Have you heard of freelancers like:
- People who work freely, completely independent of time or position of the company (and do not need to endure unreasonable bosses and mean colleagues)?
- Have you ever imagined people lying on the beach with their laptops on their laps, listening to the waves, sipping cocktails, and working while enjoying themselves?
- Or the people sitting hunched over at a cup of coffee with earphones and a steaming espresso in front of them?
- Or maybe the people who choose a remote, quiet, poetic rural place, day by day immersed in nature and still earn a decent salary?
Are the above wonderful things true or not? Please read and ponder our following article seriously.
You will have your own answer.
I Wish I Knew These Things Sooner Before Deciding To Become A Freelancer
What Is A Freelancer?
Freelancers are people with skills and abilities that an organization / individual needs.
Freelancers will typically work for a particular organization/individual for a short period of time (calculated by project).
This process will have the work content, specific requirements, deadlines, costs, and budgets clear and consistent right from the start.
(content writer, designer, photographer, blogger, etc.)
Pros And Cons Of Being A Freelancer (Full-Time Freelancer)
Freelancers have full freedom to execute the project as they please (choose the team, time, place to work)
Freelancers can work on many different projects at the same time, many types of businesses, customers with no physical location limitation
*freedom and proactivity in the work of freelancers is very high, as long as deadlines and work results are satisfying
If you have good knowledge, skills, know how to do the marketing yourself, and have a stable customer base, a freelancer’s income is quite good.
Experience in contact with many types of customers with different temperaments, different kinds of businesses, and fields. It drastically helps increase your knowledge, extensive experience in many areas. You also eventually become a trusted expert in your field.
Learn many essential and helpful skills in work (marketing, time management, finance, teamwork, customer communication, etc.)
There are many relationships from which there is extensive networking, a good premise in the future.
Having an impressive portfolio, thereby facilitating when you want to apply to large corporations, easy to advance in work.
Stay away from an unhealthy working environment, don’t have to endure 40-50 hours a week to endure unreasonable bosses, mean colleagues, or denigrating others.
Save a lot of money, time moving back and forth between work and home.
The income is precarious, not as stable and safe as when working in an office. Especially in the beginning, when you still lack knowledge, skills, relationships, and marketing yourself is not good, so the number of customers is modest, and the projects are just small projects, not bringing much profit. commensurate with the effort and time you spent
No social insurance, productivity bonus, vacation bonus, maternity leave, etc. and other benefits, like when you work as a company employee
Being overloaded if receiving too many jobs and not having good time management skills, and not achieving maximum productivity. It leads to being easy to lose customers or get bad reviews.
(*most of the customers are pretty strict. Just once you don’t do well, don’t keep the credibility of the deadline and quality commitment, they will find another freelancer immediately. No second chance for you!)
There are too many bills to pay regularly every month, while everyone knows that freelance work often has an irregular working frequency, and late payment is typical.
It isn’t easy to find customers if the personal brand has not been built well and long enough. This requires a lot of skill, not just expertise, and of course, the process also takes a lot of patience and time.
Subject to ridicule, misunderstanding, criticism from relatives, friends, and society. They assume that you are unemployed or doing meaningless, unclear, and stable things.
What Factors Do Freelancers Need To Create A Sustainable Income?
Professionalism must be excellent, mastering knowledge in the field you are doing.
Should choose a niche market not to face too much competition and have in-depth research in that field before starting.
(e.g., content writer specializing in real estate, photographer specializing in family memories, video editor specializing in whiteboard explainer videos, etc.)
Must have a USP (Unique Selling Point) that is different from competitors, know how to “package” the service to make it easy to transmit, easy to sell to customers (because customers if they don’t understand, they simply won’t buy or choose another freelancer)
Focusing on marketing, building a personal brand is a reputable expert in the chosen field. No matter how good you are and how highly specialized you are, no one will know who you are to choose if you don’t shout it out.
(*1 bottle of good wine no matter how long it is kept in the ground, but if you don’t pick it up and open the lid, no one will know its delicious taste)
Improve communication and customer care skills
Improve work arrangement skills, work scientifically and effectively
Improve time management skills, finance, cash flow
Team building and management skills: look further in the future when you already have a reputation, a brand. Indeed the number of customers, the number of projects, the difficulty of the task will increase much. No matter how good you are at time management and productivity, you can only reach a certain threshold. At that time, the need to have a quality, consensus, and the well-managed team is a must.
