It’s been a while since I spent some time posting here. The main thing reason is that Totally Freelance has always been a passion project for me, never a money maker. Truth told, as I don’t run any ads here at the moment, it costs me time and money to write here. The main reason I’ve not been writing here often is that my freelancing life been really busy. And while that’s good, I had a reminder why it’s important to always be hustling for more work.
I had one of those awesome gigs freelancers love. A regular workload with a reliable client who gave me autonomy and paid me fairly and on time. The job, writing and editing a monthly newsletter and weekly email communication, was good enough that I was even able to outsource a part of it to other freelancing friends, thus sharing the benefit.
But, like all good things, the job has come to an end. Graciously, the client has given me three month’s warning – with pay! – so I’m able to transition into another role without being smashed financially.
I also have another ongoing job with a great client. That started as a four-week replacement for a team member who resigned but the cleint was so happy with my work that they have kept me on indefinitely. But the head honcho at that publisher is moving on in February and that adds some uncertainty to what 2018 will have in store for me.
Freelancing is a great lifestyle for me but it does have some challenges. The volatility of being able to be let go with no notice means you have to constantly hustle for clients and maintain relationships. Even when a gig dries up, stay on good terms as you never know what the future holds.
So, what should you do?
1. Network all the time
I’m a member of several mailing lists and Facebook groups for freelancers. While in some cases we compete for work, we are also a supportive community and share “overflow” work.
Also, I see every company I interact with as a potential client. I’m never shy about talking about what I do and that if they ever need someone with my skills to let me know.
2. Don’t waste time
When you’re having a quiet day, explore potential options for jobs, update your skills and try new things.
For example, I recently updated my travelling computer to a new iPad Pro – the model that uses the Apple Pencil (what a ridiculous product name!) so you can write on the screen and draw. I’m now playing with a drawing app and looking at online tutorials to develop my drawing and image manipulation skills. Editing photos and creating illustrations is a great extra I can offer clients with the words I write.
3. Business isn’t about money – it’s about people
I have never “sold” my services specifically. I’ve focussed on developing relationships with people. As a freelancer, you are the world’s problem solver. And people want problems solved by people they can trust to solve the problem.
Focus on building trust first. That can happen through conversations, by showing some of your past work, or by establishing a reputation as someone that is reliable. You’d be surprised at how networks share information. The great job you do in one place can end up being noted by someone you don’t know, leading to more work.
It’s easy to sit back when you’re busy, making good money and doing interesting work. But never stop looking ahead to what’s next.