How to Excel in Your Niche As a Freelancer
No matter what your interests are as a freelancer, there are several ways to ripen in your niche. Being a freelancer is a great opportunity to increase your income and skill set. Generating leads and creating a circle of like-minded people is just the beginning in the splendor of being a freelancer.
Here are a few tips to be the best freelancer you can be.
Have a Personal Platform
To showcase your work and attract new clients, you’ll need an online presence. In most cases, that means you need a website, preferably one that is hosted on a domain you own. A website will give you an edge over the competition, even starting out. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg; even a customized WordPress template is enough.
Having a website gives your business a sense of permanence- you’re not going to disappear overnight. It’ll also allow you to showcase any personal projects you might be working on in addition to your portfolio. Depending on what niche you’re in, those projects can come in the form of videos, pictures, a blog, or even the website itself.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
As a new freelancer, you’re going to have to learn to do a lot more than your previous job asked for. Now you’ve got to manage your financials, time, and clients. Everything is your full responsibility, too.
If you want to excel in your niche, you have to keep stretching your comfort zone after those first few steps. That can mean something different for everyone. Some may have to learn how to say no to avoid overbooking themselves. Others may find it difficult to adjust their prices or charge what their skills are worth. To grow your freelancing business, you have to learn to persevere.
Many of the challenges of freelancing stem from generating leads. The more your treat your freelancing capabilities as a business the more business you will attract. Not only does it seem daunting to reach out to people you’ve never met on a regular basis but you’ll face rejection. No one is always hired or has every proposal approved. You can follow best practices and capitalize on each new lead you get. Once you get started and if you work at stepping out of your comfort zone on a regular basis your business will begin to build momentum.
Find a Mentor and Use Your Connections
The easiest way to find new clients starting out is to reach out to your social circles. Hang out your shingle, talk to people and tell them what you’re offering. Even if they don’t have any work for you, they might know someone who does. In the same light, try reaching out to your local community and even your workplace especially if the skills you’re developing as a freelancer are unrelated to your current job.
If you ever feel stuck or overwhelmed as a freelancer or need more guidance than articles like these can provide, a mentor can be invaluable. Yes, it may mean that you will begin doing work for them at a rate lower than what you would ideally charge or even for free. In exchange, however, you will avoid many of the pitfalls that typically come with freelancing and make valuable connections.
Know and Use Your Complimentary Skills
When you’re first starting out, you may think your niche is going to be “web design” or “copywriting.” In reality, that’s not specific enough. To make an impression on new prospects, it helps to define yourself in a way that shows exactly what you plan to do for them. For example, instead of being a general copywriter, you could specialize in writing websites and direct mail campaigns for nonprofits. Having a specialty can increase your chance of getting jobs in a particular niche by showing prospects a portfolio filled with projects like their own.
Once you’ve developed your specialty, you can then use your complimentary skills to offer additional services, too. You don’t have to stick to just writing, coding, or Photoshop. If you happen to have skills that go beyond the norm but compliment your primary skill set, offer them.
If you think you’ve got some expertise to your niche, don’t just stay in that mode, keep growing. You can register for Meetup to meet other people who want to grow more in their area of interest, take a course in continuing education or volunteer. In a nutshell, remember that learning is a journey and honing in on mastering your skills will be a valuable asset along every nook and cranny of your journey’s path.
Everything falls apart if you don’t believe in your work. A lack of confidence in yourself will cause potential clients to overlook you or shy away. On the flipside, trust is the “secret ingredient” to getting the best jobs and earning a living wage as a freelancer. The hard part is that there’s no miracle potion for it. It can come with experience in some cases or with specific successes, but it can be fleeting, too.
In any case, remind yourself daily that your work has value. Remember that being bold has merit. In fact, being overconfident is almost always better than displaying no confidence at all.