Should I Become A Part-Time Or Full-Time Freelancer?
Part-time freelancer: people who do routine office work during the daytime and do freelance work in the evenings and weekends when they have free time.
- Pros: still retain the guaranteed, stable salary (and related benefits) of the primary job, so it will be safer (especially for freelancers who are new to the profession and have not much professional knowledge and customers)
- Cons: quite extreme, easy to be burnout and overloaded, affecting seriously your time and health
Full-time freelancer: very easy to understand. They are freelancers who devote 100% of their time and minds to freelance work, not working full-time for any organization.
- Pros and Cons: mentioned at the beginning of this article.
Who Should Be A Part-Time Freelancer?
Part-time freelancer is suitable for the following subjects:
- Those who are about to graduate or just graduated, just learning about a field, do not have much experience, knowledge, and customers. Doing it part-time helps you earn and accumulate more experience, knowledge, as well as developing customer network.
- Those of you who have a family or financial burden, can’t decide arbitrarily. It would be best if you only worked part-time at the beginning, to keep a stable and safe salary from daytime office work.
- For those of you who are still in a state of being confused, wondering if you really like and are suitable for a field or not
Everyone has different strengths and interests, so there is no recipe for success for all. Our sincere advice is that you should try many types of freelance jobs to see which field you are most suitable for
Should consider carefully before choosing a field. After choosing, you must devote all your heart and effort for at least 6 months before switching to another type of freelance work or giving up
Who Should Be A Full-Time Freelancer?
Full-time freelancer is suitable for the following subjects:
- Confidently have solid knowledge and skills in the field of your choice
- Having a service with a competitive advantage (USP – Unique Selling Point) (reasonable price, niche market, etc.)
- Built a reputable personal brand
- Already have a relative number of customers.
- Knowledge of marketing, financial & time management, work prioritization, communication & customer care skills (and team management)
- Have a spirit of continuous learning, learn new trends and knowledge in the field
*Must accumulate for yourself a guaranteed amount of money at least for the next 3~6 months to make sure you will still be able to live well if you haven’t earned any customers or projects.
What Should I Need To Do To Become A Freelancer?
1/ Knowledge Research
Expertise knowledge: we won’t dig into this. In this day and age, it is easy to find knowledge in any field.
- Read specialized books
- Follow reputable websites and blogs in that field
- Join relevant groups on Facebook, forums
- Take online or offline courses
- Discuss, chat with people who have knowledge and experience, have had practical results
*Should start from basic knowledge with a small amount and then gradually increase to avoid feeling overwhelmed and easily discouraged at the beginning.
2/ Pack Your Service
- Pack your services neatly and easily to make them easy to understand and sell
- Highlight the USP (Unique Selling Points) compared to competitors
- Highlight the benefits of the service to customers
- Transparent price, service content, quality commitment, completion time
- If possible, create the greatest possible value at the best possible price.
No need to describe in detail the expertise in the service you provide – the customer is entirely uninterested! They only care about price, quality, and speed of completion. That’s all!
*It is recommended to create a PDF file that explicitly describes the above issues and is professionally designed, eye-catching and clear. Make a good first impression with new customers and save time and effort explaining the same questions repeatedly (how much will it cost, when will it be completed, service benefits, etc.
3/ Marketing Skills
It doesn’t matter how good you are at expertise, enthusiasm, hard work, etc., if you don’t get customers, everything else is meaningless.
Here are some helpful methods:
- Upload your service packages to freelance platforms (if global, it can be Upwork, Fiverr, Toptal, Guru, etc.) (even in your own country, there may also be local freelance platforms, try to find out more yourself)
- Upload your service packages to Facebook groups, forums (those must be suitable for your service type and have high potential customers)
- Run paid advertising (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google, YouTube, etc.) (and you should improve your knowledge to run effective ads yourself or ask a professional agency to help you, avoiding “burning money” in vain and waste)
- Build a blog, website, or a YouTube channel with good SEO optimization and valuable knowledge. It helps build your brands, promote products and services, and build trust with customers effectively and sustainably.
