What I wish I knew before starting my freelancer journey

October 31, 2023
What I wish I knew before starting my freelancer journey

Happy International Freelancer Day! International Freelancer Day is a day set aside to honor and celebrate the remarkable impact freelancers have made on the global economy. This special day, which falls on October 19th, was established by Fiverr, a leading online platform for freelance services. To commemorate this occasion, we've prepared an insightful article featuring valuable insights from seasoned freelancers. 

Before we dive into the lessons, we will look at some definitions:

Who is a freelancer and what does a freelancer do?

Let's begin by defining the essence of a freelancer and some of the roles that they do. A freelancer is an individual who operates without a binding, long-term commitment to a single employer or organization. Instead, they choose to offer their expertise and services to a range of clients or companies. The services provided by freelancers span a broad spectrum, including but not limited to virtual assistance, content creation, graphic design, programming, marketing, and an array of other specialized fields.

What seasoned freelancers wish they knew when starting out

Whether you're just starting your freelance adventure or preparing to do so, it's smart to learn from others' experiences. This way, you can avoid some common mistakes. We've gathered insights on what freelancers wished they knew before diving into freelancing. We sourced this knowledge from online freelancer communities and the Runnovate Professional Community, a group for freelancers and virtual assistants. Let's see what they had to say:

1. Authenticity wins

Authenticity is your greatest asset as a freelancer. Be genuine about your skill level and passions when interacting with clients. The right clients will appreciate your transparency, and it can lead to more meaningful and long-lasting working relationships. 

2. Organization is key

Unlike employees who work for one company, you will be working with multiple clients. Maintaining a well-organized system for the different projects and clients that you are working with is essential. This helps you stay on top of your projects, meet deadlines, and provide a professional experience to your clients. Whether it's a digital filing system using digital tools like Asana or a physical one, choose what works best for you and stick with it.

3. Consistent effort pays off

Consistency is key to success in freelancing. Whether you're building your skill set, expanding your client base, or establishing an online presence, daily or near-daily effort is the secret to steady progress. It helps you build momentum and credibility over time.

4. Embrace experience

Don't let fear or overthinking hold you back from starting your journey as a freelancer. The best lessons come from real-world experiences. Embrace opportunities, learn from your mistakes, and apply those lessons to improve your work.

5. Project confidence

Confidence is the image you project to clients. Even if you're just starting out, exuding self-assurance can instill trust in those you work with. Believe in your abilities and let that shine through in your interactions.

6. Be strategic in your approach

Freelancing success often depends on being strategic in finding and attracting clients. Use marketing, networking, and targeting specific industries to tap into opportunities and grow your client base. Once you understand what you are good at, niche down so that you can be an expert in your field. Check out our article on ‘How to find your niche as a virtual assistant.’

7. Leverage past experiences

Your past experiences, both personal and professional, are assets in freelancing. The skills and knowledge gained from previous roles can set you apart in your chosen niche. Don't undervalue your background. This is especially important when starting out in your field.

8. Network actively

 Networking is the lifeblood of freelancing. Connect with peers, attend industry events, and engage with potential clients. Figure out where your ideal clients spend their time and go there so that you know more about their needs, and how you can help them. Effective networking can lead to referrals and valuable collaborations.

9. Avoid underpricing

Setting a fair price for your services is crucial. Undervaluing your work doesn't benefit you or the freelancing community as a whole. Calculate your rates based on your skills, experience, and market demand.

10. Stop procrastinating 

Procrastination can hinder your progress. Trust in your abilities and your path. Define your worth, establish boundaries, and communicate effectively with your clients to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

11. Learn to say no

Sometimes, it's wiser to say no to an opportunity if it doesn't align with your goals or capacity. Overcommitting can lead to burnout and unsatisfied clients. Choose quality over quantity.

12. Overcome FOMO

Overwhelming yourself by jumping on every opportunity can be counterproductive. Carefully evaluate each opportunity, focusing on quality rather than quantity.

13. Rejections aren't personal

Rejections are a part of freelancing. They shouldn't be taken personally. Learn from them and use the feedback to improve. You might also be experienced and have the right skills but a client might still not find you to be the right fit for the job. Your worth isn't defined by a single rejection. Keep applying!

14. Be patient

Building a successful freelancing career takes time. It's crucial that you remain patient as you continue being consistent in your efforts. Success rarely happens overnight.

15. Take the leap

Sometimes, starting without all the answers is necessary. Taking action, even with uncertainty, can lead to incredible opportunities. Be proactive in reaching out to potential clients and let your freelancing journey evolve.

16. Getting clients is hard

Sourcing and maintaining clients can be one of the more challenging aspects of freelancing. It's essential to continuously market yourself and deliver exceptional service to build a strong client base.

17. Invest in skill set

Always be learning. The market is competitive and those who keep improving their skills will always stand out. When seeking mentorship or investing in training programs, ensure they equip you with practical skills you can offer as services. A valuable skill set is your foundation for success in freelancing.

These comprehensive lessons from experienced freelancers encompass a wide array of insights, from the importance of authenticity and organization to the nuances of networking and client management. Apply these lessons to your own freelance journey to thrive in this dynamic and rewarding field.

Happy International Freelancer Day

In closing, the wisdom shared by seasoned freelancers serves as a compass to steer both newcomers and those seeking to elevate their freelance careers. We trust that these valuable lessons will prove instrumental as you step into or advance along your freelancing path. The world of freelancing offers immense opportunities, and we extend our heartfelt appreciation to every freelancer for their dedication and hard work. On this International Freelancer Day, we celebrate your contribution and wish you a successful and fulfilling journey ahead. Happy International Freelancer Day once again!

Join Runnovate’s Professional Community

Do you want to network and have conversations with other freelancers and virtual assistants? Sign up today using this link https://www.runnovate.com/community. You can also join the talent pool by heading over to https://www.runnovate.com/candidates.

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