You don't have to spend years and thousands at university to upskill or reskill. There are plenty of low-cost or no-cost options on Youtube, HubSpot, LinkedIn Learning, etc. For those able to venture out or spend a few dollars, short courses offered through local councils, libraries, and artists' guilds are a fantastic way to get involved and build your network.
Talent isn't everything - masters at their craft are people who are committed to putting in the hours to practice and get better all the time.
Maintaining a LinkedIn presence is important. I've had several potential clients reach out after reading my LinkedIn posts. It's like a constant advertisement for my business.
There are SO MANY free resources online to learn more about your trade. It's very tempting when you start your business and feel imposter syndrome to purchase expensive courses. There is a place for this, but try to exhaust your free education opportunities first.
Don't be afraid to raise your rates as your business grows. As you gain more experience and expertise, you should be charging more for your services. By doing so, you'll be able to earn a better income and continue growing your business.
Find another freelancer and keep each other accountable. Freelancing can be lonely work with no one around to celebrate your wins, or help pick you up after taking a loss. Get into some Facebook networking groups, reach out and find another freelancer who is keen to do the same. Report to each other on a daily or weekly basis with your goals for the upcoming day or week, what you achieved in the previous period and what you could do better. This will make your freelance journey a whole lot better.
Do a 'value-added analysis' on all the services you do for you business; are there processes you have in place which don’t actually help the business? I’ve done that several times- you build in lots of stuff and then find out clients don’t care!
It's helpful to do an annual review of your business, to see where you've come from, whether you hit your goals and what plans you need to make for the year ahead. It's even more helpful to have someone else review your review and provide feedback - they'll give you an objective view and tips you hadn't considered.
Never underestimate how important it is to celebrate your wins! Not only does this supply self-encouragement and validation, but it helps to showcase your portfolio and expertise, too. This may be linking to a newly published piece on LinkedIn, publishing a case study on your website or making a post and some stories on your social media channels.
Remain open to new ideas of working. It's easy to get caught up in the daily routine of trying to land clients and delivering on projects on your own, which can get boring and repetitive sometimes. If you find yourself feeling stuck or bored, take some time for yourself and think about how you can make your work more interesting for yourself. You're likely to stick on this freelancing path and succeed in it if you find it enjoyable.
Invest in personal branding. LinkedIn is basically made for this. It builds your authority in the space, establishes you as a thought leader, and can generate a steady stream of inbound leads to keep your freelance business humming.
Have the self-belief to let clients go and move onto the next set. I fired seven low-paying clients in the first quarter of 2022 which gave me space to triple my income by taking on higher-quality work. There was a bit of overlap as I onboarded new clients while finishing off work with the old set but it was absolutely worth it.
I take time twice a year (New Year and FNY) to identify what I need to learn for professional growth (either skills or mindset) and then set aside the time & money to do the courses or hire a coach.
As a freelancer, you don't need anyone's permission to raise your rates. So raise them as frequently as you want and can afford to do. I try to raise with every new client.
Start collecting proof of work. Collect text or video testimonials. Don't let go of the opportunity to enhance your credibility as a freelance business owner. This will ensure you get recommendations, great word of mouth & referrals in the years to come.