10 Things successful freelancers do for supercharged growth

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Becoming a successful freelancer isn’t easy.

It’s never handed to you, and it doesn’t come overnight, either.

Becoming a successful freelancer takes hard work, dedication, and an unwillingness to give up.

Ultimately, the only person who can determine if you are a successful freelancer is you. You have to take action to learn more, do more, and continually better yourself.

Sidenote: When you're done here, learn from 150+ freelancers who've been in your shoes with our all-new 30-day bootcamp: Zero to Freelancing. You'll love it.

As a result of searching the web for top-notch resources on success and curating them at The Freelance Report, I’ve put together a list of 10 tips for success all freelancers need to know.

A note from Preston: You may have noticed that Alex is doing an amazing job curating content for our new sister site, The Freelance Report. Since Alex’s whole world at TFR revolves around finding the best advice on freelancing, I’ve asked him to share some of the best gems here at Millo. Enjoy this awesome post from Alex and, for more, subscribe to The Freelance Report.

1. Understand the client and the project

It’s easy to get excited about a new project and want to dive right in. Without thinking in-depth about the client’s needs or the projects goals, you start to scribble away until you realize that you’re completely off track.

That’s where a creative brief comes in.

You'll also enjoy this episode of our new podcast...

A creative brief is a roadmap that shows where you are and points you in the right direction of where you need to go.

If you can write an amazing creative brief, you’ll set yourself up for success.

By taking an in-depth look at your projects goals, the target audience, and the tone at which you want to communicate your project in, you’ll know the client and the project like the back of your hand.

2. Master your workflow

Mastering efficiency and productivity is extremely important if you want to be a successful freelancer.

If you can accurately estimate how much time a project will take, you’ll be able to plan out your days and weeks with maximum efficiency. Doing so will allow you to take on more projects and in turn, make more money.

However, accurately estimating your time is not easy.

Check out these posts to for some great tips on how you can better estimate your time and increase your productivity.

3. Be confident in your pricing strategy

What do you say when someone asks the question “How much do you charge?”

Do you have standard prices for the work you do? Do you charge hourly? By the project? Maybe you use value based pricing.

Whatever pricing strategy you use, it’s crucial to know ahead of time how you’ll charge the client, and to be confident in your price.

Below are two really great posts that will help you to determine your pricing strategy.

4. Utilize social media effectively

When used correctly, social media can be a powerful tool to build your business.

Twitter can be great for networking and Facebook gives your audience an inside look at your business.

However, knowing what, when, where, and how often you should post something can be difficult to master.

Check out these posts on how to get the most bang for your tweet, instagram, pin, and more:

5. Detect bad clients early on

It is impossible to freelance without ever having a bad client. Sooner or later, it will happen; there’s simply no way around it.

Often times, you can spot a bad client a mile away.

  • They might be trying to pay you a lot less than you’re actually worth (or worse, trying to have you work for free).
  • They may try to severely increase the scope of the project for the same price.
  • They may even try to say that a contract is insulting and that you should trust them on their word.

Sometimes bad clients are easy to see. Sometimes they’re not. Sometimes all you need to do is ask the right questions (here are some good ones):

Over time, you’ll start to develop a sixth sense for detecting bad clients.

However, turning down a client…or a project…isn’t always easy. You never want to burn any bridges, especially if they have influence in your niche or community.

If you do turn down a client, make sure you do it the right way.

6. Attract top-notch clients

Landing the perfect client is something that all freelancers strive for.

We all have those clients who we would absolutely love to work for. I’m talking about those clients that when someone asks “What would be a dream come true for your business?” your answer is that client.

To start landing your own awesome clients, take a look at this post:

7. Grow your business quickly (but smartly)

Freelancers tend to stay pretty busy. Between keeping track of your finances, growing your business, marketing yourself, looking for new clients, and doing projects, there never seems to be enough time in the day.

That’s why it’s essential that you use your time wisely.

There are several quick ways to grow your business. Many of them require only an hour of your time.

8. Recognize common pitfalls

Running a freelance business isn’t easy. Many of us learn as we go. If we make a mistake, we try to figure out what we can still gain from it.

Some mistakes we make are specific to us, our business, or both.

If you know the common pitfalls that can bring a freelancer down, you’ll be able to identify them ahead of time and avoid them completely.

9. Figure out how to stay afloat

Due to the nature of freelancing, you’ll have busy months and slow months. If you want to maintain a successful freelance business, you need to be prepared for those slow ones.

Diversifying your income and developing passive income are two fantastic ways to make sure you’ll stay above water, even during the slowest of months.

10. Be memorable

As the benefits of freelancing become better known, more and more people are stepping away from their corporate jobs to pursue a freelance career. The rising popularity of freelancing means that there are more people in the market now than ever before.

Because of the saturated market, it’s essential to do everything you can to stand out as a freelancer.

If you can show you’re clients how you’re different and why you’re better than your competition, success will follow.

What’s your secret to success?

Tell me what has helped you build – and maintain – a successful business. Share your best tips in the comments.

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About Alex Solomon

Alex manages Millo’s most recent side-project, The Freelance Report–where he manually sorts through all things “freelancing” on the web and includes only the best resources for freelancers in an email newsletter every Monday morning. Learn more here.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the great tips! I’m really liking the brand change 🙂

  2. Excellent tips as usual. Especially the 7th one. If you want to be a successful and want your name to be heard, you have to develop a ”tactic”, preferably the one that leaves you enough space for your freelancer activities.

  3. Mariya Harries says:

    You will need an online presence so make a website, a place where all your great projects will be available for potential clients. There are three important things that needs to be present on your website: projects, clients you worked for and contact information. Ask trusted colleagues for honest feedback.

    Mariya@Digital signatures

  4. Links are broken

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