Some of us fall into freelancing by accident. We lose or quit our jobs and the only kind of work we can find right away is freelance. We don’t realize that freelancing is somewhat of an art form that we can all become masters at. Instead our eye in only on the prize… in this case, money and paying the rent. What we should all learn is that freelancing can actually become a fantastic and fulfilling career move, as long as you remember the following basic wise words:
1) Build your skills and portfolio before quitting your day job
If you have the luxury of time to wait until you have built up your skills and portfolio before quitting your day job, then this is ideal. Make sure you are ready to put yourself out there immediately so you waste little time. If you are a graphic designer, a writer or a web designer, for example, you should have your skills honed and ready with a portfolio to show for it. If you dream of being a writer but have nothing to show for it yet, open your own blog.
2) Start/Continue networking and making friends
Don’t be a “No” man/woman. Helping out a friend almost always comes back around. So next time someone asks you to help them move or help them with a task they’re struggling with, help them out. Almost every job I have gotten was through connections. Having good connections is one of the most valuable things a freelancer can attain. If you don’t have any, open up a Facebook and Linkedin account and start right away. If you have some already, keep up with them regularly and build upon them.
3) Eliminate Clutter
This may sound like an unrelated tip but it’s actually quite important. Most freelancers work from their home or personal office space. If your home and personal office space is a mess, it will most likely reflect upon your work and general organization . Create a clean and clutter free surrounding for yourself so you can be comfortable and free to work without distraction. This also means your computer desktop, your email organization and your computer file organization. Do not let your emails accumulate and take control over your desktop environment.
4) Learn to single-task
If you’re generally a multi-tasker, it’s important to take it back to the basics and learn how to single-task. Multi-tasking is overrated and usually just causes confusion, stress and less accurate or poorer quality work. In order to successfully single-task, create a to-do list right away, have as few in-boxes as possible; one physical and one email is sufficient. If you have multiple email addresses that you use, be sure to direct them all to one main inbox. Another good tip is to plan your day in blocks to keep yourself organized and working efficiently.
5) Stop Procrastinating
Procrastination is something that debilitates us all, and it’s certainly not an easy thing to stop. The main reason why we all procrastinate is because we feel overwhelmed by a particular task or tasks, so make sure to eliminate all but the essential jobs. Create accountability. We put things off for ourselves but most of us hate to look bad to others. Use this simple feeling to drive your work quality and efficiency. Make sure to focus on the small steps, create a deadline and think one task at a time.