Deciding to freelance is a big choice. It is not easy and often in the beginning, you will have to have a side job to supplement your income until you can be dependent enough as a freelancer. Even being a freelancer, it can be difficult. There are so many others outside in the same niche that it is very competitive. However, during your decision and right after you decide to become a freelancer, here are some things to prepare yourself for the freelancing mentality.
➡ Prepare a solid portfolio. You might get excited and post everything in your portfolio, but your clients are looking for your creativity, versatility as a designer, and your overall product quality. Your portfolio is very much that first thing, just like a resume, that your client will be wowed by and want to use your services.
➡ Make sure you have a good reputation. You might sell yourself short and degrade yourself, but as I have been told by Marcie Hill on As NOT Seen on TV, you should have faith in your work and be proud of it. Each piece of work should be of the same or greater quality than the previous product. Be knowledgeable in your field and able to break it down into simple terms for clients not as savvy in the subject. Be consistent and also do not procrastinate. While some of your clients may be lax, others have a time table in mind. Be professional and for complex projects, a contract may be necessary. Sometimes a contract is mandatory for clients who require a non-disclosure agreement- meaning that you cannot mention to anyone that you worked on their site.
➡ Be prepared to brand yourself in a way that makes you unique enough to stand out. Do you have a certain way you design that is different? What kind of services can you offer? Do you only do web design, or perhaps you can develope complex websites from scratch? Mention that and how your way could help a client’s site pop. Remember, you are designing for another person and they have expectations of you. Your client has a direction they want there site to take and also goals to reach. Your design could make or break them. Make sure you are clear on your services so you do not have clients who are confused on what you offer for a price. Do not undersell, but also overselling can be as much as a killer. While you would like to make money, underselling could be not worth the time. Remember that your are charging for your time, and creativity, so be confident.
➡ Always be on the look for new clients. You might have a few winning clients, but eventually one or all of them may decide to go with another designer. Do not rely on them as things change. It would not be because you are a bad freelancer, but that the person they chose could bring their website to the next level. Or, it could be the result of the economy. It happens, so you have to be prepared and make sure you are always open. It is not the end of the world if you lose a client unless you lost it because you were unprofessional.
Are you considering to dabble in freelancing? How have you prepared yourself? What other advice can you offer?