By now you’ve made your first freelance steps. We guess you’ve knee-deep into biding and chasing down job opportunities across various platforms. And we commend you for that! So we wanted to award the diligent work you’ve put into your freelance career. Therefore, we thought to help you out by sharing tips and tricks by the .MErs community of freelancers from around the world.
Are you ready to know more about how to improve your freelance career and reach absolute success? Read on!
.MErs Tip #1: Build Your Network
Here’s the thing, networking, however you might feel about it, is one of the best ways to get your foot at the door. Networking is, after all, a major component of your success as a freelancer. The connections you make might not turn out to be your direct clients, but they could spread the word and point you in the direction of a lucrative client.
So what can you do to begin your networking process?
This is what Luka from Lukapsd.ME recommends:
“Pursuing a freelance career is a roller coaster you will most certainly enjoy. And as with most jobs – it can either be the most fun or the most exhausting decision you’ve ever made. But the good news is – it’s up to you not to make it the latter.
One way to do this is by getting in touch with people from your industry and perhaps some networking groups. Meet, talk, chat and hang out with people, attend workshops. Networking, that is socialising, can be great for your growth as a freelancer. Besides, you never know when you’ll strike gold!
Networking with potential clients (even online) has helped me tremendously at the beginning of my career as a freelancer. ”
You’ve heard what Luka said! Hurry up and hop on that networking train.
Read more: 5 Tips for Freelancers: How to Acquire Clients
.MErs Tip #2: Fortify your Online Presence
We know that you are busy with chasing your next gig or finishing the ones you have. Understandably, this can make you feel that you have little precious time left to work on your online presence. This is where you might go wrong if you want your freelance career to take off.
A personal website is a powerful foundation for your freelance career. This is your virtual business card, online portfolio, credentials and resume wrapped up in one. Yes – all of that available at a one online home address. Of course, we think that .ME domain extension is the most personal one and will help you the best to build your brand, but we might not be 100% impartial on this one.
However, you don’t have to take our word for just how beneficial a personal website can be for your career. Take a moment to hear what these awesome .MEr freelancers have to say.
Rose from Roselin.ME gave us an insight on how she decided to create a personal website.
“I feel that having a personal portfolio definitely helps, no matter what role one’s in. It provides a structured way to demonstrate your skillset, your identity, and your interests. I wasn’t thinking about building a personal site until I read an online post sometime in 2017-ish, that having a website is essential for your career. Nowadays building a website does not require you to know to code at all. I find it worthwhile to show myself and my work to the world. I think that’s the propelling reason to create your own website.”
We asked Michelle from Nkuidja.ME how important for him was a personal website in acquiring clients. This is what he said:
“As a black entrepreneur in the gaming industry, it is important to develop personal branding so that potential investors and the media can quickly get information about me, regardless of my LinkedIn profile or my company’s website.”
Murilo from Murilo.ME told us that having a personal website made all the difference.
“There are online portfolio websites out there, but your portfolio will look the same as everyone else. If you want to stand out, you need a domain and a website that represents your style.”
Wise words, if you ask us.
If you are still unsure how and if a personal website is beneficial for your career, we have a treat for you.
.MErs Tip #3: Work on Your Personal Branding
In a world where nothing can ever be deleted, it’s extremely important to take care of your online reputation, in order to build a strong personal brand you can be proud of. Still, you may wonder why on earth would you need to worry about personal branding?
Easy – A great personal brand will set you apart from your competitors. Not to mention, it will help you attract new clients.
Again, you don’t have to take our word for it. These amazing .MEr freelancers from different industry fields will not only help you understand the importance of a personal brand but will also tell you what to focus on.
Ognjen from Keemun.ME gave us an important view on personal branding. Here’s what he said:
“Your personal brand is your ID card. If you want to be recognised for and through your work, then it’s time to create a brand for yourself.
Working on your personal brand can be a really fun way to show everyone else why your voice matters. Remember: you can be whatever you choose to be.
Keep in mind that by creating your brand image you can always target the specific people you want to work with. That way you’ll avoid all the necessary steps to find the right audience. The right people will come to you.”
We all wonder – if we ever got to press the restart button, what would we do differently. Ognjen from Ographics.ME gave it a thought and told us that if he ever got to press the restart button on his career, the one thing he would focus more on would be personal branding.
“I would definitely start focusing more on my personal brand. It’s very important to present yourself in the best possible light, not only with your work but with your personal brand too. It’s something that will definitely set you apart from your competition in prospective client’s eyes.”
Personal brand can be your ticket to attracting the type of client you want to work with. But, creating a great personal brand that reflects you can be vital in standing out in the crowd of freelancers.
