If you hate being in charge of your own schedule and salary, you probably shouldn’t be a freelancer. But since you’re here, I’ll go ahead and assume you like the idea of being your own boss. You’re certainly not alone in that.
Every day, more and more people decide to take charge of their careers and start freelancing–there’s even more than a billion freelancers worldwide. If you’re trying to break into the world of freelancing, you’re probably wondering how to create a sustainable freelance career.
With the right steps, freelancing can be rewarding and lucrative. It gives you the power to take charge of your life and the flexibility to focus on the things you love. However, achieving sustainable growth isn’t as easy as it seems. To help you on your freelance journey, we’re going to dive into the three stages of transforming your freelance business into a long-term career.
Stage 1 – The Commitment
I’ll start off by saying freelance life isn’t for everyone. You might feel the pull to break free of the 9-5 grind or you might desire more flexibility in your schedule and finances. These are great reasons to consider freelancing–but they’re not enough to help you create a successful business.
Starting a freelance career isn’t easy and you’ll have to be committed to sticking it out to make it worth your time. If you’re ready to give it a go, here’s what the first stage of the process involves:
Find Your Niche
No matter what your area of expertise is, the first step in starting a freelance career is determining your passions and skills. It’s not enough to say you want to be a freelance writer when there are so many types of writing out there. While you don’t have to lock yourself into one niche forever, it can be beneficial to specialize in one or two writing types.
Create a Portfolio
Before you can start applying for writing gigs, you need a writing portfolio. A writing portfolio is a way to display your best work and showcase your skills for potential clients. Even if you don’t have any writing work to display, you can create an online portfolio by creating samples that are similar to what you want to create for your future clients.
To make your freelance business sustainable, you’re going to have to set boundaries with your schedule and your finances. Especially as a new freelancer, you may be unsure what you should charge clients for your services. It’s okay if you change your rate for certain projects, but set a boundary for what you consider to be an acceptable rate. It’s equally important to set boundaries with your time. Don’t be afraid to say no if something isn’t beneficial for your business.
Stage 2 - Starting a Successful Business
Once you’ve identified your strengths and determined what your niche will be, it’s time to start building a successful business. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and perseverance upfront, but if you’re able to build a sustainable business, your work will pay off in the long run.
Here’s the steps to start a successful freelance business:
Connect with Others
While you likely won’t miss commuting to an office, freelancing can get lonely at times. Networking isn’t just an important piece of building your business–it’s great for your emotional health as well. Networking with other writers or freelancers can lead to the discovery of new projects and opportunities. You can network with others online through social media platforms or even attend in-person conferences that are relevant to your niche.
Get Better at What You Do
No matter how great of a writer you may be, there’s always room for improvement. If you want to earn more opportunities and increase your rates overtime, you need to improve your skills as well. To remain competitive in the freelance world, continuous skill development and learning are essential. You can invest in your business and your writing skills by enrolling in online workshops, reading industry-related articles, or even joining a local writing community.
Streamline Your Business
As your business grows, so will the number of items on your to-do list. The key to managing your schedule is identifying what processes can be streamlined. There are only so many hours in the day and if you want to get everything done, you’re going to have to refine some of your business practices. Whether this looks like using a program to keep track of your projects or investing in personal and professional development to take control of your schedule, identify ways you can save time in your day.
Stage 3 - Taking Your Business to the Next Level
Once your business starts to take off and you’re seeing the fruits of your labor, you might think it’s time to relax. But don’t kick your feet up just yet–there’s still work to do. While you may not want to scale your business, depending on what your long-term goals are, creating a sustainable business means always planning ahead.
Becoming stagnant in your growth as a freelancer isn’t going to help you survive and thrive long-term. It’s essential for you to take your business to the next level if you want to build a future career for years to come.
Here’s what you can do to take your freelance business to the next level:
Establish Yourself as an Expert
While establishing yourself as an expert is necessary from the beginning, you might start to actually feel like an expert at this point. What this means is you can start to use your skills in other ways. This might look like creating resources for other freelancers who also want to grow a business or even teaching freelancers through a YouTube platform. No matter how you choose to use your skills, keep building your skills and enhance what you already have.
Take on Larger Projects
Taking your business to the next level often looks like taking on larger and higher-paying projects. Now that you have the experience and confidence to take on larger projects, you can start to make more money in less time. Or, you might use this as an opportunity to expand your services and dive into a new area of freelancing.
With any successful freelance business, there’s going to come a time when you no longer have the ability to take care of every task. To keep up with the growth you’re experiencing, it’s going to become necessary to delegate tasks. You might outsource some of your writing tasks to other freelancers or hire a virtual assistant to handle administrative tasks. Focus on the tasks only you can do and find a way to delegate the others.
Building a Sustainable Freelance Career with Hire a Writer
Building a successful and sustainable freelance career takes a lot of time and effort. Of course, it would be easier if you could build a successful business overnight, but that’s not how the world works. As difficult as it may be at times, try to enjoy the journey and appreciate the skills you pick up along the way.
At Hire a Writer, we believe in doing our best and helping others do the same. If you’re looking for tips about growing your freelance business, subscribe to our blog to get writing and business tips straight to your inbox!