*In terms of building a website or blog, we recommend using the WordPress platform to be proactive in editing and managing
The Top Freelance Jobs
*The definition of “top” here is only relative
When you are outstanding, you will indeed gradually have more customers, and your income will increase.
But it will feel empty and stressful if you have to do a high-paying freelance job, but you don’t actually love it.
High income means more “price” to pay (less time for yourself and family, negative impacts to health, etc.) Make sure you understand and accept those trade-offs.
The balance of everything is much more important. Just choose whichever freelance job you find the most suitable.
Ok, here we are
1/ Website Design
- E-commerce website design for online shop owners
- Design affiliate website for MMO people (MMO stands for Make Money Online)
- Website design for corporations from low to high complexity
- News / Magazine website
- Blog / Portfolio website for freelancers, bloggers
- Design brand kit (logo, business card, etc.)
- Design poster, banner
- Design T-shirt (POD – Print on Demand)
- UI/UX designer
- Animation / Motion graphic designer
- Interior designer
- Personal portrait
- Couple, wedding
- Event, seminar, workshop
- Product, corporation
- Fashion, sport
4/ Social Marketing
- Manage social pages
- Content marketing strategy
- Manage and run ads
5/ Content Writer
- Write SEO-optimized articles
- Write Press PR articles
- Market research
- Keyword building strategy
- Content Management
- Backlink building
(frontend, backend, full-stack)
- Programming apps, software, games
- Programming website
- Data Management
How Should Freelancer Build Personal Brand?
A personal brand is simply defined as your image, value to a specific audience group (individuals or organizations)
In more detail, a personal brand is all that people around you perceive about you in terms of appearance, personality, behavior, profession, outstanding achievements, communication, and most significantly, the values you contribute to the community and society.
When a freelancer builds an excellent personal brand, it makes finding clients easier.
Specific step-by-step process:
- Define specifically, in detail who your target customers are
- Identify potential market demand.
- Identify their problems and pain points.
- Determine the value of benefits that your service can bring to them
- Build as many channels as possible (omnichannel) (website, social pages, etc.)
- SEO optimize your website, social pages with full details
- Update content regularly and consistently (1 content regularly posting a week is still better than 1 month posting 4 contents at the same time)
- Share valuable, helpful content with readers, don’t rush to post PR content for your service or product too soon or post too much (golden ratio: 8 shares – 2 sales)
- Proactively seek, participate and be active in places where there are many potential customers (groups, forums)
- Maintain consistency in your personal brand identity (words, images, writing style)
- Cooperate with other brands and people (as long as it doesn’t conflict with each other’s interests) (and of course, win-win cooperation, both sides must benefit, no any free lunch!)
- Organize mini-workshops and events to share valuable knowledge to attract potential customers and improve your reputation in the industry.
- Patience, patience, and patience!
- Always keep your credibility, you can deceive customers once, but you will lose them forever (even lose potential sources of customers around them). It would help if you remembered that the cost, time, and effort of attracting a new customer is always much higher than maintaining a stable number of existing customers.
How To Optimize Work And Time When There Are Many Clients And Projects?
If you only receive a few projects per month, you can handle them comfortably and efficiently, but that will not bring you a high income.
Things will be much more complicated if you need to handle dozens of projects a month. At this time, optimizing work and time is a must to ensure quality and complete projects on time.
When working as a freelancer but flooded with too many deadlines, spending too much time and effort, freelance work no longer gives you the value of freedom.
Time management according to the 80-20 method: you focus on handling 20% of the most important issues of the project in the shortest time possible. The rest can be outsourced or have your team support.
Must have a plan and discipline, don’t have the bad habit of procrastinating and waiting until close to the deadline to start doing the project
(*Because in the process, there will always be unexpected risks and incidents that you cannot predict. Besides, the implementation of the project in such a hurry and haste will affect the quality of work completed. If you lose customer trust even once, it will be difficult to regain their trust)
Do not sell cheap your knowledge, effort, and valuable time (even health) in exchange for an unequal remuneration. It is really not worth it.
