If you’ve got knowledge and skills that you would like to share with a variety of clients, you can parlay that into a freelance career. But here’s the thing: Building a successful freelance career may seem daunting at first (and rightfully so), but it is possible. Fret not, because, luckily for you, we’ve spoken to a few people who are killing it as freelancers. They offered up these six tips:
1. Utilize your network.
“When you’re a full-time freelancer, doing the work is just as important as finding the work. Don’t underestimate the power of your network. They’ll inform you of writing opportunities first or recommend you for gigs you find on your own. If you consistently do your work to the best of your ability, your reputation will speak for itself and the jobs will roll in!” —Jessica C. Andrews, co-founder of Glamazonsblog.com and contributor to ELLE.com
[Related: 4 Ways to Network When You’re Self-Employed]
2. Get everything in writing.
“To get your money on time, don’t be afraid to follow up repeatedly. Do your research and try to work with clients that have a reputation for paying well and on time. Get your rate in writing upfront so there’s no back-and-forth when it’s time to be compensated. Don’t be afraid to take legal action if necessary. You did the work so you deserve to be paid for it.”—Jessica C. Andrews, co-founder of Glamazonsblog.com and contributor to ELLE.com
3. Find your niche.
“Freelancing in a niche or slow-growing market/industry can be tough because you have to convince people that they need the service you provide. It’s important to network with key people, follow up, and pitch, pitch, pitch your butt off. And once you’ve gotten your foot in the door, observe what gaps exist or need to be filled, and create your own opportunities from there. Because of the nature of niche markets, sometimes clients don’t know what they need until you tell them they need it.” —Lamide Akintobi, journalist, TV presenter, documentary maker, and sub-editor
[Related: 51 Tools Every Freelancer Needs]
4. Listen to your boss.
“Implement the client’s suggestions as much as possible without compromising the integrity and quality of your work. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many freelancers don’t get called back because they wanted to impose their own style instead of listening to the client.” —Lamide Akintobi, journalist, TV presenter, documentary maker, and sub-editor
5. Have a backup plan.
“Have more than one hustle, as well as a Plan B, C, and D. There are high and low seasons for every industry, and being flexible enough to be able to jump from one to the next won’t keep you wondering where your next paycheck will come from.” —Bayyina Black, global giver at TOMS
6. Create passive income.
“Create a product, or provide a service as a coach or consultant, that is relevant year-round and advertise on social media sites such as Facebook. This helps to create passive income, aka money you make in your sleep.”—Bayyina Black, global giver at TOMS
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