Proma 🐝 Nautiyal

3 years ago · 5 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Survival Guide for the Fellow Freelancer

Survival Guide for the Fellow Freelancer

43 percent of the U.S. workforce will be freelancing by the year 2020.
Freelancinghacks.com

Working remotely increases work efficiency y about 13 percent. Freelancinghacks.com

And along with many such statistics, the best part...you are the boss of your time and you have the ability to unleash your knowledge and creativity in the domain of your expertise, without someone contesting you every other second. 

Truly, the latter happens to be one of the most significant causes why many professionals move to freelancing. Not getting a freehand in doing what they do best and waiting for constant approvals can very well dampen the spirit of any diligent professional, especially the creative sorts, the ones who do not lean towards logic a lot. Well, somewhat maybe, but not a lot. 

However, with all the benefits of being the boss of your own time and work that come with freelancing, also come certain cons: turns out you actually do have a boss; your client, and since you are freelancing, you are basically a one-man or a one-woman army. 

Over the years, I have come across a number of freelancers and while talking to them I have learnt a fair deal about freelancing...from them and of course, from my own experience. 

The truth is, it is not easy for freelancers. One of the biggest issues being; no stable income (unless you work on a retainer). Many a time even if you have got a good amount of work in your hand, there is no guarantee that you are actually going to get paid for it. That's right, just like there are instances where freelancers have taken on projects and have flaked on it, thus breaking the trust factor of clients, it has occurred the other way round, as well. 

The people who work with integrity (both clients and freelancers) are left to bear the brunt of this entire situation. The trust  factor indefinitely compromised and since it's a zero sum game, every time a client or a freelancer flakes, the other ends up losing trust in the system. 

THIS is not helpful for either clients or freelancers. 

So, today I am going to list down a few pointers that I have been following in my journey as a freelancer. 

Know who you want to work with

We all have intuition. The 6th sense. We might not be present to it but it does exist. A bit more in some and a bit less in others; but it does exist. You, as a freelancer, need to be aware of this intuition. No businessperson, ever, has succeeded in their business by tagging intuition as something irrelevant, every time they feel something. 

When you are on a client call, engagement or a kick-off call, whatever you call it, if you feel even a hint of discomfort about the way your conversation is rolling, STEP BACK! Money is not as important in life as peace of mind. Even if they are (seemingly) paying you good money, they might be asking far too much of your time and mind space during and after the entire engagement. 

Sometimes, you might get thrown off by their overly sweet talk and think you could not get a better, more well-mannered client, but even if they are nice (which in every possibility they might be), it is not your job to protect their interests first, hey are already doing that. It is your job to look out for yourself, so stand tight to all the guidelines that you have set for yourself. That takes us to the second point. 

Keep a contract and set of guidelines handy 

Skeptical as I am, I have still burnt my fingers in multiple assignments. I hate procrastination and love getting things done and tick them off the checklist, ASAP. This did not fare me well in my freelancing assignments. As soon as, I would get the work done I would send it to my clients, as I did not want to keep them waiting to get the work on their table. And while some of my clients would pay the sum almost immediately, there were others who would never make that transaction. 

I had to do something. I needed to protect my interests. It is then when I decided to ask for an advance payment before starting off the assignment. I found out that the clients who were professional and understood the terms of a professional engagement would not object to the advance payment. These clients were also most likely to pay the entire sum in the future, as opposed to those who would not want to pay the advance sum, nor the remaining sum post completion of work. 

This soon became one of the best ways to know whether I should take up a task or not. Also, if I had problems in getting paid by the client on one of the assignments, I would be wary of taking up another one from the same client.  

So here are some of the things you should have ready before getting into any freelance engagement: 

  • A document listing down the terms of engagement in detail - Make sure to detail it, as clearly as possible. Use the notes you had taken during the briefing call to ensure you have all the points taken care of. Mention by which date you are going to submit the work done/ or the first draft and other such details. Also mention the amount agreed upon for the assignment.
  • Request an advance payment to protect your interest - Once the work is done, it has no value to you sitting on your computer if it is not translating into money. That is clearly loss of your valuable time during which you could have taken up another assignment.
  • Get the above mentioned document signed by your client - Any document which is mutually agreed upon and signed by both parties is considered as a binding contract and makes both parties liable. If the amount defaulted on is way too large, then this document can come to your rescue. 
Here are some things you should keep in mind, as a freelancer, to ensure good business growth.

  • Be really good at what you do - It is in your hands to impress the clients with your marvelous work and turn them into returning clients. They also become your most ardent evangelists and this is how brands grow. Do your work exceptionally well. Ownership and accountability is key in growing your freelancing business. Especially, because their is no one above you to ensure the two. 
  • Maintain a calendar - Don't juggle between assignments. Give them the proper amount of time and energy, each of them deserve. Never compromise on the quality of your work because of the amount you are being paid or the deadline looming over your head. It is better to charge a premium and give stellar work than charge a discounted price and produce shoddy work. Remember, repeat business is what will help your business not only tick, but skyrocket. 
  • Invest in your personal brand - Showcase your work on social media and affinity networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, beBee, Instagram, and more. Help people know more about your work. This helps you garner more attention and maybe even leads with sponsored posts, down the line. 
  • Network & help each other - Exponential growth, all by yourself, is possible but could be very slow as opposed to working with a network of freelancers and even clients who will be mutually benefitted by working together with you. Always keep a lookout for such opportunities. Help others grow and you will see growth in your business, as well. And sometimes, help without reason, if you can. It feels great. 
These are few things I have learnt over the years from my own work and from the experiences of other freelancers in my network. Hope this helps you, too. 

If you found this post informative and useful, please do like, share, or comment and let me know your thoughts on it. Would really appreciate it. Spread the word and let fellow freelancers know how they can be the best at their freelance game. 

To find out more about my work, please visit: www.digiwitch.com

Thank you!
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Comments

Proma 🐝 Nautiyal

3 years ago #6

#5
That was funny, Zacharias Voulgaris. :-D  When someone takes their precious time to read a post and comment on it, too, I feel terrible if I don't acknowledge and thank them, on time.  That was a fantastic response, btw! 

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

3 years ago #5

#3
That's alright Proma. I spent a few nights sleepless waiting your response, but eventually I gave into sleep as I was exhausted, so no worries for the late reply :-)

Proma 🐝 Nautiyal

3 years ago #4

#2
Glad you found this buzz useful, Harvey Lloyd. Wishing your neighbor all the very best and hope they find the buzz helpful, too! Apologies for the delayed response. Have a great day ahead!

Proma 🐝 Nautiyal

3 years ago #3

#1
Thank you, Zacharias \ud83d\udc1d Voulgaris for your comment and for the read. I do agree about the passive income revenue stream. This is something I should put some thought into. Thanks for the advice :-) and apologies for the delayed response.

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #2

Thanks, this was a timely piece. A neighbor has just entered this area of service and i will be forwarding your thoughts.

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

3 years ago #1

Thank you Proma for the insightful article! I'd add that, whenever possible, it's good to have some sort of passive income revenue stream on the side, for those months where the cashflow runs dry. Besides, such a revenue stream is more reliable than even a salary in a conventional work setting, since it's generally diversified and perhaps even anti-fragile. Many remote workers who have been doing this kind of work for a while end up getting such a revenue stream eventually, in order to make this lifestyle more sustainable. Cheers!

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