Estimated reading time: 6 mins
A Guest Post by Christina Battons
Surviving your first year as a freelancer requires a lot of dedication, commitment, passion, patience, and sacrifice. You must be willing to do what it takes
First of all congratulations! Taking a step towards full-time freelancing takes a lot of courage, determination, and commitment. It’s a step towards doing something you love and on your own terms while making some good cash.
Getting to the point where you generate a steady income from freelancing activities takes time. However, it’s worth the sacrifice. There are a couple of things that you can do to survive in your first year down this road while at the same time creating a solid foundation for your career.
Majority of freelancers started out as part-timers. Having a steady job at first helps you grow your side gig at your own pace. However, it reaches a point where you’re ready to take it full time. So what can you do to survive in the first year of this journey and emerge successfully?
Here are 8 tips that can help you get through the first year:
1. Plan Ahead
You must create a plan that you’ll follow through. Getting organized is crucial to your success
Having a working plan is a crucial step in taking on this journey. Without a working strategy, you’re less likely to achieve your goals. This will require that you get organized which will guide you in identifying the resources at your disposal, establishing what needs to be done and when.
Procrastination and poor time management skills can be a big challenge. To beat such issues and any other that arise because of lack of proper planning, having a day planner or schedule will be very beneficial. This way, you won’t get overwhelmed with the work that comes your way and can deliver on time.
The quality of work that you’ll deliver also depends on the amount of time that you’ll spend doing the job. Planning ahead ensures that you deliver quality work and within the given timeframe.
2. Market Your Business
You need to market yourself, and the online world presents a lot of opportunities to do so
Marketing is a big part of succeeding as a freelancer. No one will market you as well as you would. You’ll, therefore, need to invest in a marketing strategy. You can work with an expert. or do it on your own. Numerous online platforms offer marketing opportunities not just to freelancers but big companies too. You can make use of:
- Snap chat
- LinkedIn, and many others
If people don’t know who you are, then your chances of succeeding as a freelancer will be minimal. You can also be posting articles from your preferred field on different sites online that will be interesting. The more people read your articles, the bigger your audience gets.
3. Be Flexible
Flexibility is another important trait that every aspiring freelancer must have. You must be willing and ready to adopt whenever necessary, especially with the rapidly changing technologies. As you go into freelancing, chances are that what you anticipated would happen will less likely do so, and instead, the whole experience will be full of surprises.
Don’t be the kind of person that gives up quickly. Be open-minded, willing to see new opportunities and capitalizing on them. If you go into freelancing with a rigid mind, then you’ll be disappointed.
Another aspect to look at is accepting that your first year and probably, 2nd and 3rd will be financially challenging. Therefore, be willing to take on other gigs to supplement your income.
4. Have a Budget
It will be a tough year financially, and you’ll need a budget to survive economically
During your first year as a freelancer, you haven’t established a steady income source yet. This means that you’ll be tight on cash. Creating a budget will enable you to have enough money to stay on your feet financially while still having some left to invest in your freelancing.
Any business that intends to grow and eventually become a success will need to create a budget and stick to it, so should you. Sacrifices will be made. However, if you have a family that depends on you, you’ll have to reconsider your decision or ensure that you have months of cash for expenses saved up.
Freelancing also presents an opportunity for saving. Since you won’t be commuting to work anymore, you can save on gas or train/bus/taxi fare. Ensure that you can sustain your monthly expenditure and build your freelancing.
5. Build Your Social Network
You’ll need to create your social network to grow as an entrepreneur
Networking is a crucial part of freelancing. When you deliver an excellent service, you can get quite a number of clientele just from recommendations. Your social network is actually the prime ground for your marketing.
Freelancers can grow beyond their expectations especially when they’ve built a reliable and robust network. Talk to other freelancers in your field and even those in different sectors. You’re likely to learn a thing or two that will eventually help you.
Starting out as a freelancer isn’t an easy task and you’ll need all the moral support you can get. Talking to others will be a source of encouragement, motivation, and advice to tackle issues that come about each day.
6. Have a Niche
Have an identity. Doing it all doesn’t always work out well. Freelancing requires some level of specialization for you to reach the height of success that you desire. Choose a field or fields that you’re passionate about and excel at, then give them your all. This dramatically improves your chances of success because all your attention and focus has been directed to a specific field. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t try out other things. As a matter of fact, it’s good to explore, you never know when you just might strike gold.
7. Have Patience
Have the patience it takes to attain your objectives regardless of the challenges
Patience is one of those attributes that we need to excel in all areas of our lives. It will help you avoid any trouble or conflict that may arise. Freelancing will test your patience to the maximum. It will be filled with ups and downs especially in your first year. You’ll want to give up so many times, but you must commit to going forward despite the pitfalls.
Write a conclusion note to yourself and put it on your wall to remind you each day what it is that you’re working for but be open to new ideas.
8. Create an Impressive Portfolio
Have an impressive portfolio. Give clients a reason to trust you and even want your services. This is a serious issue that could make the difference between you succeeding as a freelancer or not. Create an online profile that will be attractive to your prospects.
It would be a lie if I were to tell you that your path will be rosy. In fact, it will be far from that. Your first year as a full-time freelancer will be the toughest yet one of the best. Taking on this road involves a lot of commitment but for a higher reward. The above tips will help you survive your first year with some ease!
Christina Battons is a creative writer and content strategist from LA. Currently, I write for various sites. My posts address the topics about self-education, writing, motivation, professional development. In my spare time, I prefer to read novels and crime thriller stories. Feel free to follow me on @battonschristito ask questions or see my works.
(Featured Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/tZnbakTUcTI)