A lot of people I know have become freelancers, but only some of them seem to have succeeded at it. The rest have either had trouble getting enough work or get just enough work to live off of… nothing exciting. Since your business seems to be thriving, I was wondering if you had any tips on how to make a freelance business succeed?
Hiey!! So great to hear from you, thanks for sending in! I can def share a few things that have worked for me, and all of them can apply to almost any type of freelance work. Or really any job, for that matter.
1. Have a good attitude. Your clients, vendors and coworkers can sense your inner energy. The more positive and upbeat you can be, the more people will want to work with you. Can you be a really negative person and still get work if you have AMAZING talent? Of course! But your negativity will likely result in some opportunities not materializing for you.
2. Say yes. If someone asks, "Do you know how to..." say yes. You can teach yourself how to...or outsource it to someone if you really don't know how. Obviously, there may be limits to this scenario (I would not "say yes" to rebuilding a moped motor, for example) XD. Also say yes to the sucky projects every now and then. Helping out your clients with a job that's less than glamorous builds your relationship with them and shows them that you're there to help when they need it, even if it's something you'd rather not do. They'll repay you with more work (and more fun work!) in the future. Trust me, it works!
3. Stick to your deadlines. Time management is SOOOO important. You need to hit your deadlines pretty much every time. If you can deliver a little early or with a little extra, even better. Check out my tips for time management to help you meet this goal.
4. Communicate your expectations. However you communicate (email, phone, text, etc.), make sure you stay in regular communication with your clients. Reply to their emails in a timely manner (that usually means within a day) and keep them apprised of your schedule and progress throughout the project. Consider sending them work in progress (WIP) or setting up touchpoints if that makes them more comfortable. This shows that you're moving on the project and care about how they are feeling, plus it builds trust.
5. If you can't meet your deadline, let your client know as ASAP as possible (The Office). So even though you should do EVERYTHING you can to meet your deadlines EVERY TIME, things happen. You will miss a deadline eventually. When you see that is going to happen, you need to let your client know as soon as humanly possible. Apologize and ask for an extension. Then learn from the situation and don't let it happen again.
6. Treat rudeness with kindness. This one is really hard, but essential. Sometimes your clients or vendors or partners will be rude to you. Usually, they are just in a bad mood for some reason (they just got yelled at by their boss, their kid has been acting up lately, they just got a scary diagnosis from a doctor, etc.). We have no idea what's going on in their lives, so just give them the benefit of the doubt and give them grace to make mistakes. When you respond to rudeness with kindness, it's amazing how quickly the negativity drops away and the person starts treating you better too. Check out Invisibilia's "Flip the Script" podcast for more insight!
7. However, if someone is incredibly rude to you over and over, drop that like it's hot. I once had this client that was handing out disrespect on the regular (I posted one of his comments on IG if you follow me there!)...one time he made me so upset, I was literally shaking when I got off the phone. Needless to say, right after that phone call, I finished up that project and then cut ties. I do not work with people that treat me like that. I see this as one of the biggest perks of being your own boss. You have control over who you work for and there's no reason to put up with people treating you shitty...there's SO MUCH work to do, trust me, you can find something else!
8. Always, always, always put out your best work. Every project, no matter how big or small, needs your excellent touch. EVERY project you put out into the world is a reflection of you, so make sure you’re going to be proud of it when others see it. Your clients will recognize your drive for excellence and reach out to you because they know you'll give it your all every time.
There are of course many more things to being successful, but I think that's enough for one post :) If you even made to the end of this thing, leave a comment on my IG (@themanmans). I'll enter you in a drawing for a free piece from my friend Salena Steele, also known as @139made on Instagram.