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We have all seen it. The boss, decked out in his expensive suit, and driving a high-end car, feels like he is the king of his domain. Ever wonder how he rose to such a station? The answer is simple: he did it on the hard work of people like you. And for specialized talented people, it can be infuriating. That is why many skilled individuals have chosen to freelance to make their mark and put more money into their pockets.

The problem is many new freelancers, and even the experienced veterans of the self-employment lifestyle, often find themselves at a plateau, leveling off and struggling to elevate their game. They have the tools and the drive to excel but are unsure what to do to reach the next rung on the ladder to ultimate success.

If you have found yourself stuck, our tips will assist in your ascension to a new understanding of professional greatness. Even if you only use one or two, you will see results.

Reaching a Better Future

1. Know Your Worth

Are you the best at what you do? Well, so is everyone else, or so they say. Everyone is competitive and will underbid you time and time again. If you are amazing at what you do, make sure your price properly reflects it, but don’t be so expensive that hiring you is preventative to your target customer. Keep ego out of it.

2. Contracts Are Your Lifejacket

It is a sad commentary on the world today, but there are plenty of people who will stiff you on the bill. And this applies to almost any trade that doesn’t involve a physical product like artwork. Yes, you can fight it in court, but without a written agreement, you have no legal leg to stand on. Contracts spell everything out in detail and keep the parties honest on both sides.

3. It’s All About Brands

In the past, when someone said “brand” the mind only went to two places: big logo companies like Nike and Coca-Cola, and the hit iron used to mark cattle. Now, everyone can be their own brand, designing a logo that fits their personality and trade, and developing a series professional presence online. Those who take this step, thrive. Those who don’t are lost to obscurity in the growing market.

4. The Power of Word-of-mouth

Let’s say you love what you do but don’t want to advertise. Why? Will your business get too much attention? Will the extra work affect quality? Are you too short-handed to handle the volume marketing may draw? Then you have only one recourse and that is the referral. Referrals are worth their weight in gold because they show you have already made someone happy.

5. Keep the Trains Running on Time

We all hate to drag ourselves out of bed, take a shower, get dressed, and choke down a quick breakfast, only to sit in traffic. The upside to all of this is the establishment of a routine. And for success in any business, a schedule is key to maintaining the proper flow of the day. It is wise, even if you work only a couple of hours a day, to make a schedule, keep to it, and have a hard in and out time. Routines let your customers know that you care enough to be predictable.

6. Evolve With the Trade

Some industries stagnate, rarely growing in the knowledge base or tool usage for years, while others change constantly, rapidly, and without warning. If you want to expand your freelance business, keeping an eye on the trades in your respective field is key. Even a simple online newsletter can let you know when an innovation arrives on the landscape, and those who look to the future will never get left behind.

7. Meet the People

There is a very wide market for introverts in the freelance world. Many people become freelancers because they cannot handle the chaos of the corporate world and would rather be left to their own devices in a safe space. This is fine if you wish to remain in a holding pattern professionally, but to thrive, networking is very important. You have to connect to people, make contacts, and exchange ideas. You never know who might be looking for your talents.

8. It is Ok to Be Picky

One of the many upsides to being a freelancer, especially in a specialized trade, is the opportunity to pick and choose what you want to do and with whom. And in many trades, the deficit of skilled professionals makes you a commodity capable of naming your price, and eager clients will happily pay. If you have the choice, be choosy.

9. Don’t Waste My Time

Many freelancers have to pitch work or offer pricing and reasons to hire them. If you are in one of the trades that require this, be succinct. Keep it simple, be quick, and don’t beat around the bush. Busy people love it when they get the information and can chew on it in their own time but hate when professionals are too nervous or shy to be forthright. Confidence and experience are best.

10. Saturated Markets

In the beginning, many new business ideas were guided and ruled by the new titans. Jeff Bezos comes to mind. These days, there are so many of the same businesses that there just aren’t enough customers to go around. Your best bet is to be a singular talent, unique, and specialized. If you corner the market, then customers can only come to you for their needs. Become a professional island.  

Final Thoughts

Success in freelancing isn’t difficult. It is like any business that requires evolution to grow. You have to recognize the entropy as it happens, adapt, and become fluent in the new way of doing things. Keep your ear to the ground, read everything published about your trade, and make sure you have enough support to keep you focused and driven. And remember, it is ok to plan some fun in your day too. We all need a little downtime.