I've been freelancing for a year now. On my journey, I have experienced valuable lessons that have helped me to grow as a freelancer. There are lessons I would like to share with other freelancers out there.
After almost a year as a freelancer, I've produced a lot of work and learned many lessons, but there are three in particular that I keep in mind as I continue to grow my business. To any other freelancers reading this, I hope these can help you as well.
1. Imposter Syndrome
Once I got the opportunity to work with a big brand, my imposter syndrome cropped up. I was sceptical about sharing my portfolio with them. Somehow I mustered the courage and mailed them. And was sure that I will be rejected. To my surprise, they liked my work, and we got on board.
When I began freelancing, I wondered whether or not I was good enough. But with the help of my mentors, I've learned that fear is just another tool in the box—one that can be used to our advantage.
It's normal to experience imposter syndrome (don't worry, this feeling will go away after time). I felt like I was faking my way through most of my freelancing career. You're doing what you love, but there's always some fear of failure lurking.
I've had to face my fears of failure and imposter syndrome. And now when I'm faced with a challenge, I know that even if it seems insurmountable at first, there's always some way to get through it!
2. Quality over Quantity
I had this one client who used to micro-manage. The pay was good, the work was also interesting. But that client had the habit of changing the content brief all the time.
I thought it was fine in the beginning since we were not habitual of working with each other. But then that didn't stop even after working for a month. So after working for around 3 months together, I politely broke off with the client.
And as soon as I stopped working with that client, I found another awesome client. So don't feel afraid to cut off from toxic clients.
Focus on working with clients who are good for your wallet and your mental health.
3. Stepping out of my comfort zone
Once I started freelancing, I found myself venturing into new markets and industries, which was exciting on a professional level but also really scary. I didn't know what I was doing or how to approach people. It took me a while to figure out the best way to communicate with clients, but in the end, it was worth it.
The first few months of freelancing were tough, but once I got over my fear of talking to strangers and made friends with some clients, everything started falling into place. The more people you know in your industry, the easier it is to find work.
No matter how successful you are, remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. And sometimes it's easy to overwork, so make sure to pace yourself during the long hours you'll undoubtedly work in this career.
And above all else, focus on continually honing your skills—that will always be your greatest asset as a freelancer.
As someone who's been freelancing for a year and is still learning what makes it work, I wanted to share the lessons I learned along the way. I hope this will help beginners to jump-start their freelancing careers with ease. And also offer some insights and possibilities for more experienced workers looking for new opportunities.