Read more: How to Come Up With Your Brand
.MErs Tip #4: Don’t Be Afraid to Fail and When You Do, Try Again
No one is fond of failure. Especially not in a sphere of life where your livelihood depends on you making things happen. However, making mistakes, learning from them and persevering are all part of our path to become better and more successful at what we do.
Brent from Brentgalloway.ME shared his views on his experience with making mistakes in his career so far.
“Any mistakes I made along the way were lessons that needed to be learned. That growth is what helped lead me to where I’m at today.”
Nodari from Hagrid.ME looks back on his career so far and says:
“I’ll say that I’m happy with where I’m today, however, there are projects that failed to see the light (they got cancelled and/or scraped), if I could go back, I’d finish those, they were great projects”
One of the most important things according to Nash from Nashvail.ME that he learnt throughout his career is to keep on trying.
“Persevering through all the bad things you make is the most important thing you can do for your career. Though I am still persevering, when I look at the designs, illustrations and writings I did two years ago, and then I look at the ones I do now, there’s an unstoppable urge to rush to my past self, hug him and thank him for not stopping. And then I think of myself in the future and wonder how desperately he is waiting to thank me and to give me a hug.
This advice definitely comes with the usual catch of – if you don’t find perseverance interesting and it’s wearing you out, you might want to switch to something you enjoy persevering at. Enjoying the perseverance is often a great signal towards your passion/the work you love to do.”
You’ve heard them! Don’t give up, go back and finish those projects that failed midway or never took off. More importantly, make sure you learn from your mistakes – those are the most beneficial lessons you’ll learn.
.MErs Tip #5: Build Up Your Portfolio (Even with Personal Projects)
If you are just starting your freelance career and you don’t have much to show for, you might want to consider an easy solution: create your own projects.
I’ve had a chance to talk to a number of people whose primary income comes from freelance work. When I asked them about their career beginnings and how they overcame the problem of not having enough projects to show to their prospective clients, they all gave a unanimous opinion: build up your portfolio by creating your personal projects. Their advice is nicely summed up in these answers
Ognjen from Keemun.ME said:
“Your whole career as a freelancer is based on the process of learning, experiencing, connecting. At times we all feel unmotivated to go through this process and it might reflect on our ability to find the right client. When that happens, create side projects, personal ones. There is no limit, you can follow your most authentic process and create something you’re really proud of. Share it with others and enjoy the outcome.”
Anita from Alfianita.ME has a very proactive approach when it comes to one’s portfolio.
“Work on your portfolio. Don’t share it only in resumes and documents here and there. Think about your brand, record your achievements, think creatively how to showcase it and include numbers to prove results. Don’t think about a portfolio when it’s too late to recover your artefacts. Stay hungry for new learning opportunities and always think transferable skills from one project/work to another.”
Building your portfolio should be a fun and exciting experience. It is a chance for you to show your creativity and let the world know what you can do.
As Rose from Roselin.ME advised:
“If you have a great idea, try to implement it. I find myself learning the most while I’m working on some side projects that I’m really passionate about. There could be existing solutions out there, but I just take the chance to learn. Super excited to get my ideas into realization.”
Also – if you are a creative and have entered a competition where you presented work you were really proud of but you didn’t win the competition, put that in your portfolio too!
.MErs Tip # 6: Show Your Process
This might sound like a funny idea at first, but by showing your work process you are enhancing your chances of getting hired. Scouts honour!
In all seriousness, showing your work process can be a deal maker for many clients, as they can see clearly how you approach every subject and get a better understanding of your working style. Call it ‘behind the scenes’ if you will, but we all want to see how things are done and whether we are getting our money’s worth.
Brent from Brentgalloway.ME agrees:
“Having a strong, thorough process page can help show your level of expertise. Process and about me pages, alongside a curated portfolio, are my secret to landing more client work through my website.”
Ognjen from Keemun.ME also recognises the process as a vital part of attracting your clients.
“Clients usually start their exploration on other platforms and if you catch their attention with your work, they will want to know more. This is the moment when they decide to check your website. It’s a great way to embrace your personality and to show others the insights into your creative process.”
Our Bonus Tip: Invest in Your Marketing Skills
Some time ago, we published an article on a set of marketing skills every freelancer must know. There we went in detail on which marketing skills you should focus on and why.
I highly doubt you’ll contest my belief of just how important marketing skills are for a freelancer. But just in case you do, here’s a thought to toy with. Having a digital presence as one of the prerequisites of success as a freelancer is only half of the equation. Being present online is great, but it will do a little for you unless you spread the word. We did talk about networking, as one of our tips, but arming yourself with marketing skills will let you acquire clients even passively.
Still suspicious? Well then, read this: Marketing Skills Every Freelancer Should Know.
Wishing you great success in your freelance career!