Lessons From Year One Of Freelancing

This morning, after my phone call with a new client I found myself calling someone out on their perspectives on freelancing on Facebook. I truly believed that it was something that I had to do because a lot of what they were saying reminded me of all the negative associations that are out there about freelancing. I've been freelancing for nearly a year and a half, and I've learned so much both about myself, and this misunderstood lifestyle that triggers so many misconceptions. I was raised by parents who have an extensive history of self-employment so freelancing is one of those things that I've known a lot about since I was a kid. 1) Don't Underestimate Your Worth When you're first starting out it's way too easy to fall into the trap of underestimating how much your work is worth. In my opinion I think this largely has to do with what people think about the hierarchical system that's present in every, "regular" job. As a result people get stuck in this belief that they have to start with low rates and work hard until they have enough seniority to earn more money. The cool thing about freelancing is that a majority of your clientele expects you to set your own rates. Often it involves flexibility and negotiation based on someone's budget.   It's alarmingly easy to get trapped in content mills, and places like Upwork's illegally low rates when you're first starting out. They offer the accessibility of allowing anyone, anywhere to place a bid or write an article. Unfortunately they have so many users, that they can get away with super low rates. For instance, one time a successful Freelancer bid was only $1 per article. Not sure what to charge? Do a bit of research and find out what industry standard rates are, and factor in stuff like the amount of time you'll need, word count, etc. If you're a Canadian writer check out PWAC's what to pay a writer guide. 2) Get outside and meet people Freelancing, more than anything is a lifestyle where you have to work a little harder to develop a peer group of people that do the same work. The work from home life means that you rarely work in person with anyone, except for the occasional, in person meeting. Even if you don't live alone going to seminars, taking a class, going to networking events, and attending special events in your niche is the best possible way to meet people that have the potential to impact your work, over the long term. Last night for instance I went to a PWAC seminar. Even though I had to skip the social segment because of a early morning client call it was great to be there because it filled the void of not having water cooler chats at the office.  I'm also enrolled in night school, and go to whatever event related to writing, reading,music, theatre, film, and my love of long distance running that I can.
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3) Don't Be Afraid To Ask For More Money That has been one of my most important lessons of the year. It lead to my highest paying, and most loyal/ stabile freelance client. Right around the time when I signed my contract I asked for a higher rate, they said yes, and that's when I knew that they were worth my time. People who are willing to pay fairly for good work are valuable assets for any freelancer because there's too many people out there who treat freelancers like they don't have any bills to pay, and they're doing their work for shits and giggles. 4) Last but not least...be yourself! Unfortunately there are people out there that might have similar ideas, skill sets, and ideas This is why showing people what makes you who you are is important. Well, that's all I got for advice. I'm glad I went to the seminar last night. Great opportunity to meet other writers from the Toronto chapter, and members of the community.

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rosemaryrichings

Hi, I'm Rosemary, AKA Rosie, and I'm a web & blog content creator, editor, and manager that creates and edits online, B2C and marketing content. I help small business owners & marketing professionals like you transform your brand into a relevant & worthwhile part of your customer's everyday life. Publication credits include Stories By Buffer, ProBlogger, and Weebly Inspiration Center, and more.

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2 thoughts on “Lessons From Year One Of Freelancing

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