Progressive Recruitment

6 Tips on how to become a successful freelancer

More and more graduates are taking the plunge into self-employment. In fact, being a freelancer is tempting for many. The free scheduling of work, flexibility and the free choice of clients are just some of the many advantages. However, if you really want to become a successful freelancer, there are some important aspects you should consider.

1 - Create Structure

Being a freelancer promises freedom, e.g. in a home office or anywhere in the world. However, you should not confuse freedom with letting yourself go. Working in your sweatpants with your laptop in bed at lunchtime should not become a permanent condition, nor should completing assignments at midnight.

  • Structure starts with setting up a fixed workstation in your home office. Try to keep "work" and "private life" strictly separate. Otherwise, there is a risk that your entire home will become an office and you will no longer be able to relax.
  • Set fixed working hours. Within this time, you should work concentrated on your projects. In the time that is left over from the day, you can then really relax or do sports. By the way, fixed working hours also saves you from others thinking you only spend your time having coffee or doing other activities as a freelancer. When you work, they work.

  • Take regular breaks. Freelancers tend to work many extra hours. However, taking regular breaks from work will ensure that you work with greater focus and efficiency afterwards. It may be worthwhile to use a specific time management technique, such as the very well-known Pomodoro technique.

  • Of course, you can also occasionally deviate from the fixed structure, e.g. if a deadline is pressing or you spontaneously accept an additional assignment. But even then, you should always try to compensate for this extra work with free time.

2 - Create a solid technical basis

Nothing can be as time-consuming as non-functioning technology. Especially in a home office, you should make sure that your Internet access is not interrupted  and that your desktop or laptop is running smoothly.

For online meetings, you need a powerful camera, and preferably a good headset as well. Remember: this is your work equipment, with which you spend many hours every day. So don't skimp on a cheap router or poor hardware.

3 - Provide a perfect working environment

As a freelancer, you are largely free to choose the place where you want to work. This is a great opportunity: it allows you to create the exact working environment where you are productive, focused, and efficient. The perfect place can be the coffee shop around the corner, the co-working space in the city center, or your desk at home. It's best to be honest with yourself here to figure out which work environment is best. If you sit at your desk for long periods of time, you'll appreciate an ergonomic desk chair.

Tip: If you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, make sure you balance it out even if you're a freelancer. Yoga, gym, cycling, jogging, do something good for yourself, your body and your health on a regular basis. Schedule this time for yourself as well and don't use it to work.

4 - Self-marketing and acquisition

What may sound a bit strange at first is important. Only the fewest freelancers first start out and immediately have a customer base that regularly books new projects with them.

  • Create a profile on a job network like XING or LinkedIn. Join groups there that fit your topics. This will help you build your own network in the long run.
  • Look for job platforms for freelancers. There you can apply for suitable jobs.
  • Encourage your clients to recommend you.
  • Work with a recruitment consultancy like Real Staffing.

5 - Stay open to criticism and get feedback

You will only become a successful freelancer if you continue to develop and don't stay at the status quo. What helps you do this is getting honest feedback from your clients. It’s advisable to ask for feedback if it’s not given anyway. But then also be prepared for criticism. It’s best to accept it and try to become better. Always remember you are a freelancer and a service provider. Your goal is satisfied customers. Satisfied customers will always come back to you and will be happy to recommend you to others.

6 - Plan ahead

As a freelancer, try to plan so that you are supplied with orders for at least the next two months. If possible, a combination of regular and monthly new assignments makes sense. Project contracts over several months also make sense. This way you ensure your income for this period.

Freelancer doesn’t mean "freestyle”

As a freelancer you have a lot of freedom. However, always remember that you can only really benefit from it with structure and foresight.

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