Friday, March 8, 2013

If You Think Working Without Pay is A Drag, Think Again

If you're aspiring to excel in freelancing, I recommend getting some first-hand training in areas like crafting solicitation and cover letters (or emails), preparing a written contract, working on a cost-effective advertising campaign, entering data into a computer, financial management, and bookkeeping. And the cheapest way to do this is to work without pay, or volunteer, for at least six to twelve months.

Now, before you put up your hands in protest, let me just mention that oftentimes, getting into freelancing is like a Catch-22 situation. 

To illustrate, let's say you want to make money by submitting feature articles to magazines. Now, by industry standards, a managing or associate editor will not even consider publishing your manuscript unless you write a query and submit samples of your previously written articles (published or unpublished). 

So if you didn't take time to work on these requirements, the managing editor will have no idea how to evaluate your writing ability objectively. This will result to you being deprived of the opportunity to submit your manuscript. 

So think about working without pay as a period of training to prepare yourself for the long haul. There are also numerous benefits that go beyond money that will remain unparalleled. Some of these are:

(1.) You learn the value of cultivating work ethics.

Success in freelancing has very little to do with luck and more to do with your level of professionalism, which is tied down to your performance and ability to communicate and negotiate with potential clients. 

(2.) You acquire a minimum set of marketable skills, which will serve as the base for additional competencies.

If you're proficient in graphic design and you feel the need to expand in order to attract more clients, you may want to venture into writing web content, or take a class in multi-media marketing.

(3.) You become self-motivated and reliable.

While working without a boss and earning a six-figure income sounds extremely appealing, keep in mind that this can only be done gradually, and by consistently meeting (or even exceeding) the demands of your clients. If you're constantly cramming because you refuse to set priorities, think about how that would affect the quality of your work.

Keep coming back, because in my next posts, I'll talk about the importance of having a written contract. 

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