Freelancer lessons learned from the Successful Self-Employed

The following is a short list of takeaways from very successful self-employed individuals.  They can be applied to any freelancer or solopreneur business.

1. Be a business not just a product

Being self-employed can be difficult as you have to run an entire business. The problem for most freelancers are that they forget this, and instead focus solely on the product (or service). Although the work you perform or the product you see is important, there are other important freelancer business planaspects to a business including sales, marketing, and customer service. To be successful as a freelancer, you have to keep these things in the front of your mind and develop them with the product. By developing your sales and marketing you can start to create a sales system and a network of clients. This changes your business from performing one-off gigs to streamlining incoming work. Don’t be out of work because you were focusing too much on the product, but instead build your business.

2. Have a “third space”

This comes from a talk by Rachael Ellison, an Executive Coach specializing in Work-Life Synergy. She talks about having this place somewhere between your work life and social life. Being a freelancer, many struggle to differentiate the two and that’s what this third space is used for. It helps promote a work life balance for yourself. The third space is a place where you transfer over from work to life or the reverse. The importance is some transition action that tells your mental state which one to focus on. Some events include changing clothes, switching rooms, going for a walk, or going to workout. There needs to be this transition or else your mind will continue to integrate the two. It’s important to have a good balance or else you’re going to get burned out quickly. Think about what your third space might be and how you can start adding it into your life.

3. Don’t doubt yourself

This starts by identifying any limiting beliefs you have about yourself. Write them down and be aware of when your mind starts to limit yourself with them. Actively work on limiting yourself less and challenging yourself more. You will be utterly surprised how much more you can achieve than you give yourself credit for. This also works in knowing your worth and not selling yourself short on your accomplishments or abilities. Now, it’s important to not oversell yourself, but having confidence and pride in your abilities can be attractive to a client. By taking challenges and limiting your doubts you will begin to grow your business and reach clients you never thought possible. Freelancing is all a mindset, and it’s important to not limit yourself.

4. Create your signature story

It’s not easy to stand out as a freelancer especially when you are freelancer self storyjust  starting out. One way to work at this is to create a signature story – or an extended elevator pitch – to sell yourself to possible clients. Write down who you are, some of the work you have completed, who you work well with, and why you are different. You can then narrow these down into 5 – 10 main points that you use to sell yourself. It’s important to be as transparent as possible in your story to develop a relationship with the client. If they feel like you are relatable, polished, and confident they are more likely to choose your work.

5. You’re not alone

Although you work alone, there are millions of other solopreneurs in the world. Just at it is important to build a network of clients, it’s also important to take the time to invest in real relationships with other freelancers. You can use them for help or be a resource for them too. They might have already worked through a problem similar to what you’re currently dealing with. Although you work alone you’re not in this market alone and people are excited to share their success tips.

6. This is a job not just a hobby

You may have become a freelancer based on a passion, but you need to make enough money to continue pursuing your passion, pay your living expenses, and more. You need to know what your work is worth and not go down the slippery slope of lowering prices to win the bid.  As a freelancer you need to stay in control of your income and your expenses. To do this, you can use a service like ALOEwerx to take care of all your accounting needs… from just $35 a month…  

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