(*With too low profit margin, you will not have enough mental and financial motivation to sustain it in the long run. You are also forced to cut many places in the service content to save costs, thereby affecting the quality of the final result. In the end, slowly you will also lose customers)
There is a checklist to note the work content, clear and detailed progress tracking.
(*Don’t trust your memory, it is not as reliable as you think!)
Although doing freelance work, you will have the initiative in terms of time and working space, but it will be much better if
- About time: you should train yourself to be disciplined, work at fixed hours to avoid procrastination.
- About working space: choose a place where you feel most comfortable and focused
Although you need customers, be strong and decisive if they make unreasonable demands, or pay too low, do not accept negotiations. If the content of the work consumes too much of your time and effort, and you can’t find a way to fit it into your busy schedule, you should explain and refuse politely from the very beginning.
Each person’s energy and time are limited, so no matter how well you optimize your work performance and manage your time when you reach a certain threshold, you will also have to hire someone to support projects out of your control.
Last and most importantly, take good care of your health. Eat healthy, doing exercise, and get enough sleep (at least 7 or 8 hours a day)
Should I Scale A Freelancer Team Into A Professional Business?
3 potential factors to consider whether to turn the freelancer team model into a business or not
- Solid professional knowledge
- Stable financial status
- The number of projects/clients coming to you is increasing day by day and is already beyond what you can handle alone.
If you decide to scale to a business, you should pay attention to:
Business license and tax code: these issues can be found on the Internet, and each country, state, or city may have different regulations.
*If you find it too complicated or don’t have time to learn, you can also ask for help from agencies specializing in declaring business establishment, converting business models, declaring tax codes, etc. They can help you save time and effort at a reasonable cost
Office rental: in the early stages, with modest finance and not too many personnel, you should be economical. It is unnecessary to rent long-term offices that are too big, in frontal locations with too high rental fees. You can just start by renting a slot or small area in coworking spaces. It will be a much wiser and safer choice (if your home has a large space and it can be used as an office; it’s great)
Leveraging the power of technology: there are now many software and platforms that can help you monitor, measure, and evaluate every aspect of your business (accounting, human resources, process tracking, knowledge base and internal communication, customer satisfaction management, etc.) Choose some necessary and most suitable software for the current status and needs to make the job go smoothly and more profitable
Must understand comprehensively the state of business’s financial health, accounting: you can hire an accountant to monitor and report income and expenditure on your behalf. There are 2 caveats::
- Accounting personnel needs to have solid professional knowledge. Besides, they must have good professional ethics and be reliable.
- Even if you come from another field and do not have professional accounting knowledge, you still need to equip yourself with basic accounting knowledge. So you will be able to read and understand the balance sheet, financial statement, tax report, etc., to understand your financial status to make appropriate changes and adjustments in business strategy in time
Must be able to lead: don’t be the boss, be the leader. Have the ability to convey motivation and inspiration to employees. Determined, have a long-term vision. You must set yourself a good example, be serious at work. Fair treatment, care, and welfare for employees
Assignment, coordination, and work management skills: understand the strengths and weaknesses of employees and have an appropriate allocation of work to bring into full play their own strengths. Supervise and urge, but also need to give them free space to promote their own creativity to complete the work quickly and with the best quality.
Bottom line: running a business is a lot different than managing a team of freelancers. Take it slow and take each step steadily.
- No matter what job you do (as an employee, own a local business, or freelancer), you still need to work hard for yourself for a long time.
- Any success, big or small, will require trade-offs and have different prices. Please understand before starting to avoid shock and discouragement, giving up halfway.
- Forget the sweet words or secret tips share about how to get rich quickly, easily. We can certainly tell you; there is none. Absolutely!
- We have had the opportunity to talk and work with many professional freelancers in many different countries about this freelance job. They are pleased with what they are doing and have a stable income to take care of themselves and their families. Most importantly, they enjoy their present freedom.
- We are also a team of freelancers with different strengths and good work ethic, and if you ask if we are happy as freelancers or this kind of job is worth a try. We will reply right away: YES.
“Choose to do something that makes you feel really good and happy.” We wish you good luck and success
*If you are doing business (or going to be in business) and need help, do not hesitate to inbox or find out more about our available services. Thank you
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