5 easy ways to make 2018 your best freelancing year yet
Building your brand and client base as a freelancer takes time. There is no quick fix but you can do a few things to help make your 2018 a happier, richer and more empowering year in the world of freelancing.
Define your values
Your values drive all of your actions, but how often have you compromised them just to get an extra buck? We've all been there. But in 2018, you can change this and lose that icky feeling you get when you're working on something or with someone you don't really jam with. Write a list of the things that matter most to you and think about what you have enjoyed in the past. Maybe it's ethical brands, bricks and mortar businesses or people who align to your creative vision. Whatever it is, don't be afraid to say 'no' if it doesn't align. Not only will you end up happier in the long run, you will be able to do some of your best work and attract more of the same just by sticking to your values.
- Set some money goals
To grow you need to set a few goals and plan a path to get there. A huge factor that can determine our freelancing success is money. But how often do you stop to think about what your dream income actually is? Start with a figure then work backwards to see how many packages/services/workshops you need to sell per month to get to that figure. You might have to adjust your expectations a little if you are just starting out, or if you are a few years in it might be time to raise those rates to get there.
- Ask for referrals
For many freelancers, referrals are the main way they gain new business. When you wrap up a project how much time do you spend nurturing that client post project? Often we are so focused on the sale and the start of the journey we leave opportunity on the table at the end. Think about a post-project survey where you ask your client to list one person that would find your services valuable. That's one more warm lead for you! And don't be shy about asking again a few months down the track when you touch base with them on how they are going. And don't forget past employers too - no contacts are off limits here!
- Boost your productivity
Quit your dilly-dallying and get focused this year. If you aren't using a tool to track your time, 2018 might be the year to do it. The one I'm loving right now is the Focus Keeper app. Based on the Pomodoro method, it gives you blocks of 25 minutes to focus, then a 5-minute break to step away from the computer. Before you know it you've smashed through your to-do list and knock off early. This habit alone could boost your revenue and give you a killer sense of accomplishment. Stop wondering why you are so "busy" but still have so much on the to do list! Another tool that freelancers love is Harvest to track time working on client projects.
- Get out there (and get curious)
Something you know we advocate here at Cool Wow is going to events and meeting people IRL! Even in our digital age, real face to face relationships matter. It could be a simple meet up or an inspirational talk. Our monthly newsletter curates a list of the most valuable freelancer events every month (subscribe here). While networking can be a dirty word, it doesn't have to feel sleazy. Simply adopt a mindset of curiosity and remember people are more focused on themselves than you. I've turned many conversations into incredible opportunities just by learning about people and their businesses - often you can help add value to something they hadn't even considered.