Monday, November 23, 2009

9 Useful Tips for Freelance Designers

1. Select an appropriate work rate that you will charge. In fact you should have more than one rate depending on the work. Being a freelancer does not mean that you have to charge less than everyone else. Take some time to select the most suitable rate that you will charge; you will need an hourly rate, and a project rate. When deciding on how much you are going to charge you should make sure that you take into account your particular niche of freelancing, the market demand, your own skills, your overheads, how much profit you expect, and how much your client will be willing to pay.

2. Make sure that you get the most from the internet. Even though the majority of freelancers are web-workers nowadays they still fail to take full advantage of the web. It is possible to really bootstrap your freelance career by promoting it through a blog or website. The web also provided plenty of free software that can help with all areas of your business such as; idea generation, managing your budget, and invoicing customers.

3. Build the best network that you can. In the beginning, as well as throughout your career, it is important to have a network of people who will send referrals your way. There are many opportunities for networking both online and offline and these can help send work your way as you build up your reputation. It is important that you use every possible avenue for networking including online resources like Linkedin and Facebook.

4. Make sure that your work environment is optimal as possible. Being a freelancer doesn’t mean that you have to work alone at home. It also doesn’t mean that you need to go work in an office. Many cities are now seeing the arrival of co-working spaces. The advantages with these types of places is that they don’t need to be alone all the time, and it is also cheaper than getting an office.

5. Make sure that you put by an emergency fund. Having an emergency fund will take some of the pressure off and allow you to just concentrate on being creative. Life is not fun when you have no food on the table, and having an emergency fund will allow you to be choosier about clients.

6. Consider outsourcing your work. If you find that your freelance business is really taking off then you might that you need to turn down work. You don’t really need to do this though. What you could do is outsource the work to other reliable freelancers and manage these people remotely. Outsourcing can really be a great decision because it will allow your business to grow and it means not turning down work.

7. Make sure that you keep an eye on your progress. If you want to be really successful as a freelancer you need to be able to track not only the financial parts of your business but also your own performance and attitudes. Once you have determined how your hourly work rate relates to your speed at completing projects you will be able to able to judge your own efficiency. You need to be regularly thinking of ways to improve efficiency so that you can then increase the amount of money you make. You need to be careful though, because improving your work rate should not mean a reduction in the quality of your work.

8. Expand your freelance services. When you reach a stage where you are happy with your work efficiency you should then consider broadening your freelance services. Almost everyone will be able to offer other content as well as what they are currently providing. These could be things like podcasts, slideshows, screencasts, or diagrams. If you don’t feel up to this extra work now then you should at least make plans to offer them within a year or so.

9. Break down large projects into smaller units. Many freelancers can become a bit daunted by the idea of taking on a big project; many freelancers try to avoid these as much as possible. If you are taking on a big project then it will come with a bit more responsibility and might feel like a lot to take on. The trick is to break it all down into small jobs and tackle each job as you go along; this will make it all seem less overwhelming. If you need to you can also outsources some of the work to other appropriate freelancers.

Finally, remember that bad times come and go. The ebb and flow nature is freelancing is part of the package. To be successful you are going to need to accept this. The best way is to do the best you can, plan well, and don’t worry too much about those things that are out of your control.

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