Becoming a Successful Freelancer

This post is written by a freelancer friend of mine. She does a few tasks for this blog as well. She hails from Philippines and provides various virtual assistance job right from her home. I had this topic in mind and I couldn’t approach a better qualified person as she has more than 5 years of experience in free lancing work. Enjoy the post

Becoming a Freelancer

I remember the time when I tried to bid on a freelance writing job. It was an exciting experience. Excited to the fact that it may be the start of a new journey. True enough, it did. My first project went good and created doors for more clients. I’ve been working as a freelance writer for 2 years already.

During the first 2 months, I worked as a solo writer. I write as much as eight articles a day. Since I find favor from my clients, they approved my referrals too. This opened doors to my other friends who also love writing. Eventually, I learned how to manage a team of writers whom are with me up to this day.

Freelancing is a rewarding career and at the same time very challenging. Sometimes, it can be too stressful as if you want to quit already. What is holding my grip though is the convenience of being able to work in my own time unlike in the corporate arena, where almost everything is time-bound.

Yes, time is also a vital element in freelancing but you get to choose freely without worrying things being compromised. When it comes to finances, going on freelance, especially when you are starting is not that easy. If you’ve just quit a stable job, be ready to make huge adjustments with the way you spend on things.

The most exciting part of course is earning. In freelance writing, you decide your own work rate. Remember, that you are your rate. Your rate must coincide with the product that you provide. However, since competition is stiff, take one-step at a time.

Never demand for a high rate if you know you cannot compensate that. Since I’ve been into this for quite some time, I was able to create my own earning formula. Here how it goes:

  • Compensation Rate: Investment + 10% mark-up (Investment includes labor fee, electricity, internet fee, and other materials used)
  • Rewarding Rate: Investment + 30% mark-up (Your investment may increase like having your own virtual assistant, purchasing software, maintaining your own website)\
  • Royalty Rate: This is allowing others to use your name so they can attract more clients. Note that this is very crucial. Selling your royalty can make or break your career

I also follow my own set of principles to maintain success in this career. Please note though that there is no special formula for being a successful freelancer. It depends on how you keep the good values and take away the bad ones. Mine can be different as yours but what’s important is you have your own set of principles that will make you stay in this field.

Principle #1: Skill is not as important as Attitude

You may be the brightest in this field, you may have the most number of accomplishments; but if you do not carry an exemplary attitude, you are bound to failure. Being humble is number one. Do not brag on your previous accomplishments.

They’re all in the past. Always keep yourself grounded on the present and in the future. You also have to be objective. Corrections and criticisms will always be there. Instead of justifying your mistakes, treat that as a challenge.

There will be times when you know that you are right but your client is showing otherwise; be patient and kind when that happens. Treat the corrections as a matter of preference. This means that your preference may not be the same as the preference of your client.

Since you are working for your client, you have to comply, no matter what. Always put yourself on the shoe of your client. See, feel, hear, speak, and think on their perspective.

Principle #2: Let your Presence be Felt

Day by day, a new freelancer of your caliber is being born. If you become distant from the clients, sooner or later, you will be replaced. Don’t let them look for you. Instead, let them feel that you are just there and that you are always ready to help them on their projects.

Same way, don’t be too pushy like a stalker. If you have an ongoing project, it’s necessary for you to communicate and provide updates from time to time. Once the project ended, be present in the chat box and send an email once in awhile.

With these, client will know that you’re a serious worker and not just a fly by night provider.

Principle #3: Upgrade your Skills

The good side of being online often is the opportunity to learn new things like in my career as a freelance writer. I am not a writer by profession. Yes I love to write but I’m not a journalist, novelist, or an author. To make myself bankable and competitive, I make it a point to add one writing skill every month.

Before, all I know is to write a blog or an article. Eventually, I learned how to do an EBook, web content, press release, product description, and a lot more.

There are other principles I follow but these three are the closest to my heart.

Let me end this with this thought: “Being successful is not the only point; staying successful is all the more important.”

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  1. says

    I think that, as long as you keep updated with the latest trends and always strive to be better, you will have skills good enough for all your clients. Good attitude and care for the client matter a lot. Doing a great job means more people will hire you and more money will come your way :)

  2. says

    Skill is not as important as Attitude – really? That’s interesting.
    I thought talented freelancer would be more in demand, but I guess a more accommodating one wins out. Nobody likes a diva.

    • says

      I did a double take on that also. I think there needs to be a balance. If you have a bad attitude, will people really want to work with you? On the other hand, if you are ever so accommodating and your work is subpar who is going to want to use you, even if you are extremely nice.

  3. says

    Interesting take on the different rates.

    I especially like your “royalty rate” where you’re effectively selling your reputation, not just your work product.

    Consultants are the ultimate freelancers, and all great consultants work towards that value rate where they’re paid based on a percentage of the benefit to the company, rather than some generic “market” rate. Very hard to reach, but once you do, you can write your own ticket, rate-wise.

  4. says

    Humility is certainly a virtue that will take many a freelancer far. Ofcourse one can always toot their horns and infact its encouraged in some circles, but its more powerful when your work and reputation speaketh for themselves.
    Totally agree with you, attitude matters a lot!

  5. says

    Thanks for a great article, and I especially liked the principles you shared from keeping a positive attitude to keeping in touch and continually learning and upgrading skills. You sound like someone everyone would love to work with! :-)

  6. says

    In this Internet age that we are, having a website of your own can mean a whole lot. Not only does it make you look more professional but it is also a gateway to new clients. Many do surf the net to find people for their next projects and if they can’t find you online they won’t know you’re there.

  7. Shiv Sharma says

    Nice post, thanks for great tips…I started doing freelancing and earning money at my free time…

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