the real key. The most precious thing you have in life is *TIME*
5. What to become a freelancer or solopreneur is not
Don't start a freelancer or solopreneur shot until you read this.
You see lots of people on social media showing their "freelancing way of life" working on a rock(?) or traveling around the world while they work (budget? no kids?), and you say to yourself "I want that way of life for me too!"
So you start thinking to quit your job or to quit your formal education and do "only-courses" to aquire necessary skills.
No, it doesn't work that way. Do not buy lies, there's no such kind of life out there. As a freelancer or solopreneur you will be 24/7 thinking about your business, you will be thinking how to get more clients while you are doing work for a given client.
You will be thinking about cash flow problems, you will verify that even when you take time off you're not really off.
If your not willing to work "24/7" then drop this freelancer / solopreneur idea as soon as possible.
Now, I'll spoil your freelancer or solopreneur career with just one question:
Are you able to close?
If the answer is NO then you better get a job instead.
Up to this point, these are the initial concepts you need to start dealing with if you are willing to become a successful FREELANCER or SOLOPRENEUR in any career.
Here you have a set of articles I wrote in the past, I'm positive sure that you will find them useful:
How to manage failure as a freelancer
How to come up with a business idea
What can a freelancer do to improve cash flow?
Who am I?
And that's all folks!
Need help? Don't hesitate and reach out to me!
There are a number of ways we can work together and I look forward to exploring the possibilities with you.
"Daniel was quick, efficient and thorough with his work. Thanks!"
"Daniel did a great job and plan to use him again"