A good number of people who aspire to be freelancers end up disillusioned after just a year or two of trying. That's because when we think about working without a boss, we immediately paint a rosy picture in our heads about getting ardent calls from clients, working at our own pace, and getting paid at a rate that is at par with our creative talent.
In short, we fantasize about every aspect of our careers running smoothly.
Well, I'll be honest with you. This is something that happens only after you've gone through all the hard work necessary for you to sustain yourself as an independent worker.
You may find it appealing that a freelancer has the freedom to choose from a wide selection of projects and tasks. But it will take time building a resume, and it's even more difficult to build a good reputation, so let me give you the formula -- the only formula -- you should master if you want to be a top-earning freelancer.
Here it is:
Be professional at all times.
Allow me to illustrate further as I talk about another field that has similarities to freelancing: modeling.
Talent scouts and agents are unanimous in saying that the most lucrative jobs and assignments don't always go to the best-looking or prettiest models. One even went as far as saying, "There are lots of pretty faces in the business, but they have the most horrible people skills."
And no aspiring model can make it big if it's apparent that she's not prepared during go-sees and is often late for photo shoots.
Likewise, you need to conduct yourself in the most professional way possible if you want to be a joy to work with. As soon as you receive a request for a price quote, whether by phone or email, do your best to respond within no more than 48 hours.
Improve your skills in articulating your worth as a freelancer and learn to negotiate. There will be clients who will allow you to "name your price," so to speak. And unless you have a fairly accurate assessment of your skills, you might come out in the losing end of the project.
Stay tuned for my next few articles about developing professionalism.