It is possible for you to become a successful freelancer, but it takes some effort. Not everybody who embarks on a freelancing career ends up being successful. In fact, only a small percentage of the folks who embark on freelancing careers end up being successful. Evidence for these assertions is to be found in the statistics from freelancing sites. The major freelancing sites like Freelancer.com, Elance.com and Odesk.com tend to have millions of freelancers as members. However, out of those millions of freelancers, only small cliques of a few thousand (typically less than ten thousand per site) tend to be folks who can be termed as being relatively successful freelancers. The numbers of freelancers who can be termed as phenomenally successful freelancers (those, say, earning thousands of dollars per month) tend to be even lower: typically in the hundreds. All this lends credence to our earlier assertion, that it is possible to be a successful freelancer, but it does take some effort.
- Accumulating lots of positive feedback: the way to accumulate lots of positive feedback is to bid for lots of projects, and execute each of them perfectly. You also need to manage your relationships with clients well, in terms of giving them timely updates, being patient with them, listening to them genuinely and so on. With lots of positive feedback, you can win the best projects, giving you the chance to earn even more positive feedback… hence creating a cycle of success.
- Acquiring multiple skills: with multiple skills, you will be in a position to bid for projects in various niches. That will in turn lower the chances of you running out of work completely (and possibly getting into financial difficulties).
- Managing time in an excellent manner: if you are to be in a position to complete clients’ projects in good time, acquire new skills, bid for better projects continually and so on, you need to have time. You cannot create extra time (you have only 24 hours in a day), but you can manage that limited amount of time well, to enhance your success as a freelancer.
- Managing finances in an excellent manner: the idea here is to ensure that at any given time, you have adequate savings. This way, you can afford to leverage on things. But if you have absolutely no money (even for day to day expenses), you will start getting desperate, taking whatever projects come along, and ultimately lose your leveraging power.
- Building a fantastic team: as your freelancing profile continues to grow, a time may come when you get more work than you can do by yourself. Rather than simply foregoing such work, you can take it, and delegate it to your team. But the team has to be good: otherwise you risk messing up your (hard-earned) profile. You should recruit folks who have the right natural abilities, and proceed to train them adequately. That is how you end up with a fantastic team.
- Being consistent in business development: this is all about bidding for projects consistently, to ensure that you never get to a point where you have run out of work completely. It is also about making strategic investments in business equipment (like the best laptops and accessories), building your portfolio continually, networking in freelancing forums and so on.