If you work as a freelancer, moonlighter, or soloprenuer, you are part of the freelance economy. Here at Moonlighting, we’ve made it our mission to help you on your freelancing journey, empower you to succeed in the freelance economy, and provide the tools you need make money doing what you love. Here’s what you need to know to maximize success.
1. Market yourself.
To succeed in the freelance economy, you need to have a healthy amount of potential opportunities. The more you market yourself, the more opportunities will come knocking at your door.
2. Create a Moonlighting profile.
Always keep your freelance profile exceptionally maintained, boast about the things that differentiate you from the competition, and if possible, include previous work examples, client testimonials, and recommendations.
3. Let everyone know you’re a freelancer.
Neighbors, high school friends, cousins, brothers, aunts, ex-coworkers…anyone who could help you find more clients. Don’t be bashful about letting everyone know what you can and can’t do. Every moment is a networking opportunity and a chance to expand your network.
4. Invest in quality business cards.
And carry them everywhere.
5. Create social media accounts.
If you don’t have them – get on it! They’re free, easy to use, and you can build and grow your following and business at no cost. Plus everyone’s on them these days, what better way to find new clients?
6. Be open and available.
Respond quickly to communication, and try to say “yes” as much as possible to requests to quickly build up your client base.
7. Be proactive.
Try to anticipate challenges, and communicate effectively.
8. Be reliable.
Deliver on your promises. Make sure you perform exceptionally. If you aren’t sure if you can do all that the job requires and more, don’t apply. No client has ever walked away from a project angry if you underpromise and overdeliver.
9. Track everything.
Clients, invoices, communication, taxes, payments. Organization is a major key. Track your projects as if you were a big company, because one day you might be running one. Manage your time wisely. Analyze your processes. Look where you spend your time. Trim the fat. Be efficient.
10. Build a stellar reputation.
Make sure you are building quality and meaningful relationships with your employers. Building great relationships not only increases the chances you will be hired again, it also increases the likelihood that clients will refer you to others.
11. Acknowledge you won’t always control your schedule.
One of the biggest allures of the freelance life is flexibility, the notion that you will have more control over how much you work, and when. In reality, you don’t always have the luxury of guaranteed, steady work, and you can’t always be sure when the next project will hit. To succeed, accept that it is your clients who will dictate your work week. Of course, you can control how and when you tackle your work and more easily balance personal commitments and passions.
12. Don’t take it personally.
You’re not going to get every job you apply for, and that’s OK. And getting passed over on one job doesn’t prevent you from consideration for the next. Keep an open mind, be persistent and always maintain a positive outlook with your clients. You never know when the right opportunity will come along, and you want to make sure you are the one on their speed dial.
13. Build a safety net.
If you’re leaving your job in favor of a better lifestyle, creating a financial plan should be priority number 1. If you haven’t already, begin stashing money in an emergency fund until you have enough to cover at least six months of living expenses. While you may not need to use it, freelancing is unpredictable, and it’s important to establish a safety net along the way.
14. Remember it’s okay to outsource.
Yes, you need business acumen, but that doesn’t mean you need to possess every single skill it takes to run a business. For example, you may need a partner to help with your company branding, accounting, or taxes. Moonlighting is a great source for finding and hiring other qualified freelancers to help fill in your skills gaps or keep you focused on your primary money making skills.
15. Have a set work space.
Whether it’s a desk in the corner of your home, your favorite coffee shop down the road (que cliche), or a coworking space, keep it separate from your home. Work-life balance is important in any field, so make sure you can separate them physically.
16. Write down your business plan.
This isn’t just your plan of action; this is your mission, your vision, and everything in between. The more detailed you can be the better – it will allow you to stay on track.
17. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Ask for reviews, social referrals, or for help when you need it. You’d be surprised at how much other people want you to succeed, too.
18. Don’t work for free.
Not even for your friends. Free samples are okay but you, your time, and your project is worth something. Demand the compensation you deserve.
19. Know when to say ‘no’.
It is no simple endeavor to know when to listen and adapt, and when to say, “No”. Whether its disagreeing with a client or rejecting an offer, standing your ground will make you happier, more respected, and can turn out a better end product.
Succeeding in the gig economy is no walk in the park — it takes hard work and relentless motivation. But the trade-offs, like work-life balance, are well worth it. Take the bold step with preparation in your arsenal.
Are you ready to start your own business or try out a few side gigs to get the feel of freelancing? No matter what path you choose, kick start your freelance business by joining the amazing community of freelancers, moonlighters, and solopreneurs on Moonlighting. Sign up or download the app today – Free!
This article was originally featured in the USA Today.