I've just listened to a fantastic episode from Seth Godin’s Akimbo podcast where he covers off the eight important points you need to consider if you want to be a successful freelancer.
You can listen to the podcast here, but I've summarised the points below so you can get a quick overview:
1. If you're going to be a freelancer, be a freelancer
2. Don't race to the bottom, race to the top – being the cheapest and fastest isn’t sustainable
3. Invest in the tools you need and never stop developing the skills, both tactical and emotional, which are required for you to succeed
4. Choose the right industry - one that will welcome you. Are you trying to carve out a career as a freelancer in a space that doesn't yet recognise the value of freelance?
5. Get out of the mindset that you need to please all the people. Find yourself the smallest viable market. (This was a point which really resonated with me as I could see the parallels with the smallest viable product concept from Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup)
6. Recognise the discipline of prospecting. Develop a category of one, this ensures you will stand out in the marketplace you have chosen. Do exceptional, quirky work.
7. Understand when to work for free and when not to. The thing that you have chosen to sell, the thing you offer as a service, sell that and do something else for free. Be clear about what is for sale and establish clear value around that.
8. Be comfortable advocating for yourself. Find yourself better clients by doing better work. Attract clients who see the value in what you do and want to do better work which can feel uncomfortable at times.
Finally, recognise none of this is easy, but it is what you signed up for. Work hard towards the goal you had when you started, and in Seth's words:
I thought it was a great episode which gave me a load of points to take away and work on. Let me know what you thought, and if you have any points of your own to add to the list, in the comments below.